10 Best Books on Essay Writing

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a woman dressed in white holding a book with essays and poems


You can improve your essay writing skills with practice, repetition and by putting in the necessary work.


You can also become a better writer almost involuntarily, just by observing the world, living your life to the fullest, and reading everything you can put your hands on. You can also use a free app like Grammarly to avoid embarrassing grammar and spelling mistakes in your essay.

But sometimes there’s a need for more specific knowledge that will accelerate your progress. If you want to produce great pieces of writing and impress your peers and teachers, you should take a look at the following list of best books on essay writing.


Also, if you’re planning to  write a college admission essay , you may want to check my article on how to write a great essay.


I hate writing, I love having written. – Dorothy Parker


10 Books That Will Help You With Essay Writing


1. A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing by Dr. Jacob Neumann


This is the highest rated book on the subject available on the market right now. It’s written for students at any level of education. The author uses an unorthodox approach, claiming that breaking essays down into different formats is unnecessary.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a persuasive or a narrative essay – the difference is not in how you write, but rather in how you build your case.

Length: 118 pages
Published: 2016



2. College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay – by Ethan Sawyer


Every year, millions of high-schoolers have to write a 650-word essay and find their way to their dream college. If you’re one of them, make sure you read this concise book.

Ethan Sawyer (The College Essay Guy), breaks the whole essay-writing process down into simple steps and shows you the way around the most common mistakes college applicants usually make.

Length: 256 pages
Published: 2016


College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay
  • College Essay Essentials A Step By Step Guide to Writing a Successful College...
  • Sawyer, Ethan (Author)


3. The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment by Susan Thurman


The institution of a grammar school is defunct, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore the basic rules that govern your language. If you’re writing an essay or a college paper, you better keep your grammar tight.

Otherwise, your grades will drop dramatically because professors abhor simple grammar mistakes. By reading this little book, you’ll make sure your writing is pristine.

Length: 192 pages
Published: 2003



4. Escape Essay Hell!: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Narrative College Application Essays by Janine W. Robinson


In this amusing book, Janine Robinson focuses mostly on writing narrative essays. She’s been helping college-bound students to tell unique stories for over a decade and you’ll benefit from her expert advice.

The book contains 10 easy steps that you can follow as a blueprint for writing the best “slice of life” story ever told.

Length: 76 pages
Published: 2013



5. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate


This large volume is a necessary diversion from the subject of formal, highly constrained types of writing. It focuses only on the genre of the personal essay which is much more free-spirited, creative, and tongue-and-cheek-like.

Phillip Lopate, himself an acclaimed essayist gathers seventy of the best essays of this type and lets you draw timeless lessons from them.

Length: 777 pages
Published: 1995



6. The Best American Essays of the Century by Joyce Carol Oates


The art of the modern essay starts with Voltaire at the beginning of the eighteen century. Since then, many a writer attempted to share their personal stories and philosophical musings in this free-flowing form. Americans are no different.

In this anthology, Joyce Carol Oates shares some fantastic reads which you need to absorb if you want to become a highly-skilled polemicist.

Length: 624 pages
Published: 2001



7. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser


On Writing Well is a classic writing guide that will open your eyes to the art of producing clear-cut copy. Zinsser approached the subject of writing with a warm, cheerful attitude that seeps through the pages of his masterpiece.

Whether you want to describe places, communicate with editors, self-edit your copy or avoid verbosity, this book will have the right answer for you.

Length: 336 pages
Published: 2016 (reprint edition)


On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • Zinsser, William (Author)


8. How To Write Any High School Essay: The Essential Guide by Jesse Liebman


The previous titles I mentioned were mostly for “grown-up” writers, but the list wouldn’t be complete without a book for ambitious high-school students.

Its length is appropriate, making it possible even for the most ADHD’d among us to get through it. It contains expert advice, easy to implement essay outlines, and tips on finding the best topics and supporting them with strong arguments.

Length: 124 pages
Published: 2017


How To Write Any High School Essay: The Essential Guide
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Liebman, Jesse (Author)


9. Essential Writing Skills for College and Beyond by C.M. Gill


On average, after finishing high school or college, Americans read only around twelve books per year. This is a pity because books contain a wealth of information. People at the top of the socio-economic ladder read between forty and sixty books per year – and you should too!

But reading is just one skill that gets neglected after college. Writing is the other one. By reading the “Essential Writing Skills” you’ll be able to crush all of your college writing assignments and use it throughout your life to sharpen your prose.

Length: 250
Published: 2014


Essential Writing Skills for College and Beyond
  • Writer s Digest Books
  • Gill, C.M. (Author)


10. The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing by Margot Livesey


If you want to write, you first need to read some of the best essays ever written. Developing your own style is a result of conversing with great minds, and then borrowing from them to create something new. All great artists are inspired by someone.

In Hidden Machinery, Margot Livesey shares her essays on what makes good fiction and a strong narrative. It’s a must-read for all aspiring writers.

Length: 224
Published: 2017


The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing
  • Livesey, Margot (Author)


How did you like this article? Are you going to read any of the books listed above? Can you recommend any other book which I should add to this list? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

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1 thought on “10 Best Books on Essay Writing”

  1. Thanks for your inspiring recommendations,they’re really good and timely to my quest for improving my writing skills. I love to start from the basic-Essential Writing Skills for College and Beyond..

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