13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Who would have thought that learning about rhetoric would be so much fun?,
This review is from: You Talkin' To Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama (Hardcover)
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I think this book does for rhetoric what 'Eats Shoots and Leaves' does for grammar. It provides a highly readable and hilarious guide to the history and practice of rhetoric.
Everyone knows what a rhethorical question is, i.e. one that suggests its answer rather than demands it. The book shows that the subject is about a series of tricks in which arguments are made to persuade others to come to the point of view of the speaker. Of course, it is just a prevalent in writing.
The thing that is clear is that people talk and think rhetorically almost by instinct and respond to it even without knowing. This book gives a very quick and highly readable account of how rhetoric works and begins with Aristotle's formulation of the rules and then looks at some of the finest [and infamous] orators who have mastered rhethoric, including Cicero and Demosthenes, Abraham Lincoln, Churchill and Hitler, Thatcher and Reagan and in our time President Barack Obama. On the way, he also uses examples from pop songs, advertisements, comedy sketches and film and plays.
I think it is very useful for everyone who communicates to know about rhetoric. Use of rhetoric can make your written work become more colourful. Use of rhetoric can make your speech more persuasive. Understanding of rhetoric can also make you recognise where you are being bamboozled and manipulated.
Immediately after finishing this book, I was asked to give a talk at a staff meeting about some work I had been doing. It is normally a tedious part of the meeting when most people switch off - other people's work not being as interesting as their own. Just for fun, I thought I would apply some rhetorical techniques to my talk, such as anaphora and tricolon. I thought more carefully about the order and choice of words for their effect on the listeners. I had so much fun playing with the material that the talk went down really well and I even managed to raise a few laughs.