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Reviewed by Nandita Keshavan for Readers' Favorite
The Productive Academic Writer: An Easy-To-Read Guide To Low-Stress Prolific Writing is a useful guide which addresses academic writing, an important issue of academics who are affected by a range of factors. In this book, Kasthurirangan Gopalakrishnan asserts that although productive writing is key to success, many people have different idiosyncrasies and blocks which prevent them from being academic writers. This book is very useful for people struggling to find out what affects their writing, and also offers solutions and systematically points out useful books which provide further info in each case.
For some people, starting writing is very difficult; for others sustaining writing productivity is difficult; or some people may be affected by both. The book provides key advice on avoiding listening to a harsh perfectionist inner critic, and also adopting realistic productive writing plans. Productivity software and writing support groups are suggested for people who require more support and accountability. Also informative, the traits of successful academic writers are outlined. In addition, I believe that many people will be interested in the discussion on vigilance decrement.
Each chapter ends with a short bibliography and a summary of the relevant concepts. The book ends with a summary chapter which highlights the key points of each chapter. The hurdles presented in this book are common to many academics, but the author argues that people can train their minds and form new habits to overcome these challenges. Overall, I found the book useful, with wide appeal, and I felt that it was very down to earth, direct, and sympathetic while denouncing an unduly harsh approach to writing productivity.