How to choose the title of a publication?

I will present below my opinion on how to pick the title of a publication, based on My gorgeous article about the best attributes to successfully use: Olivian Breda, which I suggest you to read first.

Rob - He Who Uses Apostrophes Incorrectly Annoys Everyone Else. - https://flic.kr/p/av6qPi
Rob – He Who Uses Apostrophes Incorrectly Annoys Everyone Else. – https://flic.kr/p/av6qPi

Some works by Andrei Pleșu:

On Angels – Exposition for a Post Modern World (in English), Cross Meridian / Berlin University Press, 2012
Călătorie în lumea formelor (“Journey to the world of forms”), Meridiane, 1974
Pitoresc și melancolie (“The Picturesque and melancholy”), Univers, 1980
Francesco Guardi, Meridiane, 1981
Ochiul și lucrurile (“The eye and things”), Meridiane, 1986
Minima moralia (“The moral minimum”), Cartea românească, 1988
Dialoguri de seară (“Evening dialogues”), Harisma, 1991
Jurnalul de la Tescani (“The Tescani journal”), Humanitas, 1993
Limba păsărilor (“The language of birds”), Humanitas, 1994
Chipuri și măști ale tranziției (“Faces and masks of the transition”), Humanitas, 1996
Transformări, inerții, dezordini. 22 de luni după 22 decembrie 1989 (“Transformations, inertias, disorders”. 22 months after December 22, 1989″), co-authors Petre Roman and Elena Ștefoi), Polirom, 2002
Despre îngeri (“On angels”), Humanitas, 2003
Obscenitatea publică (“Public obscenity”), Humanitas, 2004
Comedii la porțile Orientului (“Comedies at gates of the Orient”), Humanitas, 2005
Despre bucurie în Est și în Vest și alte eseuri (“About Joy in East and West and other essays”), Humanitas, 2006
Despre frumusețea uitată a vieții (“About the Forgotten Beauty of Life”), Humanitas, 2011
Parabolele lui Iisus. Adevarul ca poveste (“Jesus’ parables. The truth as story”), Humanitas, 2012

Some works by Gabriel Liiceanu:

Tragicul. O fenomenologie a limitei şi depăşirii (The Tragic – A Phenomenology of limit and overtaking), 1975
Încercare în politropia omului şi a culturii (Essay on the polytropy of man and culture), 1981
Jurnalul de la Păltiniş. Un model paideic în cultura umanistă (The Paltiniş Diary: A Paideic Model in Humanist Culture), 1983
Le Journal de Păltiniş, La Decouverte, Paris, 1998
Paltiniş Diary, CEU Press, Budapest and New York, 2000
Epistolar (Epistolary), 1987, coauthor and editor
Apel către lichele (Appeal to knaves), 1992
Cearta cu filozofia. Eseuri (Quarrel with philosophy. Essays), 1992
Despre limită (On limit), 1994
De la limite, Ed. Michalon, Paris, 1997
Itinerariile unei vieţi: EM. Cioran urmat de Apocalipsa după Cioran. Trei zile de convorbiri – 1990, 1995
Itineraires d’une vie: E.M. Cioran suivi de Les Continents de l’insomnie, Ed. Michalon, Paris, 1995
Apocalypsen enligt Cioran, Dualis Forlags, Ludvika, Suedia, 1997
Declaraţie de iubire (Love declaration), 2001
Uşa interzisă (The Forbidden door), 2002
Om şi simbol. Interpretări ale simbolului în teoria artei şi filozofia culturii (Man and Symbol. Interpretations of the symbol in art theory and culture philosophy), 2005
Despre minciună (On lie), 2006
Despre ură (On hate), 2007
Scrisori către fiul meu, 2008
Întâlnire cu un necunoscut, 2010
Întâlnire în jurul unei palme Zen, 2011

Some works by Horia-Roman Patapievici:

