28 April 2014

On Buffett's rhetoric

Allow me to quote some short passages from How to do folksy like Warren Buffett, by Sam Leith, author of You Talkin’ to Me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama, published in the FT on 28 April:
What is it that makes people hang on Mr Buffett’s every word? ... You don’t have to be invested in his world, so to speak, to be captivated by his speaking and writing styles.
We often associate “rhetoric” with high-flown or ornate language, but plain or folksy speaking is generally more effective. ... Speaking pompously or in jargon ... betrays the anxiety that if your thoughts are easily understood they will be exposed as banal.
Two things in particular make the plain style sing for him. He tells stories and he uses metaphors.

His use of storytelling and metaphor means that even when Mr Buffett is talking about something as complex, impersonal and abstract as finance, they allow him to make it sound simple, human and concrete.

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