‘Language Intelligence’ The Audiobook: Listen To ‘Lessons On Persuasion From Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln And Lady Gaga’

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.

You can download all 4 hours and 19 minutes of it on Amazon or iTunes.

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.


9 Responses to ‘Language Intelligence’ The Audiobook: Listen To ‘Lessons On Persuasion From Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln And Lady Gaga’

  1. DanB says:

    I finished Language Intelligence a couple days ago. I ordered it as a Christmas present for myself, unfortunately Superstorm Sandy had other ideas and it took 10 days to get here from New York – Language Intelligence and Italian cheeses were both in short supply because of damage to the warehouses. It’s a preview of how the climate crisis will cut us off from food and information.

    The book kept my mind spinning, thinking up catchy phrases that would transform the world. I could only have been happier if it were two or ten times longer.

    Thanks so much!

  2. Rick says:

    Persuasive verbal language only impacts listeners. One of the biggest problems for those working to avoid human extinction is that the critical mass is not listening… Not to us, anyway. People listen to claims that confirm their mental belief systems – and ignore the contrary. We need to break through this deadlock. We need to (symbolically) tap their shoulders and remind them that human survival is in their own self interest. We need to bypass obstructed minds and softly touch hearts.

  3. Joe Romm says:

    Thank you. I actually cut out a lot of material to make it zippy. Maybe a sequel some day….

  4. Ozonator says:

    Could “Language Intelligence” help me get my point across? I have lost as many friends being disabled with toxic chemicals as my weekly set of AGW predictions.

    For example, “A). … 1). Regular qualitative predictions are US for “normal” catastrophic, violent AGW ecosystems (quakes to CMEs to toxic feticide) from the rotten EssoKochFox’s and their willing accomplices. The 2 quake LECs (linear earthquake cannons) are an attempt to get an AGW handle on the potential for tsunami(s), leveled mountain(s), and pyroclastic volcanism about to befall parts of civilization with the energy of 9+ Richters. The poles should magnetically shift, with the north lunging toward Alaska. Expect at least 1 LEC to force some titanic tectonics to treat landmasses as blades in a blender. Again, CMEs will erupt early and often from previous weeks’ AGW filaments to hit us with energies <X2. … Even though crime doesn’t pay, anybody can arrest Marc “Mengele’ Morano for EssoKoch’s blank check blood money stored at Climate Depot. “‘Yes, we plead guilty … ‘… proudly … Climate Depot takes full responsibility for the fate of your children and grandchildren from any future man-made climate catastrophe” (“Australian PM warns skeptics ‘are too ‘dangerous to ignore’ and are ‘holding the world to ransom’”; By Marc ‘legal serial killer’ Morano, Climate Depot Editorial, whistlesuckers – perfuming the stink at icecap on or about 11/6/09). …

    B). Including the odd chance of JJBAL Fireballs with each prediction, the specifics of the Giulaino – Gansu Model (1/13 – 19/13) of extreme AGW earthquake warnings (n= 24) among tectonic energy lines with individual predictions for regions (magnitude in Richters) are:
    1). LEC1: Galapagos Triple Junction Point (5+) – Galapagos Islands (5+) – Jalisco (8+) – Clarion Island (6+) – offshore northern California (7+) – Fox Islands, Aleutians (8+) – Chukchi Sea (6+)
    2). LEC2: fracking, Ohio (6+) – Ontario (6+) – Baffin Bay (7+) – Severnaya Zemlya (8+) – Zapadno Sibirskaya (6+) – Kazakhstan (7+) – Hindu Kush (9+) – Rajasthan (7+);
    3). Southwestern Indian Ridge (5+) – Reunion Island (6+) – Madagascar (5+) – Kenya (6+) – Djibouti (5+); and
    4). Hawaii (5+) – Bonin Islands (8+) – Kyushu (6+) – Shandong (5+).

    C). GBRWE official experimental quake, volcano, and other models are US. … A correct for any of these concurrent earthquake models is anything within 0.5 Richters below given prediction and anything above the prediction for the region (within 100 miles, out to150 miles if people felt it). On the open ocean … 400 miles to be correct … 2). standard, 2-weeks model – unless stated otherwise, ALL predictions get at least 2-weeks … 37). A correct in a fireball event is within 400 miles of a predicted tectonic (quake and/or volcano) region only under the standard 2-week model” (“GBRWE 9/18 – 24/11''s Extreme Planetary Warnings for Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Solar/Terrestrial Flares from Human Activities”; Robert Rhodes, Supplemental; GBRWE 9/18 – 24/11, 9/17/11).

