[book] The Proverb Effect – Notes

This is my personal book note / summary on Ron Ploof’s book: The Proverb Effect [1].

I first heard about the book after Tamsen Webster posted about it in her Instagram account[2]. It immediately caught my attention because I am semi-obsessed with the idea of articulation and improving my ability to communicate ideas in a succinct and sticky way.

I haven’t gotten around to researching more and deciding to purchase the book or not with the recent travelling.

That’s why I am glad to see Ron featured as a guest[3] at Park Howell’s podcast (businessofstory.com) because usually these book-launch episodes would give a pretty solid overview and filter of the book.

Anyway, I have since purchased the book on Kindle, well worth it for $3.99!

The premise of the book is that human are wired to absorb messages delivered in a “proverbial” way or form. Proverbs are short, memorable, practical, and viral.

What I get from the episode is that there are three concepts that is part of a framework on how to formulate your own proverb.

This skill is applicable in so many areas in life. Being able to get your point across ties into persuasion skill, negotiation, and sales. No matter what we do, being able to cooperate with and influence the people around you is a good survival skill.

The more I practice and apply this framework, I will get better at fleshing out my thoughts quicker, get to the core idea or point I want to get across, find the most precise words to articulate it, and put the words together into the final concise form.

This book note is still work in progress. I will update this post with more details and examples as I read the book, research, and learn.


  • function
    • define
    • prescribe
    • predict
  • frame
    • comparison
    • conditional
  • finish


  1. Find your idea, get clear on what point you want to put across.
  2. Determine which function your message fits into.
  3. Identify if the frame is comparison or conditional.
  4. Choose your finish.


I am aware that I have the tendency to be longwinded in getting my point across. // Comment: I don’t know if that is obvious or it’s just me being overly self critical – what do you think?

I’d like to be able to cut to the chase and say the most with the least amount of words.

It’s easier to edit and sharpen my thoughts when writing, but I’d like to be get better doing it on the fly in conversations.

I am a Functional Communicator [4]. Both by nature (everyone in my family lean towards logical) and nurture (Computer Science). I think (thus talk) in linear order.

I would distil the thoughts and transform the message into a high-level point (something that Intuitive Communicators do naturally) only after laying everything out in order and processing it.

As you can imagine, this does not work very well in verbal conversations. I would often find myself losing my train of thought after being paralysed with self-consciousness of all the convoluted words (I imagine) I must have been saying (and boring people with). Kaput.

I can zoom out and see the big picture but struggle to articulate that way off-the-cuff. It’s strange to think about it. Being able to think and understand something does not mean you can easily explain it immediately.


[1] https://storyhow.com/blog/introducing-the-proverb-effect/
[2] https://www.instagram.com/p/BqXyIJEA7tU/
[3] https://businessofstory.com/podcast/proverbs-business-storytelling/
[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2015/08/06/which-of-these-4-communication-styles-are-you/#22317a4f3adb

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