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Cultish
Cultish: The Secret Language You Didn't Know You Were Using | Amanda Montell
The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power. What makes "cults" so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we're looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to join--and more importantly, stay in--extreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell's argument is that, on some level, it already has . . . Our culture tends to provide pretty lame answers to questions of cult influence, mostly having to do with vague talk of "brainwashing." But the true answer has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. In Cultish, Montell argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hear--and are influenced by--every single day. Through juicy storytelling and cutting original research, Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities "cultish," revealing how they affect followers of groups as notorious as Heaven's Gate, but also how they pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds. Incisive and darkly funny, this enrapturing take on the curious social science of power and belief will make you hear the fanatical language of "cultish" everywhere.
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Kayla.Adriena
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Happy Litsyversary @IamIamIam #5YearGiveaway
Books on my wishlist are Cultish by Amanda Montell or Orwell's Roses by Rebecca Solnit 🎉🎉🎉

IamIamIam 💜💜💜 3h
deeannloso Happy Litsyversary!! 1h
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ReadingRachael
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Pickpick

Written in an unpretentious conversational tone “Cultish” is interesting, informative, and well referenced, with added bits of humour that keep it from feeling too heavy. The central theme of the book is the use of language by cults (and cultish groups) for influence and control. Montell shares how to recognize and question problematic language (for example gaslighting / language that encourages you not to trust yourself.) Really enjoyed this one

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Magpiegem
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I‘ve been waiting eagerly for my audible credit to come so I can get this book on the go. It will be my #booked2022 #aboutacult book.

vivastory Loved this one! 2d
Megabooks Such a great book! 2d
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Booksbymybed
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Pickpick

Back in 2021 I kind of took a dive into some cult documentaries and someone said in one “We talk to our kids about drugs and alcohol, but we don‘t talk to them about cults.” And it really resonated with me as a mom of teenagers. I came across this book by @amanda_montell and found it very interesting.And especially as a linguist by education found the idea of how language and cults work together absolutely fascinating. Son is reading it now

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Veebee
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Pickpick

Interesting insight into how cults manipulate their members into control and obedience through language. Deceptive techniques like thought terminating cliches, loaded language and 'us versus them' language that cult leaders used are mentioned. Many MLM firms, health and fitness clubs and new age gurus also behave like cults.

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vivastory
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Pickpick

In “Cultish“ Amanda Montell examines common linguistic tactics used by both infamous cults (Jim Jones, Scientology, Heaven's Gate) & with people or organizations with cultish tendencies (SoulCycle, mystical Instagram influencers, etc.) Love bombing, loaded language, us vs them, & thought-terminating clichés are the 4 common tools used in order to manipulate people. Cultish dispels ideas of people in cults being “brainwashed“ (in a striking👇

vivastory passage Montell speaks of abuses carried out in the name of cult deprogramming). I greatly appreciate the scope of this book, infused with humor, & balanced with an appreciation of the benefits of certain group activities. Montell is a language scholar, she wishes for the reader to carefully consider the language around us & how it is being used but to also keep in mind that “Too much wariness spoils the most enchanting parts of being a human.“ 2w
Booksnchill Really loved this one on audio as well! 2w
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vivastory @Booksnchill I will keep that in mind 👍 2w
Megabooks Fantastic!! I‘m glad you loved it! Voices is shaping up to be 5⭐️ for me too. Great pairing @monalyisha 👍🏻 2w
vivastory @Megabooks I will definitely be checking out Montell's previous book. I'm glad to hear that about Voices! 2w
monalyisha Thanks @Megabooks! I also enjoyed the audio version, @Booksnchill 📖. 2w
Megabooks @vivastory yes, I read Wordslut in 2020, and it made that year‘s nywd list. 2w
Branwen Oh wow, this looks amazing! I'll have to see if we have it at the library! And that quote from it that you shared is just 💕💕💕 2w
vivastory @Branwen I hope you can find it! I will definitely be recommending it to a lot of people. 2w
Reggie During quarantine, a close friend and I lost contact, but the minute everything opened up we had dinner together and she told me about getting a peloton. And for the next 2 hours I felt like I was at a peloton seminar. We laughed about it and funny enough tonight she sent me a pic of her completing her 400th ride. And then one of her trainers was on DWTS and she would text me to vote for him. Cody!! It seems a bit much at times Lolol. (edited) 2w
vivastory @Reggie Montell talks about Peloton in her section on how fitness has evolved over the years but has still retained certain characteristics. It's funny because while reading her descriptions of people being in a group & responding to a motivational speaker & how they found it uplifting & inspiring, I'm thinking, “This is my worst nightmare.“ 🙃 (edited) 2w
Suet624 This sounds fascinating! Stacked. 2w
readordierachel Excellent review. And with all the quotes you posted, I'm completely sold. This sounds great. 2w
vivastory @readordierachel Thanks! I think you'd like it. Great review of Hamnet. It's been on my TBR shelves for awhile now. Hope to read it soon! 2w
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vivastory
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Leftcoastzen Word 2w
Branwen Wow! 😲 2w
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vivastory
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This section on MLMs is WILD. Some of the organizations in Montell's book are definitely long running scams *cough scientology cough*
#NewYearWhoDis
I loved this quote, "The most important thing to remember is that if something is legitimate, it will stand up to scrutiny."-Steven Hassan (pg 149)
@Megabooks

