Good read: What pronouns say about politicians

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David Brooks looks at James Pennebaker’s new book, The Secret Life of Pronouns — which studies how people use words like “I,” “me,” and “mine” — and concludes that “when people are feeling confident, they are focused on the task at hand, not on themselves. High status, confident people use fewer ‘I’ words, not more.”

Pennebaker analyzed the Nixon tapes. Nixon used few ‘I’ words early in his presidency, but used many more after the Watergate scandal ravaged his self-confidence. Rudy Giuliani used few ‘I’ words through his mayoralty, but used many more later, during the two weeks when his cancer was diagnosed and his marriage dissolved. Barack Obama, a self-confident person, uses fewer ‘I’ words than any other modern president.

More from Brooks here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.