The author (an indefatigable reader, a long-retired attorney and co-founder of roughly 100 still-operating companies and author of seven books (www.leeglovett.com) created this book over a span of 50+ years, extracting words from reading a book or so a week, often classics. There is a surprising amount of overlap among the words that are so artfully employed by The Great Writers. You might say that these are “the elevated words most commonly used by the educated”, perhaps because they read each other’s work. Yet, most of us won’t know, much less learn, these “words of the educated”, not unless we make an overt effort to find them and learn them. In addition, sensing his own inadequacies, the author added “facts that are embarrassing not to now”. So, there are seven reasons to read and master this book:
(1) Better vocabularies are widely equated with more intelligence; yet, few of us do anything much to augment or distinguish our vocabularies.
(2) Dictionaries are too big to memorize, and we have no idea which words to learn. (All dictionaries are not equal, and definitions offer vary disturbingly. Online searches often pull up weak or even misleading definitions. The author prefers the widely acclaimed Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford Unabridged [20 volume] Dictionary.)
(3) Most vocabulary books contain words that are too simple and they generally offer a only a few hundred to 1,000 or so words versus the 5,000 entries that are offered in this book.
(4) The words herein are those used by some of history’s greatest classical and contemporary writers. (However, some VERY SIMPLE words are included, too, for various reasons: As signposts to direct the reader to elevated synonyms, antonyms, confusingly similar words and/or to highlight the correct pronunciation; a classic example of common miss-pronunciation is “divisive”. It is NOT “dih-VIE-sive”, but, rather, “dih-VIH-sive”. The mistake is becoming so prevalent, that common usage may eventually force the inclusion of both pronunciations even in higher caliber dictionaries, but, until then, let’s pronounce it correctly.)
(5) The definitions herein present “families” of words with elevated synonyms, antonyms and distinguish confusingly similar words – going far beyond the helpful but simplistic offerings so often produced by Google searches.
(6) This book offers many KEY FACTS that most of us are embarrassed not to know, but do not know. These facts are a joy to learn and are fun to use as party games, being far more academic than the run-of-the-mill Trivial Pursuits questions. Our children and grandchildren need to know this data; and we-parents need it for career advancement and, most importantly, for self-respect – plus, it’s flat-fun to learn such facts. Why these rudimentary and fascinating facts aren’t taught in school is beyond this writer’s ken.
(7) Finally, as early as age thirty, we need to begin to expand our learning skills (as they wane fast, once we leave school); even that early, we need to begin to fight memory loss. This book offers a life-long memory exercise program. In paperback, this book is approximately 350 pages, about 300 pages of which is comprised of word-definitions and key facts. The author recommends that, after making a solid effort to memorize all of the entries once, the book be reviewed at the rate of 1/50th (about six pages) per week, indefinitely. Once the reader has learned each page once, the review should take only 15 minutes or so per page. This can make a rewarding, brief memory exercise right before the night’s sleep. Indeed, if we would fight memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other mind-related aging problems, we need to exercise our mind-muscles every day, and memorization, and active use of what we learn, are marvelously healing methods of “feeding our minds” and delaying and even mitigating the issues of senescence. Instead of acquiescing to the ongoing literal shrinking of our brain-mass (a medical fact) and the brain cells responsible for memory, why not FIGHT these attritions? Rather than retreat, retreat, retreat, as is the wont of age, let us charge, charge and, then, charge some more. You may remember the beloved poet, song-writer Bob Dylan (“The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind”), who sagaciously admonished, “Rage, rage, rage, against the dying of the light.” Now, read this book – and smile as you feed your minds with nourishing and valuable data.