MicheleinPhilly Have you seen Lula Rich on Amazon Prime? Aside from their fugly ass leggings, they are a criminal mess. 2w
vivastory @MicheleinPhilly Not yet but I definitely plan to this weekend. There's a few documentaries about cults/scam artists mentioned in Montell's book I want to check out. Did you watch Generation Hustle? There's some interesting episodes in it 2w
MicheleinPhilly I have not watched that but will add it to the list. The Way Down on HBO Max is also 🦇💩. 2w
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Megabooks I have watched the LuLaRoe one and Generation Hustle, and both were excellent. I need to go back and finished The Way Down. It‘s good, but I just got distracted with Christmas. So glad you are enjoying this, Scott. I found it really thought-provoking! @MicheleinPhilly did you watch the Heaven‘s Gate one on HBO? I‘m pretty sure Scott is the one who told me about it. I love documentaries! (edited) 2w
MicheleinPhilly @Megabooks I only watched the first episode of the Heaven‘s Gate one. I need to go back to it because my wife finished it during a bout of insomnia. 2w
vivastory @MicheleinPhilly @Megabooks The Heaven's Gate documentary was one of my favorites of last year! Another excellent doc on HBO Max based on a case that Montell references is I Love You, Now Die. Very thought provoking. I had a lot of interesting conversations with my colleagues after watching it. I will def. also add The Way Down to my watch list We're supposed to get a snowstorm Sat, so that'll be perfect weather for a mini-marathon & hot chocolate 2w
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vivastory
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Leftcoastzen 😄 2w
Branwen 😂🤣 2w
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vivastory
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If I didn't have to work tomorrow I'd be starting this one now. Will definitely be starting it tomorrow. Really looking forward to it. Also, this remains one of my favorite covers of '21.
#NewYearWhoDis @Megabooks @monalyisha

Megabooks It is a fantastic cover! I hope you enjoy it. I found it fascinating. Voices is my next print NF. I‘ve been enjoying your list. 👍🏻 2w
DogEaredBooks This was one of my favorite books last year! (She also has a great podcast on Cults too: Sounds like a Cult) 2w
monalyisha Was just telling @Mitch how much I love this cover! 2w
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vivastory @Megabooks I'll be curious to see what you think of Voices From Chernobyl. It's a very different type of nf, but it's one of the most powerful that I've read. It raises interesting, unsettling questions about myth building & the relativty of tragedies. There are passages in it I don't think I'll forget for years. 2w
vivastory @DogEaredBooks Really looking forward to it. I'd heard about the podcast. I will be checking it out afterwards. 2w
vivastory @monalyisha Love this aesthetic (art deco?) Very unusual in cover designs 2w
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Mitch
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Pickpick

Am I having my emotions manipulated, am I enjoying some 'love bombing' , am I using / hearing those thought terminating cliches that Montell describes as being the ultimate conversation closer?! Montell is a fabulously accessible writer - she describes things with wit, humanity and care. She's thoughtful and thought provoking and does to stay focused on the language and not sensational aspects of cultish behaviours. #newyearwhodis

