The cliché is that scientists are not good communicators. Even so, it is rare to read a book that is evidently useful from the title, that is obvious in retrospect but only in retrospect, that provides new information and is a joy to read. For graduates of the school of hard knocks (i.e., life), much of the information in the book has already been (sometimes painfully) learned or is a head slapper. But for those more junior, the book does an outstanding job at providing both a roadmap and detailed set of instructions on when and how to best communicate.

A few to-be-expected (but highly useful) chapters deal with writing research papers, seeking funding and presenting at conferences, after which the book delves into outreach, communicating to media and working with policy makers. Each chapter has hands-on “exercises” that get the reader to practice some of the newly acquired skills, such as write a blog, prepare for peer review or develop an audience plan for a talk. Each chapter also includes charts, checklists, resources for further study, suggested readings and a formal set of references. For those past the middle of their careers, if there were a time machine available, this is one book worth sending to a younger self. And for those just starting a career in science, or for just about anybody without a degree in communications, this is one book that should be required reading.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.