Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Language Intelligence: Lessons on persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga Paperback – July 11, 2012
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
- 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
Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Required reading for people speaking or writing or who want to speak or write or those who listen/read to speakers or writers.Published 2 months ago by Luke Woydziak
Love the history behind the examples and the examples from history. Very informative book. I always wondered how Bush fooled so many people. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Harry B. Kellogg
If you are a writer or a presenter or someone just interested in understanding how language works, this book is a must read. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Taylor Ellwood
Some of these ideas and examples are not new or unique but Joe Romm presents them in a lively and straightforward way. Read morePublished 8 months ago by David E. Heintz
Excellent beginning book on formal/classical rhetoric, as applied to the modern dayPublished 13 months ago by Robert Whitman