Cosyreader Fantastic writer! Have you read Wordslut? 2w
Mitch @Cosyreader I haven‘t - but I‘ve just bought it! 👍🏼 2w
Mitch Great recommendation @Chelsea.Poole 2w
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Mitch First one of the year and it‘s a win! The book match among fairy gets it spot on third year in a row! @monalyisha 2w
Chelsea.Poole @Mitch a great way to start off the new year 😊 2w
Chelsea.Poole @cosyreader I read Wordslut last year also and 🤩 it was excellent! I plan on reading everything she does from now on. 2w
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IndoorDame
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Clwojick 🥳🥳🥳 2w
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IndoorDame
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Clwojick Such a great match! 2w
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IndoorDame
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Pickpick

This was a soft pick for me. I didn‘t learn anything strictly new, which was disappointing. But Montell made some very interesting connections about language and when ritualistic language is and isn‘t being used coercively.
#Nonfiction2022 #I‘mAnEscapee #PopSugar2022 #PastChallengePromt #Booked2022 #AboutACultOrReligion

Cinfhen Ohhhh, cool use for the #NonFictionChallenge2022 2w
Cinfhen It‘s a year long challenge hosted by @Riveted_Reader_Melissa She has 24 prompts set up on a bingo board and you need to read any nonfiction book you think fits the prompt @Crazeedi im sure Melissa can explain it better and share the board with you, Diane xx 2w
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Riveted_Reader_Melissa @Crazeedi I tagged you in the original post, if you have any questions, let me know. 2w
Crazeedi @Cinfhen thanks Cindy🥰 2w
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Oryx
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Pickpick

Loved this! I learned a lot from this and her other book, Wordslut. Can't wait to see what she writes next.

ShyBookOwl I also loved Wordslut. I'll have to check out this one next! 2w
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Cortg
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Pickpick

I find cults fascinating and I‘m always so curious to learn how people get sucked into them. This book does a good job of explaining how they work and the language behind cults to pull people in.
Added: a picture of my hike today along a short section of the Appalachian Trail. Snowy January. #JumpStart2022 @Clwojick @Lizpixie

cariashley Beautiful pic! 2w
Chelsea.Poole Love this book and this photo. What a great day 🥾 2w
Cortg @cariashley @Chelsea.Poole Thanks! It was a lovely day. 2w
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Mitch
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Just starting part 2 of the tagged book which is a fascinating and highly readable look at how cultish behaviour uses and shapes language to manage opposition. It‘s fascinating!!

CuriousG I'm trying to finish up The Ghost Bride this weekend. #weekendreading @Andrew65 2w
Andrew65 Sounds interesting. (edited) 2w
Andrew65 @CuriousG Can‘t beat a good ghost story. 2w
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Mitch
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Settling in for a hour. 👍🏼
With a fab book and a very snuggly blanket. Saturday nights at their best!

monalyisha I enjoyed this book - and I *LOVE* the cover art! 2w
Chelsea.Poole Perfect winter evening 😊 2w
Mitch @monalyisha I was listening to a podcast with the author and she was very particular about the cover! 2w
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Cinfhen
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Pickpick

So DAMNED good 😊 How someone can make linguistics entertaining, engaging and extremely fascinating is a real talent. A mix of marketing, psychology and sociology mixed with personal stories; Montell shares how word play can alter one‘s mood, mind and habits. I highly recommend this book. #Booked2022 #AboutCultOrReligion #PoP22 #SameAuthorYouReadLastYear #NF22 #QuietAndMeditative Shoutout to @britt_brooke #Top21of21 also my #Doublespin 🎉🎉

julesG Montell definitely has a talent. 2w
TrishB Sounds really interesting 👍🏻 2w
KarenUK Loved Wordslut so definitely going to give this a try….💕 2w
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Cortg I‘m about half way through the audio and have a lengthy drive or two today. Hoping to finish it soon. I find cults so damn intriguing, mostly the why, why do people follow these leaders?! This book is super interesting! 2w
britt_brooke So happy you loved it, too! 🤗 2w
OriginalCyn620 Stacked! 2w
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 2w
Megabooks 👍🏻👍🏻 2w
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Mitch
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#thoughtfulthursday…. Oops it‘s now Friday!

