Many readers asked when Language Intelligence would be available as an audiobook. Turns out Podium Publishing liked it so much, they did the job with a terrific reader Drew Birdseye, who narrates lots of audiobooks.
Given that the whole point of the book is to explain the secrets of history’s greatest spoken-word communicators — and that it contains excerpts from the greatest speeches of all time — you may well get more out of listening to the audiobook than you do from reading the print edition or ebook.
In fact, I never would have published this book if it weren’t for the power of one terrific oral communicator in particular, Van Jones. I had always been a fan of his speechmaking and wondered how he became was so good at it. After he came to the Center for American Progress, I saw his New Yorker profile by Elizabeth Kolbert, which explained:
When Jones gives a talk, something he does at least two or three times a week, he likes to begin by checking out the crowd; if he can, he will sit in the audience beforehand, absorbing the mood. He spends a lot of time listening to speeches—the way most people download Coltrane or Mozart, he’s got Churchill and Martin Luther King on his iPod.
That was my ‘aha’ moment. Now I understood how he had become such a great speaker. I had been working on my book for two decades, and I thought Van would appreciate it.
After reading it, Van said to me “your book changed my life.” Turns out it was a life-changing moment for both of us, since that motivated me take one more crack at improving it.
It is on pace to be my best-selling book — and almost everyone who reads it gets a lot out of it. Below I’m going to reprint Van’s HuffPost review, “The New ‘Must Read’: Joe Romm’s Language Intelligence“:
by Van Jones via HuffPost
In a war of ideas, the weapon of choice is words. Even when equipped with better and more popular ideas, progressives are losing the fight on ideas because of how we communicate those ideas — or fail to communicate them.
When I read an early draft of Joe Romm’s Language Intelligence two years ago, I told Joe it changed my life. I realized what I had learned from osmosis and practice through hundreds of speeches and direct feedback were secrets figured out centuries ago by the Elizabethans and others. Social scientists and advertisers have confirmed these secrets are the key to being memorable and persuasive.
To get our ideas out there, progressives need to communicate more powerfully. We aren’t failing to come up with good solutions. We’re failing in explaining them to the American people. That’s why I am encouraging every progressive to read Joe Romm’s new book: Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga.
Let me give you a quick example of Romm’s Rules, in effect: When Rebuild the Dream campaigned to prevent the doubling of Stafford loan rates this summer, we followed his formulas for effective communication. By doing so, we were able to help millennials and students win a big victory on student loans.
The first rule: keep it short. “Don’t Double My Rate” got straight to the point of what we were trying to accomplish. It’s hard to envision a campaign slogan like “Keep federal Stafford loans at their current low rates” taking off in the same way.
The second and third rules: Use figures of speech and repetition to make memes memorable. The alliterative nature of “Don’t Double” helped make the campaign catchy, effective, and persuasive. As President Obama took up the “Don’t Double My Rate” cause, the term was repeated in speeches and the media, and it was constantly trending on Twitter until Congress took action to pass “Don’t Double.”
That is just one example of the usefulness of Joe’s approach. As one of the most impactful climate bloggers on Earth, Joe Romm knows the ins-and-outs persuasive communication. His Language Intelligence is the progressives’ field guide in the war of ideas. If you liked Lakoff’s Don’t Think of An Elephant, you’ll love Language Intelligence.