You Talkin' to Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama Paperback – 5 Jul 2012
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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)
This is the best available analysis (Boris Johnson)
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. Read this entertaining and instructive book and you will never again mistake an occultatio for an occupatio. (Ian Finlayson The Times)
A witty, elegant enquiry into the art of persuasionSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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
Ethos, pathos and logos
For example narration, proof and refutation
For example, decorum and jokes
some top tips on using a memory house
and then he explores the three branches of rhetoric:
Judicial Rhetoric and
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.
Why's that? Because reading it makes you feel intelligent.
A real expert can explain comlicated things so that people new to the subject can understand them too. That's what this book does.
Rhetoric. I didn't really know what that was, but I thought perhaps it was boring. It turns out that it's fascinating, or it is when Sam Leith writes about it.
I spend a lot of my working life trying to convince business people that they don't have to use words like contextualisation or phrases like integrated stratigic teaming to make themselves look clever. Aiming to show that if they can explain something complicated so people can understand it, they'll get better results. I'm going to take this book with me to all my workshops from now on. I used to take a geology book called Understanding Earth for the same reason, but this one's smaller.
Sam Leith has made me smarter. I didn't learn Latin at school, but that's OK because Sam explains it for you.
But as well as using Aristotle and Obama, he quotes South Park, Kurt Cobain and Billy Connelly.
And it tells me that I could probably have rearranged this review to have a stronger impact. Buy it anyway. Even if you don't intend to write a speech or make a speech. Even if you never write anything.
Read this because it makes you a more intelligent listener.
I found the book interesting and engaging, but I wanted to read more examples of the art.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good, entertaining read, and nice introduction to a few basic concepts of rhetoric. I bought an extra copy or a friend.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This is a great book if you are interested in the idea of rhetoric the skills of public speaker, off argument construction and of the great speech. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr. Paul Hopkins
What a smart piece of work. Learning lightly worn and only one or two flip moments of misjudgement.
Builds to a great climax with analysis of Martin Luther King's epic... Read more
Wonderful amusing read.
Great for understanding politicians, your peers and your children.
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. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Samuel