⭐️I‘ve halved my book total goal to focus on some real chunkster at his year.
⭐️Energised
⭐️Just started this recommendation from @Chelsea.Poole and loving her intelligent conversational writing style.

Chelsea.Poole “Energized” is a great word! Hope Cultish works out for you 😊 3w
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WordyForever
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Pickpick

One of the most interesting books I‘ve read lately. Especially the parts about the psychology of why people follow cultish groups. It‘s chiefly about linguistics but also about human nature.

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Cinfhen
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Started listening last night🎧❣️I can already tell it‘s going to be deeply entertaining and completely informative. The power of words, language, how we market & brand & create hysteria.

squirrelbrain I really liked this one… We watched the LuLaRich documentary after this, which was fascinating. I think it was on Amazon Prime. Someone on here told me about it -it‘s about an MLM company selling leggings! 3w
Oryx @squirrelbrain @Cinfhen just finished this one - thought it was great. Also watched that doc Helen, really interesting, and thought of it a lot while reading this book. 3w
Cinfhen Ohhhh, I‘m gonna look for the doc after this read @squirrelbrain @Oryx I‘m also gonna finally listen to this audio 3w
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Megabooks @squirrelbrain I loved that doc too! So interesting, Cindy, especially after reading this book. 3w
Chelsea.Poole Montell was my favorite author from last year. I can‘t wait to see what she does next! 3w
Cinfhen She‘s pretty amazing @Chelsea.Poole @Megabooks and she‘s so young🙌🏻 3w
Cinfhen I‘m excited @Amandajoy it‘s been on my TBR for way to long 3w
squirrelbrain It‘s such a good doc isn‘t it?! @Oryx @Megabooks In fact, Meg, I think it was probably you who put it on my radar…. 3w
WordyForever I just finished this, it is so good. I‘ve added Wordslut to my list as well, she‘s a great writer 3w
Megabooks @squirrelbrain probably so. 😂 I tend to crow a lot about things I enjoy! 😂 3w
Cinfhen Just finished too @WordyForever it was excellent!!! And wordslut was also wonderful. She‘s great at making linguistics entertaining 🙌🏻 3w
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Cortg
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Six days into the New Year and I‘m making pretty good progress! 2 books completed and moving along in 2 others. I‘m not counting the amount of time (I‘m a sloooow reader) just trying to read more often when I have some downtime! #Jumpstart2022 @Clwojick @Lizpixie

Clwojick You‘re crushing it!! ❤️ 3w
Lizpixie Nice job!🙌 3w
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DrLReads
Pickpick

A fascinating pop-academic read. Looking forward to reading more from Montell!

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Mitch
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So this is my planned January reading - all thanks to @Chelsea.Poole and the fabulous @monalyisha for organising #newyearwhodis 🎉

monalyisha I like your stack! Can‘t wait to read your reviews. ✨ Happy 2022! 🎉📚 3w
Mitch @monalyisha Happy 2022 - May it be filled with love and joy ( and oodles of good books!) 3w
Chelsea.Poole Hope you enjoy these three — all very different too! 3w
Mitch @Chelsea.Poole im starting with Cultish 👍🏼 3w
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Reagan
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Pickpick

Loved it! I adored Wordslut so it didn‘t come as a big surprise that I also loved Cultish. I loved reading about the role of language and how cults use it to their advantage. I would also read a whole book on cult language and mlms.

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Reagan
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Just take a load off and relax, get your mind off the pandemic with a nice book about cults. And words.

