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About the book
  • Published: 2 November 2015
  • ISBN: 9780857983442
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $29.99

Worst Words

A compendium of contemporary cant, gibberish and jargon




Don Watson - with his trademark wit and wisdom - says enough already! The English language is complex and evolving, and can win minds, hearts and nations. Why don't we try using it?

Don Watson - with his trademark wit and wisdom - says enough already! The English language is complex and evolving, and can win minds, hearts and nations. Why don't we try using it?

What is ‘cluster deployment’, and how can you be sure to ‘engage multiple stakeholders through your strategic delivery channel’? What’s the difference between ‘backcasting’ and ‘backfilling’ and could it ever matter?

The language of business and work grows ever more depleted, barren and senseless. Politicians hide in thickets of endless repeated messages, platitudes and clichés, or behind such shameless Newspeak as ‘operational matters’. The thing is viral: leaping from corporate windows of opportunity, it has taken hold in universities and schools, the public service, hospitals, local councils, fire brigades, the weather bureau. (What is the difference between rain and a rain event?)

Don Watson returns to the follies he described in Death Sentence and Weasel Words. With his trademark management-jargon mockery, he will make you cringe and laugh and possibly die of shame. But above all he will ask you to resist: to fight in the fields and in the streets – and in the offices and on the internet - and never surrender.

  • Pub date: 2 November 2015
  • ISBN: 9780857983442
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $29.99

About the Author

Don Watson

Don Watson's books, articles and essays have been widely acclaimed. His bestselling titles include Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: Paul Keating Prime Minister, which won the Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year, Death Sentence, which won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year, Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words, and American Journeys, which won The Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Book of the Year, the inaugural Indie Award for Non-Fiction and the Walkley Non-Fiction Award. In 2010 Don was awarded the Phillip Hodgins Memorial Medal for Australian Literature. Since 2003 his website weaselwords.com.au has been documenting the viral spread of management-speak and the decline of public language. His critically acclaimed 2014 book The Bush recently won the Indie Book of the Year and the NSW Premier's Literary Award.

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Praise for Worst Words

“A brilliant book.”

Alan Jones, 2GB

“I did find much to enjoy”

Stephen Romei, The Australian

“For Watson, bad language isn't simply an editor's or writing teacher's problem with slack or inappropriate diction. It's a political problem; it's the ubiquity of things such as obfuscation, bad faith, fear-mongering, and ideological distortion on the part of people in authority, whether CEOs or politicians. (When is a terrorist not a terrorist?) Worst Words will improve the writing of whoever reads it — every corporate tearoom should have one”

Owen Richardson, The Age


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