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“Cultish: the language of fanaticism” by Amanda Montell

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Cultish: the language of fanaticism

Amanda Montell
Published: 2021
Age Range: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction

Do you have a morbid fascination with cults? Do you often wonder how someone can give up their whole personalities to what appears to be something crazy as an outsider? Are you worried it could happen to you? If so, definitely check out Amanda Montell’s compelling nonfiction work, “Cultish”. Montell breaks down cultish language by using real examples and pulling from her expansive knowledge of language, syntax, and the psychology that drives it all. Not only does Montell put the focus on recognizable cults, like Jonestown and Scientology, she also pulls from more “cultish” organizations and crazes from the past twenty years. Examining the language used in MLM’s, “cult” exercise, and even corporate culture, Montell demonstrates what is “cultish” language, and how to spot it.

I wasn’t sure I would actually enjoy this book, only because I DO have a morbid curiosity surrounding cults, but I had heard this book delves into the language of cults and less into their actual workings or specific stories and examples. However I am so happy I picked up this book, it is so interesting reading about how seemingly “normal” people can be swept up in something horrifying just because of the language used against them. Montell using examples like MLM’s and modern capitalism and corporate culture really highlights how everyone, regardless of if they live in a cult, can be influenced to follow something with a cult-like fervor.