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Language Intelligence: Lessons on persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga Paperback – July 11, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477452222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477452226
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book changed my life, and it can change yours, too. Joe Romm understands the secrets of persuasion and messaging and he has distilled them into this must-read book."
- Van Jones, President, Rebuild the Dream

"Joe Romm is one of the best communicators we have. This book is the essential hand-book for anyone who wants to be more effective or more persuasive."
- Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org

About the Author

Joseph Romm is one of the country’s most influential communicators on climate science, solutions, and politics. He is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where he runs ClimateProgress.org, which New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called, ”the indispensable blog.” Romm is author of seven books and in 1997 was acting assistant secretary of energy overseeing $1 billion in clean energy investments.

“The Web’s most influential climate-change blogger” and “Hero of the Environment 2009” — Time magazine

“In terms of his cachet in the blogosphere, Joe Romm is something like the climate change equivalent of economist (and New York Times columnist) Paul Krugman.” — U.S. News & World Report

One of “The 100 People Who Are Changing America” — Rolling Stone

Customer Reviews

Very well written!
Carl Elkin
Joseph Romm's book is a great resource for those of us who are striving to tell a better story and reaching to communicate more effectively.
Sandman Enterprises
Reading this book is like taking steroids.
Scott A. Mandia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 105 people found the following review helpful By John Cook on August 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
The book promises to help us "become more persuasive, more memorable and harder to manipulate". Romm achieves this by revealing the secrets of rhetoric, the art of verbal persuasion. This isn't a book about sneaky manipulation (although there is a chapter on how to identify such attempts in order to avoid being manipulated). This is about harnessing the power of language to craft compelling, memorable and emotionally engaging communication. These are skills all communicators need to hone, particularly scientists whose nature, let's face it, is to bleed their content of any emotion or character.

The first myth that Romm debunks is the notion that rhetoric is about soaring flowery language. On the contrary, there's a whole chapter "Short words win" devoted to keeping your language simple and natural. Winston Churchill, a master rhetorician that Romm references regularly, advocates the use of "short homely words of common usage" which have power and stick in the mind. George Orwell offers a simple rule of thumb: "Never use a long word when a short one will do".

A key chapter is on repetition and begins with a quote from Frank Luntz, the political strategist who infamously (and effectively) advised Republicans on how to confuse the public about climate change. Luntz advises that you repeat your message again and again and again: when you're absolutely sick of saying it, your target audience has heard it for the first time. This is sound advice for long-term messaging but Romm also talks about repetition in the way we put our words together. One form of repetition is rhyme (if you don't repeat, you can't compete).
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Mandia on August 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
They know (knew) how to use rhetoric to send the strongest and longest lasting messages. Now you can learn the secrets of the great communicators such as Jesus Christ, Shakespeare, Lincoln, Lady Gaga, Winston Churchill, Bob Dylan, and others by reading Joseph Romm's latest book titled: Language Intelligence: Lessons on persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga.

Rhetoric in this case does not mean the most commonly thought of definition where you envision a political animal gushing forth with a diatribe of nonsense (picturing Rush Limbaugh now?) but instead, the more formal definition which is "the art or science of effective use of language."

Romm takes us on a history tour and shows us why the greatest communicators have been the ones that worked hardest at improving their rhetoric. I was surprised to learn that Winston Churchill in his early twenties already understood the power of effective rhetoric. (At the same age I was more concerned with finding the best price on beer and wings! Rhetoric was off my radar.) While only 22 years old, Churchill wrote a manifesto in which he said,

"The influence exercised over the human mind by apt analogies is and has always been immense. Whether they translate and established truth into simple language or whether they adventurously aspire to reveal the unknown, they are among the most formidable weapons of the rhetorician. The effect upon the most cultivated audiences is electrical...One such will make a speech or mar a measure."

The reader also learns that Lincoln studied Shakespearean orations in order to improve his speechmaking skills and would often argue for hours about the use of a single word in his or an opponent's speech.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Michael Totten on August 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Joe Romm has written a much needed book in these days of toxic media and polarized politics that have all but derailed needed action on the greatest challenge of our times, climate destabilization. As readers of Joe Romm's award-winning web site, Climate Progress, well know, Joe has been sharing insights about the importance of understanding the force of rhetoric and persuasion in illuminating or obfuscating understanding of a complex subject like the threat of climate weirding. The rhetoric used by climate deniers has proven very potent in confusing the public. Many of us have been awaiting for the arrival of Joe's book on rhetoric and persuasion, and it turns out to be outstanding, just like his previous books which are all packed with deft phrasing, helpful insights and suggestions, and always consummate in facts and accuracy. Joe's Language Intelligence should be used in school curricula, because an educated citizenry must be well-schooled in the tools of rhetoric and persuasion, so as to be able to discern the veneer of suggestive arguments disguising vacuous and highly misleading, inaccurate statements. And certainly any person speaking in public or in elected office should make reading this book their top priority.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Siegel on August 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book surprised me by just how much I learned ... in terms of straight out knowledge/education (truly, I had little understanding of the Shakespeare's educational formation and how it related to the language power of the best-known English translation of the Bible) and in terms of ways of thinking about how to structure / use language more effectively.

In 2004, amid many frustrations, I could not understand why Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry (and the 'campaign') remained locked so hard into the Vietman War and failed to create a narrative of his life-long service to the nation from the SEAL operations in Vietnam, to principaled efforts to end the war on his return from overseas, to protecting citizens in the courts as a prosecutor, to his service in Congress. Â Rather than "SEAL in Vietnam", I yearned for "a life of service" as message -- a truthful message that would communicate how John Kerry had, for decades, been devoting himself to larger purpose in service to America and Americans. While that frustration remained through the campaign and beyond, that frustration never fit within a meaningful intellectual construct until page 96 of Joe Romm's new book Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln and Lady Gaga.

"The 2004 presidential campaign revealed how foreshadowing had moved to the forefront of modern political campaigns. ... John Kerry based much of his campaign on events in Vietnam ... Kerry, however, made two fatal mistakes in his foreshadowing effort ... First, he never linked the second half of his life to the first half, never completed the life story, to show that the foreshadowing had in fact foreshadowed anything.
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