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A Way with Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion

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From the Publisher: In A Way with Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion, esteemed professor Michael D.C. Drout brings his expertise in literary studies to the subject of rhetoric. From history-altering political speeches to friendly debates at cocktail parties, rhetoric holds the power to change opinions, spark new thoughts, and ultimately change the world. T From the Publisher: In A Way with Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion, esteemed professor Michael D.C. Drout brings his expertise in literary studies to the subject of rhetoric. From history-altering political speeches to friendly debates at cocktail parties, rhetoric holds the power to change opinions, spark new thoughts, and ultimately change the world. The study of rhetoric not only leads to a greater understanding of how personages such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Winston Churchill elevated the power of speech to majestic heights, but also to a stronger proficiency in using rhetoric in anyone’s day-to-day life. Professor Drout examines the types of rhetoric and their effects, the structure of effective arguments, and how subtleties of language can be employed to engage in more successful rhetoric. Drout also ponders the role of rhetoric in our world and the ageold question of whether it is just a tool for convincing people of things that aren’t true, or whether it is indeed a force for good that will ultimately lead to truth.


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From the Publisher: In A Way with Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion, esteemed professor Michael D.C. Drout brings his expertise in literary studies to the subject of rhetoric. From history-altering political speeches to friendly debates at cocktail parties, rhetoric holds the power to change opinions, spark new thoughts, and ultimately change the world. T From the Publisher: In A Way with Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion, esteemed professor Michael D.C. Drout brings his expertise in literary studies to the subject of rhetoric. From history-altering political speeches to friendly debates at cocktail parties, rhetoric holds the power to change opinions, spark new thoughts, and ultimately change the world. The study of rhetoric not only leads to a greater understanding of how personages such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Winston Churchill elevated the power of speech to majestic heights, but also to a stronger proficiency in using rhetoric in anyone’s day-to-day life. Professor Drout examines the types of rhetoric and their effects, the structure of effective arguments, and how subtleties of language can be employed to engage in more successful rhetoric. Drout also ponders the role of rhetoric in our world and the ageold question of whether it is just a tool for convincing people of things that aren’t true, or whether it is indeed a force for good that will ultimately lead to truth.

30 review for A Way with Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion

  1. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    the purpose of learning about rhetoric is to help you communicate clearly and convincingly (through writing and speaking. you can download the coursebook for free at: http://www.recordedbooks.com/courses_... the purpose of learning about rhetoric is to help you communicate clearly and convincingly (through writing and speaking. you can download the coursebook for free at: http://www.recordedbooks.com/courses_...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    I love when a professor has so much passion for something that he makes what could be an otherwise dull topic fun and interesting. I really enjoyed this audio-course, and even found myself laughing out loud several times. Drout discusses various aspects of writing and rhetoric, how to use the power of words/grammar to capture your audience, and what tools help to make a great speech. I learned quite a bit. I'm now off to listen to one of his other audio-courses to learn more. :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Very entertaining course about clarity and persuasion in speech and in writing. I learned some fancy words, including: paranomasia: punning thesis: I knew what this word meant, but Drout has a great way of explaining it. He says your thesis is your point--it's the reason you're writing the paper. enthymeme: This is a complex concept that Drout explains simply. The enthymeme is the part of the argument where you lean forward, lower your voice, and say, "Can't we both agree that. . . ." You can find Very entertaining course about clarity and persuasion in speech and in writing. I learned some fancy words, including: paranomasia: punning thesis: I knew what this word meant, but Drout has a great way of explaining it. He says your thesis is your point--it's the reason you're writing the paper. enthymeme: This is a complex concept that Drout explains simply. The enthymeme is the part of the argument where you lean forward, lower your voice, and say, "Can't we both agree that. . . ." You can find a more formal explanation here: http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/en... phatic: speech you use to establish a feeling of goodwill rather than to communicate a particular idea Bears are getting married or The devil and his wife are fighting over a hambone: what some people say when it's raining (or snowing) and sunny at the same time. Other expressions for the same are here: http://snowflowers25.blogspot.com/201...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sher

    I know this book is not for everyone or even for most people, but for those of us who are fascinated with words, who love to learn how they came to be and why we use them the way we do, and whose favorite app is the dictionary, this will be an instant favorite. It is actually one of the Great Courses, and is therefore more of a series of lectures than a book. To listen to Professor Drout, a man who loves grammar with a passion, talk about the proper and improper use of the English language is to I know this book is not for everyone or even for most people, but for those of us who are fascinated with words, who love to learn how they came to be and why we use them the way we do, and whose favorite app is the dictionary, this will be an instant favorite. It is actually one of the Great Courses, and is therefore more of a series of lectures than a book. To listen to Professor Drout, a man who loves grammar with a passion, talk about the proper and improper use of the English language is to sit at the feet of a master. I found a few real surprises as he taught me why we should use it correctly. Some of that is based on historical context, but overall it is based on being correctly understood, and being able to change the world with the words we speak and write. I truly loved every bit of it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ShaLisa

