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 age-old 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.
©2006 Michael D.C. Drout; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC
Includes everything you should have learned in grammar school had you been interested and engaged in the topic. A dynamic and unpretentious speaker. Famous speeches were dissected and the tools of their effectiveness revealed. I got it.
This lecture was informative and enlightening. He challenged what I know and what I thought I knew. He brought me back to college. It was just like my best and favorite college courses; giving me information but not answering all my questions. He left me with enough curiosity to learn more on my own and continue with my road of life-long learning. I have added more books to my reading list because of this lecture. Additionally, I read books with a new eye, a new mind, because of this lecture. He teaches, he entertains, he delights, he inspires, and he allows; for possibility, opinion, and curiosity. I look forward to more lectures from Professor Drout. I highly recommend this lecture.
I have already listened to many of the chapters over and over again in this audio book. I love the way Professor Drout speaks with such enthusiasm and passion on a subject that he is obviously highly and skillfully versed in. He breaks it down splendidly so that even those of us with limited skills can grow and expand from the wisdom he imparts.
One of the best out of hundreds that I have listened, this book contains not only the general principles but also many brilliant examples on motivating the audience and becoming compelling communicators.
I loved this explanation of rhetoric. He took modern and ancient examples and made them completely clear, all while remaining consistently energetic about his subject, even though the material itself can be viewed as dry. He explained very well how communication is only boring when you haven't reached your audience properly, in a way they can understand easily.
Though his enthusiasm was at times a bit much, I enjoyed listening to this book and will likely listen to it again soon. Great job, worth every penny.
This is a great introduction to the Modern Scholar series. I was afraid the audio book would be boring on a long drive but I found this book interesting and the speaker enjoyable all the way to my detination ... and back! High praise for an english book by an engineer. I am going to the other book by this author.
This is an excellent course of 14 audio lectures about rhetoric as an art of convincing people, and not only due to all the interesting and well explained information it includes but especially because of the pleasure of listening to the professor Michael Drout. He is a brilliant lecturer and it is obvious he himself is having fun when he speaks to you about rhetoric.
He's a fine lecturer, making otherwise boring topics palatable. The accompanying guide or notes are extremely thorough and helpful. You will learn to analyze speech and writing, but not to speak or to write. But hey, what can you expect from just listening or reading? I most enjoyed his presentation about rhetoric, since I had never categorized figures of speech or fallacies. On the other hand, while it is useful to put a label on general concepts, I wish scholars used labels that were easier to remember. All these Latin names of fallacies reminded me of botany; similarly, with all those names of schemes and tropes. I'm sure that, if I ever see or hear them again, I would have to look up "litotes", "hypophora," "pleonasm," or "paronomasia." (This last word is spelled "paranomasia" in the guide, which, although incorrect, actually makes more sense etymologically. Now that is something about which only English professors get excited.) He only offered mnemonic devices for "illocution" and "perlocution." Finally, even though he seemed so excited to get to discussing grammar, I found the two chapters on it the least insightful in an otherwise illuminating presentation. Although he attempts to make the subject matter relevant, his presentation is more formal than practical. I enjoyed his concluding speculations about the evolution and future of spoken rhetoric.
Michael is a great speaker and does an exceptional job in keeping his energy up through subject matter that is very complex but clearly an area of passion for him. I found the content excellent however I found myself constantly listening for practical examples of how I could implement this in my career. He is so passionate and knowledgeable about the subject matter that the practical application is hard to decipher amid all the history and fast facts. If you want to learn about rhetoric and the way language is used for power etc it's great - but if you want to learn how to implement it in your own life it's probably not an A+ audio book - although Michael is clearly an expert.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Professor Michael D. C. Drout concludes A Way with Words: Writing, Rhetoric and the Art of Persuasion (2006) by expressing his belief that rhetoric is evolving away from formal, written styles towards more conversational oral styles in which the speaker tries to appear to be a regular person talking to regular people. Indeed, he delivers his fourteen informative and entertaining lectures with a seemingly spoken rhetoric, improvising, he tells us, from his written notes rather than reading from a script, and spicing his language with colloquialisms like "Damn," "stuff," and "doofus," saying "gonna," and changing his voice to mock or channel political or authoritative registers. His voice bubbles with the joys and pleasures of rhetoric (and of its necessary logic and grammar). He comes across as enthusiastic and unpretentious, nothing like a pedantic professor. And he wields an enjoyably inclusive set of allusions, ranging from J. R. R. Tolkien to Homer Simpson, from It's a Wonderful Life to Tarzan, from the Chicago Bulls to the Boston Red Sox, and from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody to Grammar Rock's "Conjunction Junction." And he analyzes classic examples of effective rhetoric from Shakespeare, Lincoln, Churchill, and MLK, Jr., as well as contemporary examples of "rhetorical trainwrecks" (by John Kerry and Al Gore) and "rhetorical triumphs" (by Rudy Guliani). He apologizes for necessary jargon and then explains it clearly and refers to it in future lectures. Overall, he successfully communicates that learning to recognize and understand and resist and employ rhetoric can help us live more effectively in our communities and can even increase the amount of truth in the world.
His fourteen lectures cover topics like the ways in which words can change reality (through performative language), the history of rhetoric as a tool to find and communicate the truth, the nature of discourse conventions and "fictional" target audiences, the basic structures and building blocks and developments of logical arguments, logical fallacies, the three elements of any rhetorical argument (logic, ethics, and feeling), figures of speech, word choice, and grammar.
Professor Drout's two lectures on grammar were less interesting and useful than I'd hoped, focusing as they do on common errors and two of his pet peeves, "very unique" and "literally…" And I sometimes wished that he'd either avoid saying "and so forth" or alternated it with "and so on." And he often refers to the course guide, which is available for free as a pdf file, and it is very helpful, but when I scrolled through it, it tended to crash my Safari and my Preview programs.
But I learned a lot from his course, and will be more observant about the rhetoric that people use in the world around me, and will try to be more thoughtful about my own rhetoric, especially in teaching classes. I enjoyed listening to A Way with Words (as I did Drout's course on Tolkien and Fantasy, Rings, Swords, and Monsters) and will probably listen to another of his courses in future.
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