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A collection of definitions of vocabulary specific to various professions. Fortunately, it started with restaurants, so I was able to check its accuracy right off the bat.

At least as far as the back of the house is concerned, it was right on (I have never worked the front), and it has a long list at the back of the book of persons consulted, and I therefore figure it's trustworthy. Professions covered include the aforementioned restauranteuring, retail slang, theatre slang, pharmacist, venture capitalist, microbiologist, and several others. The book doesn't use alphabetical order but starts with more general concepts in each field and works more and more specific information into an organically flowing essay on each topic, which is not a bad way to do it. It never gets incredibly detailed, because it's trying to stick to slang that is as universal within each profession as possible, but I think it does pretty well at covering all of the slang that is fairly universal, before you start getting regional differentiations and the like.

My principal complaint is that it's not long enough. I would have liked about seventeen more professions, and then it could have been a really valuable resource instead of an amusing curiosity; as it is it's just not a large enough book to work as a writer's grab-bag, because it's sufficiently non-comprehensive in its list of professions that it's probably easier just to go get a book on the individual thing you're researching. It's basically up to luck whether you'll find what you want in this.

If you just want to look more closely at the inner workings of a bunch of fields you don't work in, though, this is a completely reasonable way to do it. I also found it interesting to notice which pieces of jargon I'd picked up from somewhere or other and which I had not. (I kind of regret that Harrison didn't cover art restoration. I would love to know whether the slang my boss there used was specific to him, or more general. He called the time after you start examining the piece intrusively but before you know what you need to do to it the designated panic time, for instance.)

I also think the book ought to have covered linguists, just for the meta. Anyway, this was cute.


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March 2017

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