Way back around 1985, when I was an entry-level engineer at Exxon, the company had a training session with a writing instructor. The course, if it had a name, could be called "the art of the business memo."
Now, I know that you 20-somethings in the world of text messaging and soon-to-be-f*cked internet companies are probably cringing at the thought of learning to write business memos the Fortune 50 way. But there was something about this course I found compelling. Since then, I have taken a lot of communications courses, particularly presentation courses, of varying utility. McKinsey & Company taught me the pyramid principal for organizing persuasive letters and presentations, something that has been so useful to me that I wonder why none of the expensive schools I attended ever bothered to teach it.
To this day, I am still compelled by the perfect business letter. I know this may seem weird, but I still remember several of my best efforts from years ago. I sometimes go back and read them lovingly. I have three lifetimes of projects that I would like to put together, but one fun one would be to put together a book collection of great business letters. I fell like its an art that should better recognized.
Anyway, I was reminded of all this by this letter that has been linked around the blogosphere a bit this morning.