In Grammar for the Soul Lawrence Weinstein shows that simple grammar such as syntax and punctuation can be utilized as tools for change and growth, just as yoga and the martial arts are used for self-improvement. He compares the realm of grammar to a kind of psycho-social gymnasium, where—instead of weights, a treadmill, mats, and a balance beam—one finds active verbs, passive verbs, periods, apostrophes, dashes, and a thousand other pieces of linguistic equipment, each of which, when properly deployed, can provide exercise for the spirit.
Weinstein offers scores of connections between grammar and well-being, some pronounced, others subtle. "Conceivably," he writes, "every attribute a person might desire—from decisiveness in an emergency, to trust and generosity and the ability to tolerate uncertainty—stands to benefit from changes in one’s verbal conduct.
With a nod to linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf, Weinstein demonstrates how language molds our thinking and how changing the language we use can change our lives. His prose is packed with witty anecdotes and clear examples, as well as with enlightening metaphors like this: "There are people who would just as soon colonize a foreign nation as they would ‘colon-ize’ a sentence. To them, that two-pointed mark is a double-barreled shotgun; they keep it locked away."
Audiences running the gamut—from writers, teachers, and students, to all those interested in improving their personal and professional lives—are sure to be both educated and entertained
Grammar for the Soul is an entirely fresh, amusing, and authentic approach to spirituality. Expressing ourselves through language creates the way that we sculpt reality...and allow ourselves to be sculpted by it. If you read just one book this year, let this be the one. I loved it!
—Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author, Your Soul's Compass and Minding the Body, Mending the Mind
This book is a true gem - finely honed, deeply reflective, and lit from within. It brought the wonder of language back to me, but that was only the beginning. Weinstein's mini-essays are sensual, provocative, filled with stunning new insights about turning written expression into a transformational quest. He demonstrates how any humble paragraph, when blessed with exquisite attention, can become a perfect prayer.
—Raphael Cushnir, author, Unconditional Bliss, How Now, and The One Thing Holding You Back
Lawrence Weinstein confirms what we literary types have always known in our hearts: grammar equals virtue.
—Anne Fadiman, author, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
An enlightening, must-read for writers, Larry Weinstein's Grammar for the Soul is a fascinating exploration of the secret life of language.
—Rebecca Shafir, author, The Zen of Listening
Now that we know we create our own reality with our words and thoughts, Lawrence Weinstein offers us the perfect guidebook for precise and powerful creating. As a writer, teacher and lover of language, I LOVED this book!
—Jan Phillips, author, The Art of Original Thinking: The Making of a Thought Leader
In Grammar for the Soul, Weinstein coaches us not only on how to write, but on how to live. With wit, mischief, and wisdom, he shows us the inner workings of the English language so we can unlock our best selves. Strunk and White, move over!
—Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, scholar, Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco; author, Kabbalah: A Love Story