Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Jun 22, 2006

The Art of Spelling

I must confess to being disappointed with this book by Marilyn vos Savant; it really wasn't what I was expecting. Why? Because I have the perhaps-unreasonable expectation that someone with an IQ at least 60 points higher than mine ought to be able to formulate better reasons than the ones I already have for learning to spell well (or anything else, for that matter). It just goes to show that intelligence is no guarantee of creativity or even correctness.

I think the real problem with this book is that Ms. vos Savant doesn't come out strongly in favor of any particular idea; she presents a great deal of information that never quite adds up to anything. It's somewhat like the experience of a guided tour of spelling; every so often you'll be presented with a fact that will elicit a semi-interested "Huh", and then you return to your own thoughts and looking at the scenery.

Worse, vos Savant's advice for improving your spelling is extremely concrete and basically identical to what you would do to improve any skill. I don't really recommend the book, as I don't think it's going to present you with anything you didn't already know.

Rating: 1.5

2 comments:

Obsequiosity said...

Any breakdown of Greek and Latin roots there? I had a college class that went into those roots that made me wish they taught it in grade school, if nothing else so everyone would be able to keep the d's and t's in "graduation" and "congratulation" where they belong. ("Congrads!" is one of those nails-on-the-chalkboard things with me.)

Jennifer Snow said...

Not really, although she recommends that you do this yourself; she does more breakedown-by-phoenemes than anything else.