More reviews are coming in for my new book, Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga.
John Cook at the always excellent blog Skeptical Science has a nice review that concludes:
Language Intelligence is extremely readable, due to the fact that Romm practices what he preaches, employing the full kitbag of rhetorical techniques that he expounds about. The principles of rhetorics are illustrated with colourful examples from some of history’s greatest figures. It’s not just a user manual on how to communicate but also a riveting account of the history of communication. Language Intelligence is a must-read for anyone who seeks to communicate better or safeguard themselves from rhetorical manipulation. If you’re a communicator, a blogger, a public speaker or merely someone with a Twitter account, adopt this book as your user manual in how to tune up your talks, posts and tweets to maximum impact.
A. Siegel at Daily Kos concludes his review, “Learning intelligent Language from Lady Gaga, Lakoff, Lincoln, Luntz, and others …”
While powerful as a political text(book), this is a book destined for the nation’s classrooms. Romm has written something that every high-school debate team would learn from and any English teach concerned about Language Intelligence would be well advised to read it and consider incorporating it into their educational program.
Unusually, after having read a book, my intent is to read it again — soon. I also intend to have my children read it and will recommend other family members read it. I recommend that you do so as well.
I think the readability — and rereadability — is one of the things that distinguishes this book from other books on rhetoric.
Persuasive communications is a subject everyone wants to master — since most of us spend more of our waking life communicating than any other single activity.
While you can’t get language intelligence from reading just one book, I do discuss in the conclusion other strategies you can pursue.
Today’s media environment is a challenging one. Between blogs, social media, 24-hour cable news and endless propaganda campaigns from political organizations, making your message stand out is difficult. In his fascinating new book, Language Intelligence, Joe Romm from Climate Progress lays out the keys to persuasive writing, and speaking.
“In the hands of its greatest practitioners, rhetoric has changed the world. As John F. Kennedy said of Churchill, “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle” to see England through to victory in World War II. In a famous 1858 speech, Lincoln paraphrased Jesus, saying “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and he extended the house metaphor throughout the speech. His law partner, William Herndon, later wrote that Lincoln had told him he wanted to use “some universally known figure [of speech] expressed in simple language … that may strike home to the minds of men in order to raise them up to the peril of the times.”
“Rhetoric is the art of being pithy and profound. In this world of information overload, you have to capture people’s attention. In this media menagerie, you have to stand out like a peacock. So this book will help you “wow” people with words — grab them with the most eye-popping headlines, the catchiest catch-phrases, and the sweetest tweets.”
“Once people are paying attention, the goal is to win them over through what I call “language intelligence.” It is the ability to convince people of something by moving them both intellectually and emotionally, at both a conscious and unconscious level.”