    D). Including the odd chance of JJBAL Fireballs with each prediction, warnings for the Pickerell Model (1/13 – 19/13) for qualitative AGW volcanic warnings (n=27) among tectonic energy lines with individual predictions for regions are:

    1). Kamchatka (Tolbachik, Kizimen, Karymsky, Bezymianny, Kliuchevskoi, and Shiveluch) – Japan: Kyushu (Kirishima and Sakura-Jima) and Ryukyu (Suwanose-Jima);
    2). Indonesia: Java (Semeru and Merapi) – Sumbawa (Tambora) – Komba (Batu Tara) – Flores (Ranakah and Lewotobi) – Halmahera (Ibu and Dukono); and
    3). Mexico (Popocatepetl and Colima) – Guatemala (Santa Maria, Fuego, and Pacaya) – Nicaragua (San Cristobal, Telica, Apoyeque, and Masaya) – Costa Rica (Poas).”
    (GBRWE 1/13 – 19/13''s Extreme Planetary Warnings for Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Solar/Terrestrial Flares from Human Activities; Robert Rhodes, Supplemental; GBRWE 1/13 – 19/13, 1/12/13).

  5. Anne says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that listening to the audio version of Language Intelligence is a more satisfying and enlightening experience than reading the words in book form, or at least, for me it was. Drew Birdseye is a superb narrator, adding just the right emphasis and intonation, clearly enunciating and bringing the book alive. The human brain processes audio information differently from written information. It makes sense that some people can more easily let in and ponder, even accept, the spoken word more readily than seeing it in print. After all, for a very long time in human history, the only way learning could take place, e.g. from generation to generation, was through storytelling. And the great thing about audio books is you can listen and multi-task: drive, clean the kitchen, pay the bills, sort papers, or take a long walk in the woods. This is why I believe the climate hawk community should consider things like establishing new radio programs fully dedicated to all aspects of climate change and clean energy, create more podcasts and Ted Talks, perhaps even establish a new TV channel that carries programs all designed to enlighten and educate the citizenry on this most crucial challenge of our time. Effective communication is the key to our survival; I couldn’t agree more with Joe Romm that it’s important, crucial even, that we get it right.

  6. Joe,

    It’s a wonderful book, and an easy read.

    One suggestion: I think you should make a 2 page summary of the most important figures of speech, with examples. This could be laminated and sold as a separate product, or sold/given away as a PDF. This would help the reader keep track of the key figures (I had some trouble remembering the technical names for some of these as I was reading).

    Well done!


  7. Anne says:

    A thought popped into my head, must share with apologies in advance. The price of the audio book on iTunes is $9.99. Nine-nine-nine.

    Sound familiar?

  8. Ozonator says:

    Under 1/13 – 19/13, there were at least 3 correct of 27 predicted AGW volcanic regions with 3 correct of 7 reported for the start of reports for the given week. As of 1/16/13, Reporting Period 1/13 – 19/13, 1st reporting – volcanoes were reported (“Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report”;
    TOLBACHIK Central Kamchatka;
    KIZIMEN Eastern Kamchatka;
    SAKURA-JIMA Kyushu;
    MANAM Northeast of New Guinea;
    COPAHUE Central Chile-Argentina border;
    KILAUEA Hawaii; and
    STROMBOLI Aeolian Islands.

  9. Ozonator says:

    The offshore northern California was correct for an JJBAL Fireball (AGW fireball) within the standard 2-week/400 miles model for quake/volcano predictions.

    Meeting the standards,“offshore northern California (7+)” region was predicted under 1/13 – 19/13. “A fireball lit up the predawn Northern California sky Thursday, according to reports from early risers. … was reported about 5:25 a.m. by people across California and as far away as Fernley, Nev” (“Fireball lights up early-morning sky”; Henry K. Lee;, 1/17/13). “The spectacular bright light in the sky that stunned Young and other Bay Area residents was an exploding meteor called a fireball, said Chabot Space and Science Center astronomer Ben Burress. … People from as far away as Monterey County and into Nevada reported the fireball to the Space and Science Center … “It’s a fairly rare and random event. These things can just come out of the blue”” (“Did you see it? Exploding meteor lights Bay Area skies Thursday morning”; By Rick Hurd, Contra Costa Times;, 1/17/13). Before all the reports came in, from µWatts’ San Diego to the capital, “Early risers from Sacramento to S.D. report seeing fireball” (By Bill Lindelof;, 1/17/13).