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Book Review – Say What You Mean by Rudolf Flesch

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Title:  Say What You Mean
Author: Rudolf Flesh
Rating: 3 stars

Rudolf DielsI really enjoyed reading this book because I believe in the end, it will make me a better communicator. If you are anything like me, you were taught to follow all of the rules of grammar when writing. The problem is that this is not how we speak, and if we are going to write with the aim of engaging a particular audience, we must know how that audience engages and alter our style.

Enter Rudolf Flesch, a prolific author on written communication from 1946 until his death in 1981. Flesch recommends that in most cases, we write conversationally. That is, we write just like we talk. End your sentence in a preposition, use contractions, and use shorter sentences are just a few examples of how he suggests we do that.

At first I really struggled with this idea. I am one who appreciates language and the proper use of language. However, the turning point for me actually came when I sat the book down and picked up a Greek New Testament to read a passage I was about to teach on. What I saw was nothing new, but I saw it as if it were altogether new! What is it about the Bible that makes it so easy to understand compared to other books that have been written on similar topics? The answer to that is actually very complex, but what I want to focus on is the simple use of language by the authors.

The New Testament was written in a vulgar Greek rather than classical high Greek. The authors often broke all of the formal rules of writing but wrote so plainly that their words have transformed countless hearts. And that is where the rubber and the road meet. I asked myself just one simple question: Do I want my writing (and my speaking for that matter) to be highly regarded for its eloquence? Or do I want it to transform hearts? For me, it’s a no brainer. Write in a manner which engages the heart and soul of the reader and my mission will be accomplished. That is what this book attempts to do. Teach people to write in a conversational manner that draws the reader into the text and facilitates a changed heart as a result. For that, I give it a very worthy three stars.

One thought on “Book Review – Say What You Mean by Rudolf Flesch

  1. Paul Garcone

    My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post truly made my day.I hate grammar!
    Thanks!

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