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From Dissertation to Book (William Germano) – my reading notes

I’ve been reading a lot of books on academic writing lately, not only because I’m writing my own, but also because they’re recommended to me, and I believe it is really important to situate your own work within the broader literature. So, I was thrilled to read William Germano’s “From Dissertation to Book” (you can read my entire Twitter thread about the book by clicking anywhere on the tweet shown below).

What I love about William Germano’s From Dissertation to Book is that he makes it very clear that a doctoral dissertation written as a book doesn’t necessarily translate immediately to being an actual book. It needs to be revised. Moreover, the length of a doctoral dissertation is not necessarily what you’ll be able to sell to a publisher, because books tend to be more brief.

You can obviously transform your PhD thesis into a book by revising it, or generate a new book based on new or old theory or new data with old theory, or old data with new theories, based on your dissertation research.

Now, there are major weaknesses of PhD-theses-being-converted-into-books which Germano explains clearly.

You need to budget enough time to revise the PhD dissertation into a book. Also, make sure it has a Throughline (a core intellectual thread that goes throughout the entire book).

Bottom line: as someone writing books and advising PhD students who may want to write books, I really enjoyed Germano’s book. Worth reading. Also, as always disclosure: I bought this book, as I have purchased every single other book I have written about.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Writing the dissertation (thesis) I: Structure, timing and content – Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD linked to this post on February 19, 2020

    […] concluding chapters should read like any book manuscript (you should read William Germano’s “From Dissertation to Book” for what’s perhaps the best guidance on turning a book-manuscript-style dissertation into a […]

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