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The Superior Person's Field Guide to Deceitful, Deceptive and Downright Dangerous Language Hardcover – 1 Oct 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 132 pages
  • Publisher: David R Godine Publishers Inc, U.S. (1 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567923372
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567923377
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,870,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A lexicon devoid of practical value but replete with entertaining possibilities. ... Not for the faint of wit. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peter Bowler - educator, author, and curmudgeon - spent many years in management, where he discovered a whole new subset to the English language - Business-speak.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Two things are certain about language - firstly, people have always manipulated it to their advantage, and secondly is that language changes over time.

The author of this little book seems to have an issue with both of these aspects of language.

Clearly some of the uses of language today - most of which appear to have migrated from management courses to everyday language - are bordering on the insane. "Negative Growth" for decline and such like. But you have to ask the question - does the author have such a low opinion of the rest of humanity as to think that we cannot see through this? His statements that "Low Yield Nuclear Weapons" are so called because it gives the impression that the people `on the receiving end of one of these weapons is being given some kind of benefit' is as insulting as it is stupid!

Not all of the book takes on such a tone - but there are enough "low yield" examples to make the book downright annoying. I won't go as far as to suggest that the author wants to drive language back to the 1950's where every word knew its place, but it's extremely tempting.

And don't get me started on what's "deceitful, deceptive and downright dangerous" about a book that claims it's for "superior persons" only.

If you want a book on the corruption of language by business speak I would suggest Gobbledygook: How Cliches, Sludge and Management-speak are Strangling Our Public Languageinstead of this. If you are looking for a few snippets of laughter The Superior Persons .......... may just appeal.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Not meant solely to amuse the reader 3 April 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Unlike the previous three books in this David R. Godine series, The Superior Person's Field Guide to Deceitful, Deceptive & Downright Dangerous Language is not meant solely to amuse the reader. In today's modern era when words are carefully chosen to soften the severity of what they represent, such as "extraordinary rendition" for flying prisoners to faraway countries where they can be tortured, or "transit pouch" to induce more complacency with regard to human casualties than "body bag" would, there is a greater need than ever to remain alert to insidious verbal trickery. In an era when "peace" means "war" (i.e. "pacify" means "invade and subjugate by force of arms") and "life" means "death" (as in "life insurance"), George Orwell's warnings against the misuse of language in his dystopian classic 1984 are perilously close to coming true. Of course, plenty of less deadly serious entries such as "squirrel" for psychiatrist (because they "feed off nuts") are also present for comedic relief. Perhaps the most eye-catching entry is the long list of deceptive terms used in real estate, with accompanying translations: "leafy neighborhood" means "forest fire area", "price slashed" means "was way overpriced to begin with", and "starter" or "investment" means "a normal person would not want to live here". Highly recommended.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A worthy companion to Fowler and Follett 1 Mar. 2008
By Alexander R. Hicks - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The older Fowler, that is: not the new abomination bearing the name. Mr Bowler's 'Superior Person's' guides are delightful, and this one does not disappoint. Here we have an illuminating insight into the abuses and misuses of the language, most specially needed in this interminable election year.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Superior Person's Field Guide to Deceitful, Deceptive and Downright Dangerous Language 28 Jun. 2010
By Robert B. Vincelette Jr. - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This should be required reading for anyone who writes or reads resumes, especiallt page 77. Management has many words and phrases that are not defined and not even concepts but rather they are the tinklings of Pavlov's bells.
Quite a good book 18 Mar. 2014
By They - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Organized alphabetically, this little gem explains the true meaning of many terms - a must for understanding the double-speak and gobbledygook of today's world. It's well written with the required touches of dark humour. I only wish it had more entries.
Great Book 20 Feb. 2014
By Lorraine Reis - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you enjoy words you will really like this book. So many words that are not in use today and they are just down right fun!
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