New York (June 30, 2020) – Today, author and communication professor Helio Fred Garcia released his new book Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It.
Words on Fire is about the power of communication to do great harm, and how civic leaders and engaged citizens can hold leaders accountable to prevent such harm.
“Words on Fire serves as a guiding light during this dark moment in our history,” said Gold Star Parent Khizr Khan. “During this time of pervasive rhetoric of hate and division in our blessed country, at a time when such original analyses and solutions are scarce, every citizen should read this book if we are to save our democracy.”
The book details President Donald Trump’s increasingly dangerous rhetoric, from his campaign through the first 2 ½ years in office, and how some lone wolves were motivated by that rhetoric to commit violence.
“In my teaching and research, I study patterns: patterns that help leaders enhance competitive advantage, build trust and loyalty, and change the world for the better. I also note patterns that predictably, even if unintentionally, lead to hurt, to harm, and to violence,” said Garcia. “In reflecting on the President’s language, I noticed a pattern: He was using the very same rhetorical techniques that had preceded previous mass murders, including genocides. I worried that, left unchecked, he would continue, with increasingly dire consequences.”
Words on Fire opens by documenting the history of incendiary rhetoric and identifies twelve forms of communication that historically precedes acts of violence up to and including genocide. President Trump uses all twelve forms. The book closes with a call to action: We can learn the lessons of today to prepare for tomorrow, to help civic leaders, engaged citizens, journalists, and public officials recognize the phenomenon and take steps to hold other leaders accountable in the future when they use such language.
About the Author
Garcia is the founder and president of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group. He teaches leadership, ethics, crisis management, and communication at New York University and Columbia University. For more than 35 years, he has personally coached more than 400 Fortune 500 CEOs, plus thousands of other high-profile individuals in other complex fields. He is the author of four prior books on communication, language, reputation, and trust.
Logos Consulting Group, LLC