MSCD5: The Five Editions

The photo above shows the spines of all five editions of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. It doesn’t bring to mind anything particularly profound—just two thoughts.

First, when considered from day to day, what I do has been more fun than it has any right to be. But if you consider the totality of it, you realize that it has also been a real slog.

And second, even though in this photo the difference between each edition and the next seems to diminish progressively, I suggest that the quantum of change represented by each new edition has been roughly the same. It’s just that as the book has grown, that quantum of change has become proportionately a smaller part of the whole. But even considered proportionately, the change remains meaningful—the fifth edition is 10% bigger than the fourth edition.

(You can buy the fifth edition here. And go here for all my self-indulgent posts about the fifth edition.)

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

1 thought on “MSCD5: The Five Editions”

  1. Congratulations on the substantial and unique contribution you have made to the law. I share the following quotation, noting only that Mutatis Mutandis is not the Greek finance minister:

    “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”



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