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You Talkin' To Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama by [Leith, Sam]
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You Talkin' To Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews

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Length: 316 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Highly entertaining and erudite ... He handles the important ancient texts, which can be rebarbative in their raw form, with a deliciously light touch, without sacrificing seriousness or finesse ... Reading this book is the equivalent of lounging in a leather club armchair, wreathed in cigar smoke and a couple of whiskies down, alongside a companion who's being funny and clever about Homer and Hello! magazine by turns. (Charlotte Higgins Guardian)

Entertaining ... You finish this book more than ready to rock a first in rhetoric. (Hermione Eyre Evening Standard)

Witty and revealing ... the chapter on Arrangement alone would probably bump up most student degrees by a class, not to mention the average oration (James McConnachie Sunday Times)

Leith gives modern relevance to an ancient practice. Though he is rigorous in his analysis of rhetoric, he is no dull pedagogue; his language is demotic, vernacular, colloquial ... Read this entertaining and instructive book and you will never again mistake an occultatio for an occupatio. (Ian Finlayson The Times)

Genius ... Leith's great gift is the ability to plunder the everyday to illustrate the rarefied ... even after the most cursory dip into this, you begin to hear the world in a completely different, illuminated way. (Telegraph)

this is the best available analysis, by a sensitive literary critic, of what rhetoric is, and how it works (Boris Johnson Mail on Sunday)

A work of both form and substance, sizzle and sausage - to use metonymy - and full of practical tips for any speaker or writer, this is a model of its kind (Ross Leckie Country Life)

irresistibly accessible...if you want to recreate the effects of Obama or Churchill, either by speaking in public or down the pub, this is the book for you (Metro Books of the Year)

highly entertaining...written with such charm and persuasion...if you like words and enjoy language you will love this book (Avanti! Magazine)

a sprightly, erudite and often very funny book about rhetoric...also an exceptionally astute examination of how politics works. I relished every page of it (Christopher Hart Literary Review)

elegant, concise and frequently very funny (John Preston Spectator)

entertaining (Peter Carty Independent)

Erudite loopiness of the highest order...sure to enlighten (George Pendle FT)

entertaining...winning humour and charm (Metro Non-Fiction Book of the Week)

Engaging (Ian Birrell Observer)

Book Description

A witty, elegant enquiry into the art of persuasion

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1921 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; Main edition (20 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005FQ1GS4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 95 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #73,531 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reference guide to rhetoric and speech structure, backed by practical examples of historical speeches. A useful tool for people who are not used to public speaking.
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By Purpleheart TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Some say we live in the age of communication so it seems odd that the study of rhetoric seems antiquated and neglected - part of an irrelevant classical tradition.

In a introduction which starts with a funny and apposite scene from The Simpsons, Sam Leith says 'So although rhetoric is all around us, we don't see it. Indeed it's precisely because it's all around us that we don't see it. Explaining rhetoric to a human being is, or should be, like explaining water to a fish.' He goes on to say 'We use language to cajole and seduce, to impress and inspire, to endear and to justify. Language happens because human beings are desiring machines; and what knits desire and language is rhetoric.' At that point I was sold - my interest was piqued. What kept me reading was his clear style and wonderful examples from Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost to The Simpsons, from Churchill to Obama.

The book is structured according to the Five Parts of rhetoric
1) Invention
Ethos, pathos and logos

2) Arrangement
For example narration, proof and refutation

3) Style
For example, decorum and jokes

4) Memory
some top tips on using a memory house

5) Delivery

and then he explores the three branches of rhetoric:
Deliberative Rhetoric
Judicial Rhetoric and
Epideicitic Rhetoric

Don't be put off by the classical terms. If you have an important presentation or speech to give then this book will be very useful, but it's also something that can be dipped in to with pleasure and will reward and enrich the everyday communications.

Sam Leith has pulled off that very difficult balancing act with his book which is entertaining and inspiring as well as informative and educational. It is a master class in rhetoric.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed "You Talkin' to Me?". It provides a very accessible and readable introduction to what could be the very dry subject of rhetoric. There is a good deal of history there (but not too much) and good explanation of the key elements of this useful skill. What I felt the book lacked was sufficient examples of these elements. There are simply not enough extracts of great speeches in there, and (in my view) not enough great speakers highlighted. So, for example, there is a chapter about Churchill in there but only a few lines of his actual speeches. President Obama does a little better, but overall there are just not enough examples of this fine art. Even if the author included a list of great speeches with web page addresses so we could look them up, that would be useful.

I found the book interesting and engaging, but I wanted to read more examples of the art.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For anyone who has a love for language, this book is an essential. It's incredibly witty and the anecdote filled pages actually had me laugh-out-loud a few times. Even for those with a mere curiosity about rhetoric this book is recommendable, as it uncovers the power and beauty that words in our day to day lives. Sam Leith has an enchanting way of explaining how rhetoric is used and has been used in the past, and provides the tools for the reader to develop their own rhetoric and see through others. To borrow an analogy quoted in the book, the pages are so sugary I had to lick my fingers afterwards.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very informative about techniques used by politicians and other public speakers and about the origins of rhetoric from hundreds of years ago.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought as a Christmas present
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing book. Well written and full of great insight
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