Summary of Talk Normal

Stop the Business Speak, Jargon and Waffle

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Talk Normal book summary
Journalist Tim Phillips lobbies for good grammar, clear language and independent thinking.


7 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

6 Style


Journalist Tim Phillips prides himself on opposing gobbledygook – words that mean nothing and expressions that obscure meaning. He takes up the cudgel against jargon, “business speak” and perplexing political phrasemaking. He’s a keen observer, but his book is not a narrative; it’s a repurposing – with some honing – of his blog posts. Some of the short chapters are hilarious, some are insightful and some are worth skipping altogether. Phillips’s tone is never genteel, and given the jumpy, episodic nature of the material, you might not work up quite as much umbrage as he does. But you might learn something about English and, if you love language and grammar, getAbstract thinks you will be amused by his well-meaning rants.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How corporate obfuscation, marketing nonsense and political phrasemaking degrade the spoken and written word
  • How to speak and write better


Words have meaning, and their meaning is under constant attack from governments, politicians, PR spokespeople and anyone trying to sell you anything, from a used car to a new war. Double-talk and nonsense phrases – like “core values” – become common parlance, and when...
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About the Author

Tom Phillips is a freelance journalist who writes the blog Talk Normal. He is also a co-author of the best-selling book Scoring Points.

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