Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

by

, reviewed, audiobooks, 2021, american, american, read-in-2021, may-2022, non-fic-to-read, recommended-to-me, 2021-summer-reading-guide, audiobook, 2022, non-fiction, 2021-reads, cult, read-2021, caught-my-eye, Nonfiction, Audiobook, Psychology, History, Sociology, Religion, Crime, Humanities

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 flimsy 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.

Title:Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780062993151
Format Type:

    Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism Reviews

  • Petra hugged a guy who got Covid next day. Oh dear

    The book is even more about the cults than the language they use. I don't know if there is a person left alive who actually needs scientology explaining to them so it comes across as filler. I would c...

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    If you don't normally pick up non fiction books... this might be for you!I really enjoyed this book. The talks about scientology, MLMs, CrossFit... but I don't think that the focus was on "the languag...

  • Rhiannon Johnson

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.I've been recommending this book to everyone. I learned so much and I keep thinking about it--even weeks after finish...

  • Julie

    Cultish- The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell is a 2021 Harper Wave Publication. I have not read, ‘Wordslut’, so this is my first experience with Amanda Montell. As a person with a genuine...

  • K.J. Charles

    Interesting dive into how cults are primarily language-driven, and how language both draws us in and keeps us in. Particularly good on Internet cults (QAnon) and on the things she calls cult*ish*, lik...

  • BlackOxford

    Emancipate Yourselves From Mental SlaveryBob Marley had some sensible universal advice: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.” Jesus had been slightly more explicit when he said, “The trut...

  • Andrea Bartz

    Witty, slick, and self-assured, CULTISH will change the way you view the interplay between language and power. Yes, it sparkles with muscular prose and snappy asides, but this book's true wizardry is ...

  • Jossi

    This book is terrible, and I strongly advise not reading it. It seems to be an awful combination of poor writing and insufficient editing. As some other reviewers have written, it's all over the place...

  • Denise Johnson

    A page-turner! This book is important. Montell breaks down the psychosocial influences that entice and reward people for joining communities that promise enlightenment and self-improvement. While most...

  • Ashley Rossetto

    I loved this book! Montell writes in a language that is both scientific but accessible to someone like me, a complete lay person who has no background in anything discussed within the book. As someone...