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Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Clichés, Cant & Management Jargon

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30 review for Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Clichés, Cant & Management Jargon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    It is infinitely sad that I long for the days when politicians were literate and at times even intelligent (ie: Paul Keating). These days we have orange psychopathic despots and Scotty from Marketing captaining the shitshow of an epic bin fire that is 2020. Oh to have a leader who can even string a coherent sentence together...perhaps this book was simply pointing to the downfall of civilisation that we now find ourselves in the midst of. It was bad enough in 2004 when this was published but its It is infinitely sad that I long for the days when politicians were literate and at times even intelligent (ie: Paul Keating). These days we have orange psychopathic despots and Scotty from Marketing captaining the shitshow of an epic bin fire that is 2020. Oh to have a leader who can even string a coherent sentence together...perhaps this book was simply pointing to the downfall of civilisation that we now find ourselves in the midst of. It was bad enough in 2004 when this was published but its fucking horrific now.

  2. 5 out of 5

    L.E. Truscott

    Written in 2004, Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words describes itself as “a serious weapon in the struggle against those whose words kill brain cells and sink hearts”. For those who know me even just a little, it should come as no great surprise that I was drawn to this book. So what are “weasel words”? They are the language of the politicians, the powerful, the marketers, designed to conceal the truth and often the fact that the politicians, the powerful and the marketers have no idea what they’ Written in 2004, Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words describes itself as “a serious weapon in the struggle against those whose words kill brain cells and sink hearts”. For those who know me even just a little, it should come as no great surprise that I was drawn to this book. So what are “weasel words”? They are the language of the politicians, the powerful, the marketers, designed to conceal the truth and often the fact that the politicians, the powerful and the marketers have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s spin. It’s vagueness, fancy words that make them sound smart and reasonable when actually they’re usually talking complete nonsense or trying to cover their butts after having done something they shouldn’t have. The book also contains words that now have meanings completely the opposite of which they initially began life. A few horrific and hilarious examples: *“mandate” – described as “The idea that recently elected governments have a right to do what pleases them.” *“help desk” – accompanied by the following descriptions: “1. A person with some expertise in computers, IT, etc. 2. A person capable of asking, ‘Is it switched on? Have you tried rebooting it?’ 3. Not a desk. Not helpful.” *“negative patient outcomes” – more commonly known to those outside the healthcare industry as “death” *“decruitment” – more commonly known by everybody as “being fired”, the opposite of “recruitment” It came as a bit of a shock to me how many of these words I was and still am surrounded by in everyday life without realising it. Many of them have become so entrenched that we listen to and use them unquestioningly, perhaps because the sheer volume is overwhelming. As a result of reading this book, I was actually able to identify a multitude of weasel words that were used frequently in a previous corporate job including “noise” (complaints), “core competencies” (services), “thought leadership” (research), “value-adds” (free stuff), “harvest” (re-use) and many others. All writers, especially corporate writers, should have a copy of this book next to the dictionary on their desk. It should be referred to daily and anytime those writers find themselves using the words in this book in any of their ridiculous meanings, they should rewrite quickly before anyone finds out. This book will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. And if it also makes you re-evaluate the nonsense heard daily from the mouths and press statements of heads of state, business leaders, bureaucrats, celebrities and sports people, then it will have done its job.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ursula

    Who of us is not utilising their skill set to productively deal with key stakeholders to achieve agreed outcomes? Who of us is not impacted when our employer decides to roll out a downsizing initiative? Don Watson's ‘Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Clichés, Cant & Management Jargon’ was first published in 2004, and while some of the words and terms listed in it appear to be irrelevant or outdated in this day and age (2014), the majority of them have truly gone mainstream. Watson, who Who of us is not utilising their skill set to productively deal with key stakeholders to achieve agreed outcomes? Who of us is not impacted when our employer decides to roll out a downsizing initiative? Don Watson's ‘Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Clichés, Cant & Management Jargon’ was first published in 2004, and while some of the words and terms listed in it appear to be irrelevant or outdated in this day and age (2014), the majority of them have truly gone mainstream. Watson, who used to be a speechwriter and adviser for former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, cautions that “this dead, depleted, verbless jargon is becoming the language of daily life.” And sadly, despite the plain language movement, an ever-growing market for effective writing workshops and advocates like George Orwell, Steven Poole, John Rentoul and Watson himself, it has become the vocabulary of our lives. Watson’s dictionary is still useful, fulfills a purpose; at the very least to document how the use of language has changed in the last decade. Many of the quotes from politicians, media releases, newspaper articles or corporate brochures he uses as examples for the listed terms are dated and would be meaningless to younger readers. Likewise, the humorous definitions and interpretations, some of which may have been funny at the time, have long lost their punch. Watson also often replaces well-known literary quotes with weasel words to drive his point, e.g. “Much ado in terms of nothing”, “And God saw the light, that it was quality.” - a device I soon grew tired of. While I enjoyed the introduction, a passionate case for active, meaningful and strong language, the following dictionary, which kicks off with "about (it’s)" and ends with "zero latency" felt stale. Perhaps it's time for a revised and updated edition. For a contemporary take on clichés and jargon, I recommend John Rentoul’s ‘ The Banned List. (Which may become outdated in a few years too. But at least, unlike Watson’s dictionary, I picked that one up at the right time.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Another clever book ruined by whining. I have been well served by weasel words, as have we all. The whole point of weasel words is that you want to avoid saying what you mean. Pointing out that that is their purpose and that it is ethically and grammatically questionable is a little bit like claiming the Pope is a religious zealot. Of course he is - that's his job. Despite the fact that you can't help but picture Don writing the book with a look on his face like someone was waving a turd under hi Another clever book ruined by whining. I have been well served by weasel words, as have we all. The whole point of weasel words is that you want to avoid saying what you mean. Pointing out that that is their purpose and that it is ethically and grammatically questionable is a little bit like claiming the Pope is a religious zealot. Of course he is - that's his job. Despite the fact that you can't help but picture Don writing the book with a look on his face like someone was waving a turd under his nose, it is an erudite and insightful examination of those words that we are quick to dispatch and loathed to receive.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    Not as good as Death Sentence. Some wilful ignorance of the usefulness of some phrases, tied together with bitches about the Howard government (fish:barrel), call centres, Iraq and NLP. Nowhere near as funny (or ire-inducing) as I'd hoped. The misquoting of The Simpsons makes me wonder about the accuracy of the other sources in the book. Disappointing. Not as good as Death Sentence. Some wilful ignorance of the usefulness of some phrases, tied together with bitches about the Howard government (fish:barrel), call centres, Iraq and NLP. Nowhere near as funny (or ire-inducing) as I'd hoped. The misquoting of The Simpsons makes me wonder about the accuracy of the other sources in the book. Disappointing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quigley

    Full of things that give me the shits. Look, at the end of the day, Alexander Downer says, "At the end of the day," a lot. Full of things that give me the shits. Look, at the end of the day, Alexander Downer says, "At the end of the day," a lot.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nancy White

    Occasionally amusing but mostly not the most exciting of books.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leah

  9. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm Walker

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Russell Boag

  12. 4 out of 5

    Craig Griffiths

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bec

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ian Fisk

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rob Donnelly

  16. 5 out of 5

    Indijanto

  17. 5 out of 5

    heidi

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Joyce

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bianca van de Water

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rach

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ben Rowley

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shell McC

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ricky S Milnes

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carmelita

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rob Weedon

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul Faddy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tim Watts

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