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Mitch
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The podcast that accompanies the book!

https://www.soundslikeacult.com

vivastory Thanks! I will check this out when I read the book. It sounds fascinating! 4w
Addison_Reads I loved this book. I'm not a big podcast listener, but I'll definitely have to check this one out. 4w
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vivastory
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My B&N 50% off haul from yesterday. I don't remember the last time they were that busy. It was a good day 📚📚

Ahw06 50% off??? I need to check the sale out! 4w
vivastory @Ahw06 50% off ALL hardcovers! The sale was supposed to end last night, but I think it has been extended until tonight 4w
Ahw06 @vivastory thank you for letting me know! I‘ll check it out now 😊 4w
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Megabooks Fantastic choices! I hope you enjoy Bourdain and Cultish. 👍🏻 4w
vivastory @Megabooks I'm really looking forward to both of them! I was also gifted Matrix, so I'm set for #NYWD 4w
Mitch Cultish is next up for me…. Have you listened to her podcast? 4w
DGRachel I wasn‘t going to go, but there‘s a book I want and Mom wants one, so WTH. I‘m going to brave the insanity after dinner. 4w
vivastory @Mitch I wasn't aware that she had a podcast. I will def check that out. Thanks! 4w
vivastory @DGRachel The line yesterday was backed up all the way to the magazines. I took my pile of books to the cafe where there were only TWO people in line, bought an iced tea & paid for my books there 😂 4w
DGRachel Smart! I may steal that idea if I need to. LOL Mildly irritated that I bought the special edition of Dracula the day you first posted about it, though. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 4w
Mitch @DGRachel I wasn‘t going to go either - but who can ignore 50% off every hardback! Enjoy and let us know your treasure ♥️ 4w
vivastory @DGRachel I'm looking forward to seeing what you pick up! That is disappointing about the special edition of Dracula. 4w
TrishB I‘m really looking at that version of Dracula- it looks gorgeous. 4w
vivastory @TrishB If you haven't seen them, here's a link to pics of the edges & a few of the illustrations:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dracula-bram-stoker/1139228750?ean=978145494421...
4w
Kayla.Adriena We went today and I couldn't find Cultish anywhere! Still a great sale though! I don't remember B & N doing this before! 4w
ncsufoxes I‘m jealous you found Cultish. It was sold out at both B&N near me. 4w
Branwen I think I may have to go back and pick up that Dracula edition tomorrow...it's so gorgeous and I can't stop thinking about it! 🙈 I'm a huge sucker for books with designs on the page edges! 4w
vivastory @Branwen You should definitely do it. It's wonderful. Gorey & Dracula are a match made in heaven! Carpe Librum! 4w
LeahBergen I was wondering if you‘d get that new Dracula! 👏🏻👏🏻 4w
vivastory @LeahBergen I couldn't resist at the price🧛‍♂️ 4w
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rather_be_reading
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Book 252

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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

I spent yesterday playing Stardew Valley and listening to the tagged book.

I've read a few other cult books recently, but this book is by far my favorite of them all. The way the author dissects how language plays a key role in cults, and in our society, was fascinating to me. This book is well researched, easy to follow, and will give you a new insight into why people get caught up in cults.

Karisa Stardew is a great game to play while listening to an audiobook! So addicting! :D 2mo
Kenyazero A relaxing game and a not so relaxing book! 2mo
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KateD1
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Mehso-so

I thought that the idea behind this book was great. Cults are very nuanced, especially in this day and age. However, she uses an incredible amount of words I need a dictionary to look up (and heavily rely on context clues). #cultish #cult #nonfiction

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SeaToSkyes
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Pickpick

This book was such a great and interesting read. It's a mix of about half of things I already knew about and half I had no clue. So many things nowadays can be considered “cultish“; it's almost inescapable. Especially the MLMs...I steer clear of those; those (mostly) ladies are suspish!

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britt_reads
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First up for #NFNovember and I‘m already intrigued!

ElizaMarie ooo it looks super great! I am stacking it to see remember to look into it. 3mo
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caitlin.reads.books
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Pickpick

I finished this one recently and found it very interesting! I‘m fascinated by cults like so many people and this book really gave me a lot to think about. So much of cultish language is everywhere! Must read for anyone interested in cults and how they have so much influence over people. 4⭐️

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Mdion1993
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Mehso-so

Not even non-fiction can make cults sound boring, but what takes Cultish to the next level is Montell‘s consideration of “cultish” groups hiding in plain sight - MLMs, fitness gyms and SoulCycle, even Instagram itself. I think Montell‘s claim that language is a cult‘s most powerful weapon is a bit of a stretch (there‘s more to it, and of course a linguist would focus on verbiage), but reading about these groups is enough to keep me interested.

