Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear, written by political and corporate consultant Frank Luntz, is one such book. I love the title, and I couldn’t resist the urge to splurge on buying the book. As a communicator, I am obviously interested in word usage and communication theories. Luntz has used his brilliant mind and meticulous research to develop a lexicon of words that work and also words that don’t work. The surprise is found in discovering the power of which words really work. The author’s main message is often repeated throughout the book. “It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear” that matters.
At first, one could get the impression that Luntz is being simply manipulative, but a closer look at the book can change your mind rather swiftly. Luntz is not a manipulator but a communicator. Case studies of situations in business and politics where words were used well and appropriately permeate the content of the book.
Also, there are examples of what not to do and say, which is equally helpful. There are some valuable insights for ministers and lay people found in Words That Work. It is not written from the Christian perspective, but the book does offer an opportunity for Christians to learn from a wordsmith who has been successful in the secular world.