About the author

I am the author, co-author, secondary-author, ghost-author, and non-author of articles, speeches, book chapters, and even entire books! The most recent can be found at LosingMyReligions.net. Currently, I am President of One Step for Animals; previously, I was shitcanned from so many nonprofits that we can’t list them all here. Before my unfortunate encounter with activism, I was an aerospace engineer who wanted to work for NASA (to impress Carl Sagan). My hobbies include photography, almost dying, and {REDACTED}. I live in Tucson with my soulmate and reluctant editor Anne, along with the occasional snake and scorpion.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It’s Not What You Say, It’s What They Hear

Frank Luntz is the conservative wordsmith behind some of the most successful Republican politicians and movements of the modern era. His book, Words That Work (subtitled: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear) is an excellent lesson on how to shape language that actually influences people, while avoiding common traps that undermine our efforts at communication.

His top ten rules are:


  1. Simplicity: Use Small Words
  2. Brevity: Use Short Sentences
  3. Credibility Is As Important As Philosophy
  4. Consistency Matters
  5. Novelty: Offer Something New
  6. Sound and Texture Matter
  7. Speak Aspirationally
  8. Visualize
  9. Ask a Question
  10. Provide Context and Explain Relevance


This is in no way a perfect book (as examined here), but a very interesting one, replete with stories and examples. The book’s subtitle alone is one of the most important lessons advocates can learn. Here is a fuller review, if you’d like a fuller exploration of the ideas without (or before) reading the whole book.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Our book club read this 1-2 years ago. It had a lot of good tips.