From Publishers Weekly
Dull, verbose, evasive language that disguises empty-headed clichés with jargon-drenched hype is pilloried in this diverting indictment of everyday business-speak. The authors are consultants, and their familiarity with the subject, enhanced through their side job peddling "Bullfighter" anti-jargon software, gives their irreverent critique a funny, knowing edge. Besides ridiculing some ripe samples of corporate pseudo-communication, they offer advice on the art of "persuasion" in every genre, from the humble e-mail to the shareholders' address, and throw in tips on public speaking, dress and deportment. Much of their advice-keep things concrete and specific, talk about what your audience is interested in-is fine, but some suggestions, like spicing up corporate presentations with ethnic humor, sexual innuendo and mild profanity, are certain to backfire. The authors also open themselves to their own critique. They throw around buzzwords like "authenticity," vapid clichés like "being you is all you'll ever need" and meaningless hype like "one-quarter of the gross domestic product is linked to persuasion." One of their recommendations for making presentations "spontaneous" and "personal" is to download anecdotes from an anecdote Web site. An injunction to brevity is translated into a mindless bean-counting formula proscribing sentences longer than 21 words (a figure derived from the "Flesch Reading Ease Scale"). And while they complain that "technology...makes it too convenient to automate the one part of business that should never be outsourced: our voice," their signature remedy for turgid, jargon-riddled prose is to run it through their anti-jargon computer program. The authors deliver a scintillating diagnosis of the problems in business communications, but sometimes their cure for the disease is the disease. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Let's face it. Business today is drowning in bullshit," say the authors of this timely, highly entertaining guide to cutting through corporatespeak and communicating effectively. Fugere and his coauthors, Chelsea Hardaway and Jon Warshawsky, are all veterans of the consulting giant Deloitte, and they speak with a jaded insider's view of "hype-filled, self-aggrandizing product literature" and "elephantine" reports that "shed less than two watts of light on the big issues." The concise chapters focus on common communication traps of business executives, including the tendency to write obscure, colorless, template information rather than clear material that speaks directly to its audience. Throughout, excerpts of egregious corporatespeak offer amusing, cautionary examples, and an appended glossary includes more offending phrases, along with deliciously sardonic definitions. Best of all, the authors suggest plenty of practical ways to break the bad habits. In an era in which phrases such as "going-forward value proposition" are supposed to mean something, this is a crucial guide, filled with "value-added deliverables" for readers in all professions who yearn for basic, substantive communication. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved