Books: Words that Work

Frank Luntz, the political consultant and pollster, writes about the important lessons from his professional life in this book. The favorite mantra for Luntz is “It is not what you say, it’s what people hear”. The mantra has worked successfully on many occasions in his professional life. In order to make people hear what we have to say, he formulates ten rules of effective language. After describing the ten rules briefly, Luntz picks up corporate and political stories as case studies attributing their successes to the ten rules of effective language. Towards the end of the book, he also provides a sample of words that work.

As a book, this is a disappointing read. The rules are described in the first chapter. The rest of the chapters are devoted to case studies from the corporate or political arena. These case studies deal with the ten rules at the same time instead of one rule at a time. This makes the reader to focus on multiple things while reading a chapter which ends up in confusion and loss of interest. But in all these chapters, Luntz follows his fourth rule diligently. The rule number four says “consistency matters”. Throughout the book, Luntz consistently tells us “It is not what you say, it’s what people hear”.

If you come across the book, read the first chapter, make a notes of the rules and do not go any further. The first chapter matters. The rest of the chapters provide a slow torturous ride.

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Tags: Books,Frank Luntz