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American American-Statesman #1 Bestseller
"Penetrating …lively and accessible …Paying closer attention to function words [Pennebaker] advises, can help us understand the social relations that those words reflect. Unfortunately, we might not be able to pay proper attention until we’re all equipped with automatic word counters. Until that day, we have Pennebaker as an indefatigable guide to the little words that he boldly calls ‘keys to the soul.’"—New York Times Book Review
"Anyone who reads his book will become much more conscious about how he or she uses words when talking to friends, when talking to the public, or when writing for the public … Pennebaker’s new book is fascinating and fun."—Austin American-Statesman
"Provocative … eye-opening … The Secret Life of Pronouns is studded with muse-worthy examples of language’s hidden power."—Dallas Morning News
"Interesting and provocative … A good nonfiction book often feels like a new lens prescription: You marvel at suddenly being able to see what was always there. On this count The Secret Life of Pronouns succeeds. You find yourself paying a greater degree of attention to even the least-regarded words of daily interaction … It is an apt reminder that we express ourselves in more ways than we know."—Wall Street Journal
"[An] intriguing treatise…accessible, entertaining…Pennebaker's take on the unexpected importance of throw-away words isthe kind of fun pop linguistics readers devour."— Publishers Weekly
"An extraordinary look at ordinary words."—Booklist
“The author successfully demonstrates that seemingly innocuous function words—I, me, you, he, can, for, it, of, this—play a crucial role in understanding identity, detecting emotions and realizing intention; they also provide important clues about social and cultural cohesion … Convincing and compelling…Essential reading for psychotherapists and readers interested in the connection between language and human behavior, emotion and perception.”—Kirkus
"Is it possible for a psychologist to hear just a few words from you and immediately know what makes you tick? Could this psychologist use cutting-edge science to detect your inner desires from subtle patterns in your use of language—beyond anything you were conscious of saying? The answer to both questions is Yes. James Pennebaker is this psychologist and you really ought to read his remarkable book."—Daniel Wegner, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, author of The Illusion of Conscious Will
"In this entertaining and sharply illuminating book, James Pennebaker shows that the words you use in everyday talk reveal surprising insights into personality, social relationships, status, leadership, sex, and human nature. I suspect that Pennebaker could decode the pronouns and the functions of words I write now to describe him in such a way as to reveal deep secrets about me! But I will write them anyway, and here they are: He is one of the smartest, funniest, and most creative psychologists you will ever meet."—Dan P. McAdams, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, author of George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream: A Psychological Portrait
I loved the approach that Dr. Pennebaker and his research partners have taken in this field.
Interested readers might also enjoy Roderick Hart's Campaign Talk or one of the other related books the author mentions.
After reading this book, you'll never look at the little words in language the same way again.
Great primer for making one a better communicator and listener. Pennebaker sheds light on those situations we've all experienced--after walking away and saying "wait, what did... Read morePublished 14 days ago by jim lucas
Ehh, I find many of these arguments to be problematic, coming from the perspective of linguistics. Still it's fun to pay attention to the forgotten words.Published 1 month ago by Kombucha is a heavenly elixir
I bought this book after I heard a NPR (Nation Public Radio) interview with the author. Was looking forward to learning something new. Read morePublished 1 month ago by LHRPat
Those little words we often don't even consider that we are using tell us much about what we really think and feel. Read morePublished 3 months ago by moorj
This is a fascinating thing to think about. So many books like this you feel like it is stating the obvious.
But this one really gets at something. Read more
If you are a fan of psychology then this has to be in the top 50 psychology books you should read. It gives insight into how the way we speak and what it means. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sebastian Aiden Daniels