    I had fun reading this book. It was interesting information and I have another fun word to enjoy: petitioprincipii. I have always enjoyed dipdiadokokinetics although I seldom have opportunity to use it; I am still glad to have it in my head for my head's sake. I needed to take more notes but the author did say he has free notes available on his website which I will look into. I enjoy words. I enjoy language. I am now reading History of Language by Michael Drout and already found it worthwhile.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Second time through this and I love it even more. Leave it to Drout to make rhetoric is compelling subject.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    I selected this work based on the strength of the lecturer; I have listened to other series that he has done and enjoyed them, so I decided to give this one a try. It was interesting and fairly informative. Though, sadly, about the only thing I can really point to having learned is the proper pronunciation of oxymoron; I'm hoping that I absorbed more than I can easily articulate. Of course, a lot of the information was stuff I already knew, like Aristotelian logic, and so acted more as a useful I selected this work based on the strength of the lecturer; I have listened to other series that he has done and enjoyed them, so I decided to give this one a try. It was interesting and fairly informative. Though, sadly, about the only thing I can really point to having learned is the proper pronunciation of oxymoron; I'm hoping that I absorbed more than I can easily articulate. Of course, a lot of the information was stuff I already knew, like Aristotelian logic, and so acted more as a useful review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lucas Michael

    Love the book. All Prof. Drout's books are really interesting. Would like to go through a couple of times to reaped the full benefit of what that is in it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Coady Nickerson

    Really good. I laughed about his rant on "they" and it never becoming singular. I think it's safe to say he was wrong. Sorry Mr. Drout.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    I really enjoyed these lectures! I didn't realize how ignorant I was about rhetoric until I listened. Educate yourself and listen too!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Payam

    Up until this book, you will have learnt the elements of rhetoric: structured essays, grammar, logic, etc.; but you would not have learnt their position in the big picture. You would not have related them to rhetoric. You would not have known that, at the end, each piece is vital for a strong and persuasive argument. Fortunately, this book connects these pieces for you and demystifies the art of persuasion. Approaching rhetoric from a top-down approach, this book provides the macro structure of Up until this book, you will have learnt the elements of rhetoric: structured essays, grammar, logic, etc.; but you would not have learnt their position in the big picture. You would not have related them to rhetoric. You would not have known that, at the end, each piece is vital for a strong and persuasive argument. Fortunately, this book connects these pieces for you and demystifies the art of persuasion. Approaching rhetoric from a top-down approach, this book provides the macro structure of arguments first and the details last. The high-level explanation of structures allows the reader to understand which structure fits their argument best. Will a sermon approach work, or a five-piece paragraph approach work? Afterwards, the gears of the rhetoric machine are put in place and how they operated together is explained. You will want to use emotion, logic, and morality to connect to the other party. With the gears in place, the author explains the logical fallacies that prevent the gears from rotating smoothly. An understanding of the fallacies allows the listener to identify the fallacies of others and to prevent using fallacies for themselves. Gradually, oil for the gears is given via the rhetorical tools the listener can use in future arguments. Each rhetorical tool improves the delivery of the argument and increases its impact. With the gears in full motion, details are given to prevent hiccups and instead promote a smooth ride. Details are focused on grammar and analysis of past success and failed speeches. The details complete the big picture for the listener and prepares them for rhetoric in the future. I was left disheartened that the audiobook had to end. I simply wanted more training and more speech analysis. This audiobook taught me to appreciate how we communicate and structure our arguments. It taught me the relevance and importance of rhetoric that is often untaught. By its end, this book taught me that I am not skilled at rhetoric and require more training. Now that I am aware of my lack of skills, I can begin to do what any dedicated person would do: turn my weakness into a strength and learn rhetoric!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I went into this expecting little, but was banking on Professor Drout's other interesting lectures. I was not disappointed. He managed to balance educational and insightful with entertaining. To illustrate logical fallacies, he used the witch burning scene from The Holy Grail. Apparently this is also very clever satire from medieval scholar Terry Jones on medieval logic, because that logic chain is not terribly far from historical. So hilarious in both a smart and clever fashion. I got a lot of a I went into this expecting little, but was banking on Professor Drout's other interesting lectures. I was not disappointed. He managed to balance educational and insightful with entertaining. To illustrate logical fallacies, he used the witch burning scene from The Holy Grail. Apparently this is also very clever satire from medieval scholar Terry Jones on medieval logic, because that logic chain is not terribly far from historical. So hilarious in both a smart and clever fashion. I got a lot of appreciation about Rhetoric, and bits and pieces have wiggled their way into my brain for my writing tasks. After listening to this, I think rhetoric should be brought back in a more rigorous fashion into english classes, rather than having to parse some text that you might have liked if you weren't forced to read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    This was outstanding. I listened three times. Professor Drout not only has a passion for the subject, he has a way of communicating the concepts that make them understandable and memorable. Although it probably cannot be considered a full course in and of itself, it contains enough information to be able to go and start using the concepts immediately. It is a great introduction to a subject that I didn’t realise could be so fascinating.

