28 The Power of   Persuasion

28 The Power of   Persuasion

The full title of Dr. Levine’s book is The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold. In Taiwan it is translated as 收買與出賣的祕密 (shōu mǎi yǔ chū mài de mì mì) 關於說服的創意、魅惑,及其弔詭 (guān yú shuō fú de chuàng yì, mèi huò, jí qí diào guǐ); In China it is translated as 说服的力量 (shuō fú de lì liàng).


Chinese character: 收
Chinese character: 買Simplified Chinese: 买
Chinese character: 與Simplified Chinese: 与
Chinese character: 出
Chinese character: 賣Simplified Chinese: 卖
Chinese character: 的
Chinese character: 祕Simplified Chinese: 秘
Chinese character: 密
The title includes many good words to know:


收買 (shōu mǎi) is buy or bribe.


出賣 (chū mài) means sell, sell out, or betray.


祕密 (mì mì) means secret.


說服 is convince. It’s pronounced shuō fú in China and shuì fú in Taiwan.


The rule is this: 說 is normally pronounced shuō as to speak or to tell. It is pronounced shuì when the meaning is to persuade or to influence.


創意 (chuàng yì) is creative.


魅惑 (mèi huò) is using beauty or obsequiousness to fool people.


弔詭 (diào guǐ) means strange or weird. I think the translator’s intention might be more on the 詭 (guǐ) character, meaning sly, crafty, tricky, or deceitful.


力量 (lì liàng) is power.


So the Taiwanese title is like “The secret of how we’re bought and sold: The creative, crafty, and deceitful ways of persuasion.”


Chinese character: 說Simplified Chinese: 说
Chinese character: 服
Chinese character: 的
Chinese character: 力
Chinese character: 量

The mainland Chinese title is more straightforward: “The power of persuasion.”



At first I thought the Taiwanese translation put the book in a negative light. But after I read the book and, according to Dr. Levine’s intention, I think it’s an appropriate translation.


Levine describes the following in the introduction: “My ultimate interest is how people are manipulated to do things they never thought they’d do and are later sorry they did. The following chapters contain tales of human imperfection and the psychology behind them. They’re offered in the spirit of some old advice from Eleanor Roosevelt: ‘Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.’”


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