Extended Audio Sample

Download The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us Audiobook, by James W. Pennebaker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (608 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James W. Pennebaker Narrator: Robert Fass Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9781452676807
Regular Price: $20.49 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

We spend our lives communicating. In the last fifty years, we've zoomed through radically different forms of communication, from typewriters to tablet computers, text messages to tweets. We generate more and more words with each passing day. Hiding in that deluge of language are amazing insights into who we are, how we think, and what we feel.In The Secret Life of Pronouns, social psychologist and language expert James W. Pennebaker uses his groundbreaking research in computational linguistics-in essence, counting the frequency of words we use-to show that our language carries secrets about our feelings, our self-concept, and our social intelligence. Our most forgettable words, such as pronouns and prepositions, can be the most revealing: their patterns are as distinctive as fingerprints. Using innovative analytic techniques, Pennebaker X-rays everything from Craigslist advertisements to the Federalist Papers-or your own writing, in quizzes you can take yourself-to yield unexpected insights. Who would have predicted that the high school student who uses too many verbs in her college admissions essay is likely to make lower grades in college? Or that a world leader's use of pronouns could reliably presage whether he led his country into war? You'll learn why it's bad when politicians use "we" instead of "I," what Lady Gaga and William Butler Yeats have in common, and how Ebenezer Scrooge's syntax hints at his self-deception and repressed emotion. Barack Obama, Sylvia Plath, and King Lear are among the figures who make cameo appearances in this sprightly, surprising tour of what our words are saying-whether we mean them to or not. Download and start listening now!

BK_TANT_002406

Quotes & Awards

  • “Penetrating…lively and accessible.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • A comprehensive investigation of how our words . . . reveal important insights about our behavior, emotions and personalities. Kirkus
  • “Pennebaker’s take on the unexpected importance of throw-away words is the kind of fun pop linguistics [fans] devour.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator Robert Fass guides the listener through the absorbing material with a judicious use of tonal variation, which keeps his delivery fresh.”

    AudioFile

  • “A comprehensive investigation of how our words…reveal important insights about our behavior, emotions, and personalities.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karla | 2/14/2014

    " It blew my mind when I learned about Dr. Pennebaker's insights on how our use of words reflect our psychological states. I don't like to think that someone you have never met can figure you out just by analyzing one of your writing samples. On the other hand, I love the idea of being able to figure out someone else just by analyzing a sample of his or her writing. Nevertheless, I became bored by his repetition of some of the main concepts and had to take breaks while reading. I recommend this book to anyone interested in the relationship between language and psychology. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krista Stevens | 2/5/2014

    " Not just for grammar geeks - we reveal far more than we realize by our word choices - even the smallest one such as articles (a, an, the) and I vs. we. Great political analysis as well as psychological interpretations from anything from emails to Craig's List postings. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brendan | 2/3/2014

    " interesting, thoughtful, but woefully dry. A few hundred pages of statistics will do that to you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 1/31/2014

    " Wait until you see his online introduction to psychology...! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Salome | 1/24/2014

    " stimulating read and lots to ponder over "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Colleen | 1/19/2014

    " Wonderful book that really makes you think about the smallest of words. Pennebaker, a behavioral psychologist, has spent years studing how the language we use reflects our emotional states. His findings, that what he calls function or stealth words, words like; the, and, but, is, was, over, before,I, and we are the one that revile much about our emotional states and how we see ourselves and each other. Pennebaker presents all this in a lively writing style that stays free of jargon. For those of you who loved "The Tipping Point" or "Freakonomics" this is your next book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Allison | 1/15/2014

    " I love linguistics. This book wasn't completely about that but rather the psychology of the words we use. This book is about what our words choices say about us, says about our age, gender, class, education or power level. Interesting stuff but most of it was said in the first two chapters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jianna Taylor | 1/12/2014

    " An interesting look at how and what words we use shape who we are and are shaped by who we are "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 jko | 1/12/2014

    " didn't finish this book because i ran out of time. the idea that we so reveal personality traits through our humble lingual workhorses, like articles and pronouns, is quite interesting. perhaps a revisit further down the road.... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emily | 1/5/2014

    " I couldn't get into this book. Maybe I just wasn't it the right mood, or maybe the statistical analysis was over my head. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rob | 12/27/2013

    " I wanted to like this book, but it disappointed. It runs through the research, but at the end of the day it's all pretty intuitive. the book doesn't share anything that you wouldn't expect. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monique | 12/16/2013

    " I am a word nerd so I was intrigued by this book. It's not so much linguistics (which is what I had in mind), but it was still a pretty decent read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nada | 12/1/2013

    " Well it's certainly a new perspective. I'd say he's taken it too far with linguistics though. There's surely a meaning behind your words that go deep down to your psyche but I the writer dismissed other factors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Guna | 11/30/2013

    " Have you ever wondered what our words say about us? Or what politicians' words say about them? This is a very interesting book which explains the statistical analysis of our word usage. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aditi Prabhu | 10/25/2013

    " A quirky idea, but not a particularly compelling read as far as pop psych books go. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca | 10/11/2013

    " It was my fault, not its, that this statistics-heavy book failed repeatedly to rise to the top of my summer reading stack. I'll try again when it's cold outside. (I still love the witty cover!) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sara | 9/6/2013

    " Maybe I'll go back to this but I just can't get through it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rachel | 3/25/2013

    " I debated between 2 and 3 stars. It wasn't bad, but it didn't need to be 300 pages. Got a little boring at times. The concepts are fun and interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Polley | 8/19/2012

    " A great read about what the frequent use of pronouns, first or third, say about us. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

James W. Pennebaker is a social psychologist whose research focuses on the relationship between natural language use, health, and social behavior. Throughout his career, he has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies for work in his field. His articles have been published in academic journals, and his books include Opening Up, Writing to Heal, and The Psychology of Physical Symptoms. He is currently the centennial liberal arts professor and chair of the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

About the Narrator

Robert Fass is a veteran actor and seven-time nominee for the prestigious Audie Award, winning in 2011 and 2013. He is equally at home in a wide variety of styles, genres, characters, and dialects and has earned multiple Earphones Awards, including one for his narration of Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name, which was named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Audiobooks of 2011. He has given voice to modern and classic fiction writers alike, including Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Isaac Asimov, Jeffrey Deaver, and John Steinbeck, as well as to nonfiction works in history, memoir, health, journalism, and business.