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The Tyranny of Words Paperback – 1 Jan 1966


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Product details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Publishers Ltd College Publishers (1 Jan. 1966)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156923947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156923941
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

A study of semantics investigating the problems of human communication and suggesting ways to clarify the meaning of words.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peebles on 6 May 2011
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If you don't already laugh your socks off every time a politician opens his/her mouth then you will after you read this.Have you ever read the 'great philosophers'or some incomprehensible economic double-talk and thought...'I must be stupid because I don't understand a word of this'.Well the reason why you don't understand it is simply because, as the author points out, it doesn't make sense.Once you restore your faith in your own intelligence you will see the world in a different light.....and laugh out loud at almost everything you hear being passed off as logical,sensible or authoritative.Hard work in some parts but ultimately very rewarding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PsychoPigeon on 4 Mar. 2013
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Tyranny of Words. I'm new to the semantic discipline but I have learned a lot from Mr Chase. This book will teach you how to deal with words such as 'Racist' 'Love' 'Beautiful' 'Freedom' 'Equality' and other common catchphrases, and how they have no meaning unless those words have verifiable evidence both parties can agree upon. It starts to turn you into a more critical thinker. You'll start to see how people become manipulated by politicians and people who consider themselves intelligent. It's about getting people to define what they mean instead of taking short cuts which others interpret in to other meanings. So the next time you hear someone using political rhetoric you ask them to define what they mean, most people won't know what they mean.

And a quote from the book which I just think is awesome:

"People are not "dumb" because they lack mental equipment; they are dumb because they lack an adequate method for the use of that equipment. Those intellectuals whose pastime is to sit on high fences and deplore the innate stupidity of the herd are on a very shaky fence.

Often, if they but knew it, they are more confused than the man on the street, for they deal in loftier abstractions. When I hear a man say, "We never can get anywhere because the masses are so stupid," I know that I am in the presence of a mythmaker, caught on his high perch behind the bars of a verbal prison.-" pg. 28-29

Another thing I'd like to add. Half way through the book Chase starts to argue that state economic planning is progress and uses quotes from people who oppose this way of thinking as a demonstration in to meaningless words and rhetoric.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. B. Shread on 7 Jun. 2013
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This book, in my humble opinion, is essential reading for the human species; if we can learn to use our spoken and written language tools (words) more effectively, we will see a brighter future.

What's so great about this book is that it's not just about semantics for the sake of being academic - this book was written with a bigger purpose. Stuart Chase demonstrates holistic thinking, i.e. how this knowledge of language fits into the wider picture of society and the future of humankind.

Scientific in approach and enjoyable to read, I highly recommend this book to anybody and everybody.

Here's my little speech on the bigger picture:
As far as I can tell, one of the main reasons we're in such a messy society is because of lack of awareness of our own fallibility, and the effects/consequences of our actions i.e. broken thinking (including massive egos, faith, political ideology, etc) getting in the way of seeing what's really happening.
We will only get out of our mess if we humans improve the way we think; i.e. drastically reduce our logical fallacies, cognitive biases and distortions; and improve the way we communicate; i.e. "nonviolently", using evidence, being empathic, and using far less abstract language when action is needed- with clear physical referents.

This book is one of a few key texts to help change the zeitgeist so we can create a global peaceful civilisation :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By amcze on 3 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is truly inspriational. Not only does it make you think about the language we use, how we take words for granted and how we miss the importance of true meaning in our everyday lives, it also inspires the reader to want to make all their communications clear, concise, concrete and original. I cannot imagine a book more stimulating for a writer in the process of trying to find their 'voice'.
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