Jay Heinrichs new book follows his first, Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Three Rivers, 2007). Word Hero is a colorful paperback original with a sense of humor and its own website.
Heinrichs also publishes an impressive language blog, Figarospeech.com.
For teens working to become better speakers and writers, whether for debate team, forensics, mock trial, or any number of other activities, this book is an effective tool which also aims to entertain.
HEINRICHS, Jay. Word Hero: A Fiendishly Clever Guide to Crafting Line that Get Laughs, Go Viral, and Live Forever. 352p. Three Rivers. 2011. pap. $14. ISBN 978-0-307-71636-1. LC number unavailable.
Adult/High School–Heinrichs’ book teaches students of rhetoric and English how to use onomatopoeia, alliteration, hyperbole, and just about every other trick. Filled with references from popular culture (think Glee’s Sue Sylvester, Yogi Berra, Good Night, Moon, Harry Potter, and Jon Stewart), the example-rich chapters are followed by exercises to help readers integrate the various techniques into their writing and speech making. One technique Heinrichs recommends is using the “Mad Libs” approach to writing – take a memorable sentence or phrase and plug in your own words to create a new, equally memorable sentence or phrase. The appendixes are extremely valuable, listing the various tools, when to use them, and showing how they’re used throughout the book. This will be of interest to readers on debate teams or in creative-writing classes, as well as to anyone needing a few pointers to make their speech stand out. For anyone fascinated by fun, fantastic, and frivolous words, or for those who want to give speeches where the susurration of their words causes listeners’ hearts to thud, this is the book.–Laura Pearle, Venn Consultants, Carmel, NY