Advice from the Masters: John Pierce

May 15, 2013 | Better Writing

John Pierce wrote several books for the popular market, including science and science fiction. . Most of them are forgotten. They’re not the reason I’m sharing his advice.

Pierce was a star engineer who worked at Bell Labs in the 1950s and 1960s. He received several awards including the IEEE Edison Medal for “his pioneer work and leadership in satellite communications and for his stimulus and contributions to electron optics, travelling wave tube theory, and the control of noise in electron streams.” He also gets credit for coming up with the name “transistor.”

The following advice was intended for engineers, but if you want to write a book, you should pay attention.

“There’s a difference, you see, in thinking idly about something, and in setting out to do something. You begin to see what the problems are when you set out to do things.”

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