Peter Selgin’s book of sage advice for writers is engaging, humorous, inspiring, and filled with helpful tips to improve one’s prose whether fiction or autobiographical nonfiction. It’s written in an unvarnished, down-to-earth style that suggests he’s talking to a friend over a warm cup of mint tea. The tone is inviting yet instructive at the same time. Readers sense that Selgin is speaking from experiences, some harsh, and he’s trying to save writers from mistakes he’s made. One example is a lesson learned from a writing workshop encounter in which Frank Conroy literally tossed Selgin’s manuscript to the floor to show his disdain for a word that called attention to the writing.