For the general semanticist words are loaded: they trigger our response to signs and symbols, all the socio-psychological paraphernalia around us and in us. orzybski, the Founding Father of that school of linguistic problem-solving, is dead, but the current torchbearer, Hayakawa, is not; his new book- bright, buoyant, emattling- concerns the sane and unsane ways of contemporary communication, ranging through not only up-to-the-minute phenomena (race relations, Vance Packard, thermonulear gamesmanship), but also the underlying tangles: the ""self-concept"" (childhood defense-fixations) as against the ""self-actualizing"" one (experimental openness) and the worldwide morality clash between the old Stage of Master Symbols (the good ""we"" s the bad ""they"") and the new Stage of Shared Perceptions (all of us have similar problems, similar structures). Sometimes it is all rather like a prep school citizenship course: think clearly, listen closely, respect facts, eschew prejudices; nd at its worst, seminar solemnity takes over vis a vis Korzybski's famous ""extensional orientation"": chair 1 is not chair 2 is not chair 3 etc... one must continually reassess alterations etc. No kidding! It makes one wonder how as an undergraduate Hayakawa could ever have modeled himself on Oscar Wilds. (Ah youth, oh change!). But at its best, an acute appraisal.