Cultish: The Language of FanaticismCultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the downsides to finding a free copy of a book you want to read in the public library is that there can be a wait list, and during those weeks of waiting, you can build up some high expectations for a book you probably wouldn’t have approached with the same level of expectation had you simply paid for the damned thing. The same goes for putting yourself on a wait list to purchase an unreleased book, of course. It’s all about the waiting and the building expectations.

I can get REALLY NERDY about linguistics. And understanding one of the more rubber-necking weirdnesses of human nature–cults, or cult-like social interactions–in terms of language had my inner philosopher checking the “wait time” on the library app more than once.

I guess my one real disappointment is that this is a book for a wide audience, not linguists or philosophers or people who like a more high-brow analytical approach. I kept thinking, “Is this her doctoral dissertation? No, not enough linguistic analysis. Wonder if I can find her doctoral dissertation?”

That said, lots of examples, plenty to chew on from different spheres of life. A good argument over all that what we shudder at and call “culty” is just a strong manifestation of basic human social instincts. Very readable.

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