Cerul vazut prin lentilă (The Sky seen through the Lens), 1995
Zbor în bătaia săgeţii (Flight within Arrow’s Reach), 1995
Politice (Politics), 1996
Omul recent (The Recent Man), 2001
Schimbarea subiectului – o reverie (The change of subject – a reverie), audiobook, 2004
Spărtura din cer (The breach in the sky), audiobook, 2003
Ochii Beatricei (Beatrice’s Eyes), 2004
Discernământul modernizarii (Discernment of Modernization), 2004
David Bohm, Plenitudinea lumii si ordinea ei (The Wholeness of the World and the Implicate Order), translation, in collaboration, 1995.

Some books by Dan Puric (my translation into English):

Cine suntem (Who are we)
Omul Frumos (The beautiful man)
Fii demn ! (Have dignity!)
Suflet românesc (Romanian soul)

My opinion on those?

I wrote in an article (My gorgeous article about the best attributes to successfully use: Olivian Breda) that, generally, you should avoid attributes at all costs. Some examples of attributes in the works above:

  • Minima moralia (“The moral minimum”), Cartea românească, 1988
  • Despre frumusețea uitată a vieții (“About the Forgotten Beauty of Life”), Humanitas, 2011
  • Jurnalul de la Păltiniş. Un model paideic în cultura umanistă (The Paltiniş Diary: A Paideic Model in Humanist Culture), 1983
  • Omul recent (The Recent Man), 2001
  • David Bohm, Plenitudinea lumii si ordinea ei (The Wholeness of the World and the Implicate Order), translation, in collaboration, 1995.
  • Omul Frumos (The beautiful man)
  • Suflet românesc (Romanian soul)

What you may notice is that, at times, the attributes are used in a negative connotation:

  • Minima moralia (“The moral minimum”), Cartea românească, 1988
  • Despre frumusețea uitată a vieții (“About the Forgotten Beauty of Life”), Humanitas, 2011
  • Omul recent (The Recent Man), 2001

At times, the attributes are meant to be positive:

  • Jurnalul de la Păltiniş. Un model paideic în cultura umanistă (The Paltiniş Diary: A Paideic Model in Humanist Culture), 1983
  • David Bohm, Plenitudinea lumii si ordinea ei (The Wholeness of the World and the Implicate Order), translation, in collaboration, 1995.
  • Omul Frumos (The beautiful man)
  • Suflet românesc (Romanian soul)

What I dare to say in this article is that there is an intrinsic negative connotation in an attribute. While nobody stops you to say that the man can be beautiful, it might prove worthwhile to use a negative attribute (“recent”, with a poor connotation).

Some final thoughts about titles?

  • Read my article on attributes.
  • I think, generally, you should avoid using attributes in a title.
  • You may notice in the list above that some of the words, although generally used as adjectives (picturesque, melancholy), they are not transformed into attributes by the authors. The authors don’t take “picturesque” and make it an attribute. They keep it as it is, no attribute implied.
  • If you do use some attributes in a title, I think it’s best to use it with some negative connotation, rather than a positive one. The reason is, when I say the man is “beautiful”, you start an inner fight. If I say the man is “recent” (with a negative connotation of the word), there is also a fight, but less intense.

P.S.: Just by looking at the titles above, you may see why Andrei Pleșu (0% ratio of attributes in his titles) writes so well in Romanian (and so does Horia-Roman Patapievici, 0% ratio for the titles of the books with him as a sole author), why Gabriel Liiceanu (5%) tends to be angry at times, and why Dan Puric (50%) is sometimes criticized. My extrapolation solution is clearly wrong. Yet, the results prove otherwise.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data.

I am a Freelancer. My expertise is in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) / UX (user experience) / WordPress. Co-founder of lumeaseoppc.ro (series of events on SEO & PPC) and cetd.ro (Book on branding for MDs). On a personal level, I like self-development - events, sports, healthy living, volunteering, reading. I live in London, and lots of things live in me.

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