Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism | Review

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

By: Amanda Montell

Cults have always been fascinating because most people are thinking how anyone could be gullible enough to fall for any of that. It’s usually a “that could never happen to me” attitude met with “I can’t look away no matter how horrid the details are” point of view. In Cultish, Montell explains the origin of the word “cult” and how the meaning of words have the power to make people do things that give others the impression that they are “brainwashed”.

While cults aren’t always deadly (i.e. Jonestown) or fraudulent (i.e. Amway), they usually become increasingly popular by developing a secret language with abbreviations, mantras, and new definitions of words that are already in our vocabulary. While the simple use of words may seem like a minor instrument in orchestrating a cult (and cult-like groups like MLMs and fitness clubs), this book has a great way of detailing how words and their delivery shape our beliefs.

I read this faster than an MLM “coach” would tell anyone that they are not a pyramid scheme. It was informative while also actually being fun to read. While there are tough and necessary topics touched on like suicide and abuse, it provides witty commentary and personal stories for balance. It has me thinking about conversations in a different way. Pick this book up if you’ve ever been called a #bossbabe, binge watch Netflix documentaries, or just curious to see if (and how) it could happen to you.

Review by: DeKeshia Horne



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