What Faculty Have to Say

The Humble Essay

As the summary promises, this really is a book that takes all the jargon out of learning how to write essays. It is very student-friendly and takes you through the process of essay writing and explains things very simply without being boring or repetitive.

As a teacher of academic writing, who supposedly should have found this book boring, I have to say that I enjoyed it. It even made some ideas clearer to me. His explanation of what a thesis statement is, how to formulate it, and how to organize your writing and reading around it is probably the most useful part of the book, and changed my own teaching of novice writers.

If you are completely new to writing, or get confused when others try to explain how to write essays, this book is for you. If you are looking for a book with “substance” (i.e. using words like “discourse” or “metacommentary” or models of argumentation), then this is not for you.

This book is an easy entry into the basics of good essay writing. To anyone who is new to essay writing — this should be the first book you read. (originally published at Amazon.com)

The Humble Argument

This is a good book, especially if you are teacher and looking to move away from a traditional text. You know what I’m talking about: the kind that has all sorts of cool content/samples/pictures but doesn’t have anything you actually need.

First off, The Humble Argument is 247 pages, so over the course of a 15-week semester, you can cover pretty much all the book. I liked how Humble breaks down the writing process in a simple way, and he asks students to flip what they’ve been doing/taught, which goes a little like this: 1) ask a good question, 2) decide on the best answer, 3) consider the evidence. For Humble, it is 1) ask a good question, 2) consider the evidence, 3) decide on the best answer. 3). This flip of 2 and 3 makes all the difference. In short, this text is asking students to be open to discovery rather than telling them how research and writing should go.

There is much practical content here, like the chapters about “Guiding Readers” in introductory paragraphs, about “Earn[ing] Your Credibility”, etc. It is theory-based, but imbibed with a playful tone that is, at times, surprising, funny, and accessible. That last part is huge. At the end of my last term, several students told me they read more of this book than any writing text in the history of their academic lives. High praise, indeed.

What The Humble Argument does not have: grammar lessons, MLA tips and tricks. Go to the Purdue OWL for all that. The Humble Argument has everything you need for a 101-style college writing course. It gave me the chance to introduce solid foundational/writing content and also the freedom to find other content elsewhere (hello, internet) as supplement. (originally published at Amazon.com)

What Students Have to Say

I actually laughed out loud while learning about how to write an essay. Is essay writing funny? I think not. But Roy K. Humble offers a lot of real world evidence to support his ideas that is easy for a student of any age to understand and relate to. The comedy of the book is worth the buy alone, but the information seals the deal. I understand what is expected of me when I make a written argument, and in case I forget, I’m keeping The Humble Argument to reference as I progress in my college career.

Mr Humble puts the task of writing a college essay in clear terms and sets you on the path of becoming a writer that is informed of the methodology of thinking through the “how” of what an college essay has to achieve and that the reader of it is the most important to keep in mind. (originally published at Amazon.com)

While most books that teach writing, critical thinking, or other English-related subjects are hard to read because you keep falling asleep, The Humble Argument is the opposite. At times I forgot I was reading a book that was designed to teach me how to improve my writing because it was so entertaining.

This was one of the best writing books I have read. I had a difficult time writing essays, but after reading this book, writing an essay got a lot easier. The terms and language that this book uses are reader friendly. If you think writing an essay is difficult, then read this book.

I started college nine years after high school. The Humble Argument did a great job of bringing back long forgotten lessons about writing and introducing new ones in an easy to understand and engaging way. It’s a great book for anyone new to academic writing or just struggling to understand how to do it right.

I enjoyed reading when other people were around because they couldn’t believe I was laughing at a book about college writing. Whether it was because of cats, foolish student writers, or just plain sarcasm, it brightened my day to have a chapter of Humble assigned.

The Humble Argument is an amazing textbook. The author has a way of capturing his audience’s attention. I once had the opportunity to play Ultimate Frisbee and instead chose to read The Humble Argument instead.

Humble has managed to strip the esoteric jabber out of writing textbooks, leaving behind a book that makes essay writing unintimidating and even fun. I know my writing has improved substantially from his advice.

Honestly, it’s the only textbook that I’ve ever read from beginning to end.