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Victoriahoperose
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Pickpick

I thought this book was so interesting. I loved how it incorporated so many instances of cult mentality from MLMs to exercise regimes to Scientology. I thought the author did a great job of keeping it interesting because she kept it brief enough that you don‘t lose interest but gave enough information that you got a real taste of the different cult type beliefs that are floating around.

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akfreeborn
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Pickpick

This was an awesome book about the power of language in cult and cult like groups. It tackles multilevel marketing, suicide cults, CrossFit, Scientology and all kinds of things you might not think you are sucked into but perhaps you are. I highly recommend this one!

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Melismatic
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Pickpick

This was a quick read so I wouldn‘t call it very in-depth — more like an overview of different modern cults & “cult adjacent” and the language they use to draw people in. It was definitely interesting and presented in an easily understandable way.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Awesome decorations!!! ☠️👻🎃 3mo
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vlwelser
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Pickpick

I liked this but I definitely preferred WordSlut. And this#audiobook is not read by the author so it wasn't nearly as gleeful as her other book. It is a super interesting look at the language of cults and groups like AmWay and SoulCycle.

#BirthdayBash @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3mo
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Mitch
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Pre order came in today. Love the idea of this close look at how language is used by cults

squirrelbrain I just listened to this a couple of weeks ago -fascinating! 3mo
LitStephanie I look forward to your review! 3mo
Mitch @squirrelbrain 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 3mo
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Mitch @LitStephanie 👍🏼 3mo
squirrelbrain Thanks for your cute card Mitch - it arrived today. I‘m not sure if it‘s been on a bit of a walkabout as the postcode was NG1 rather than HG1. 🤷‍♀️ 3mo
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monalyisha
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Pickpick

Investigates the language used by cults & other cultish groups (from Scientology, to Heaven‘s Gate, to Mary Kay, to SoulCycle, to social media influencers) to achieve & maintain sway. One of the most interesting points to me is Montell‘s explanation of why people join cultish groups. It‘s not just trauma or foolishness that makes people vulnerable; it‘s optimism, big dreams, & the desire for radical change.

A bit too long but it held my interest!

Lindy I‘ve already got my name on the hold list for this. Thanks for solidifying my interest. 👍 3mo
MallenNC I also have this on hold and am looking forward to reading it! 3mo
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Julsmarshall
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Pickpick

So compelling! Interesting, raw, honest. Highly recommend! #audio

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Julsmarshall
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akfreeborn
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This is my ambitious group of books I want to read this month. It‘s a little thin on nonfiction but I am looking forward to Cultish.

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squirrelbrain
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Pickpick

Another fascinating book from this author, about words and linguistics.

I don‘t think that this was *quite* as good as Wordslut; Montell tried to cover too broad a range of both cults (Scientology) and ‘cultish‘ organisations (CrossFit and SoulCycle) so some of the message was lost. I‘d have preferred concentration on one or the other. For example, there was a section on QAnon that really felt tacked on and I‘d have liked to know more about it.

Megabooks I‘m not sure if this is available over there, but it‘s a great explanation of Q. 4mo
squirrelbrain Thanks @Megabooks - I‘ve stacked it, it‘s not on Scribd (yet) but it is on Audible so I might use a credit sometime…. 4mo
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Hooked_on_books
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Pickpick

In this fascinating and fun book, linguist Montell explores the language of cults, be they the dangerous suicide-pact variety or programs with dedicated followers like CrossFit. I thoroughly enjoyed both the content and the writing.

squirrelbrain I have this bookmarked on Scribd - need to get to it soon (like so many other books though!) 😁 4mo
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Lchnessmnstr
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Jas16
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Pickpick

This look at the manipulative language used by cults is very bit as fascinating as everyone keeps saying. I am adding Wordslut to library holds immediately.

KathyWheeler I hope you like Wordslut. I thought it was great. 4mo
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lowellette
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Pickpick

Montell looks at the language cults and cult-like groups use, from Waco and Scientology to Trump and Peloton. She also gives tips on language and markers to look out for. Very of-the-moment.