  14. 5 out of 5

    David

    I hoped the material would get more advanced after a couple of chapters but I was really disappointed. This is really basic stuff that most people learnt in high school. If your native language has latin roots, this audiobook will sound even more obvious as the author goes through the 101 of etymology. I listen to many audiobooks on history, education, literature. This one is in the low tier.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Professor Drout provides a foundation on writing and rhetoric in an amazing conversational format, as if he's talking to you directly and explaining things that you didn't understand in English 101. He explains terminologies well and provides plenty of examples to allow you to slowly absorb the concepts. I'm starting on volume 2, which is more technical. I don't remember all the information after the first listen through. I expect I will be listening to these audio books again.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Manifest Stefany

    Once again, Professor Drout does not disappoint. His examples give you a full understanding of what is being taught and his passion for what he is teaching is inspiring. It many ways it was a refresher course and a reminder to raise the grammatical bar. This course gave me new direction to take my personal writing and my daily business communication. Anyone working in sales or managing large groups, needs to take this course. I can't wait to start the next one!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Newhall

    What's rhetoric anyway? I listened to Drout's fun, accessible, but astute Modern Scholar lectures on rhetoric and concluded that humans are born rhetoricians -- my little daughter, for example, had the basics mastered by the age of two. Read all about it at http://barbarafalconernewhall.com/201... What's rhetoric anyway? I listened to Drout's fun, accessible, but astute Modern Scholar lectures on rhetoric and concluded that humans are born rhetoricians -- my little daughter, for example, had the basics mastered by the age of two. Read all about it at http://barbarafalconernewhall.com/201...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    One of my favorite Modern Scholar presenters. I actually learned some practical points about arguing, and that I've been mispronouncing oxymoron. Now that I know the correct pronunciation I can assure that 1. people will think I'm pretentious 2. not understand me (joke) Great presenter of something that we should all understand.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    For the first time ever, I am fully engrossed in a lecture about rhetoric! I love listening to Dr. Drout. Thank you, Dr. Drought, for bringing such personality and enthusiasm to this topic. Perhaps previous lecturers on the topic failed to establish an enthymeme with me: that good rhetoric can be an essential life skill.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David “Skip” Everling

    Short and sweet course on exactly what the title suggests, pretty engaging throughout, not bogged down easily and full of practical advice. I like the professor and his lecturing style; he's very self-aware of his presentation, speaks quickly, chooses interesting topics, and avoids sounding too "professorial".

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jim Marsh

    Professor Drout takes what could be considered a very topic (rhetoric) and makes it come alive in a thoughtful way. He uses examples from history, recent politics and even popular culture to make sure that the concepts are understood. It makes me want to listen to more of the Modern Scholar program.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    This is a good introductory book about rhetoric and why one should study it. I thought it was interesting, relevant, and entertaining at times. The textbook is also very helpful. Unfortunately, I was unable to take the test because it seems the website is offline. All in all, a great listen.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ser Nico

    Or a 3..5 the chapters on Grammer could have been used for something else, Imo. Not rarely worth it, but an entertaining enough way to kill some time if you have nothing else going on. It doesn't really get deep and is more of a very light introduction to rheotric.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Baron

    This is a book about communicating well. The author communicates complex concepts in a clear, concise, and convivial manner. It even covers various fallacies, constructs, tropes and more. If you never had time to take a rhetoric course but need to speak persuasively, you must read this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Who knew writing and discussion could be so interesting? I doubt I'll apply too much of what I learned, but it is super amazing to understand the art of persuasion especially when we are getting ready for an election. So interesting how you can play with words.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    The course was both educational and entertaining. I highly recommend this book. "You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." ~Paul Sweeney

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Makes me think, more clearly, I hope, about the nature of persuasion, particularly in politics, religion, and social settings.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Because: rhetoric = fun for the whole family

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    Loved this! I'm tempted to listen to it again, but there are so many more to try!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sydney Young

    Excellent! Drout is the best.

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