Anthony Scaramucci: Choosing the Right Words Can Turn Failure into Success

Anthony Scaramucci is no angel, but he does choose his words carefully. If you don't evolve along with language, it can be catastrophic for businesses and team dynamics.

Anthony Scaramucci: I find that words really do matter. Particularly in our society today where we're getting a lot of our information electronically transferred I think words do matter. And I also think that for whatever reason, due to political correctness there's a heightened sensitivity to words. You say something oh you're a racist. You reference that person or if you reference that person improperly or there's different ways to describe people, and please I'm probably going to be offensive now but I'm going to say it anyway, when I was a kid you would say the word oriental. If you said the word oriental today you would be excoriated, it's Asian American. It was, forgive me nigro when I was a kid, now it's African American. I actually think the words do matter because at the end of the day you want to be respectful to other people, and again, I hope I didn't offend anybody even by bringing those up on - I'm just bringing up the illustration the evolution of the words.

So for me even when you're managing a company you have to speak in the right way because if I say me and my and I I'm going to lose people around me. Our company is a pronoun usage place of we and our and team and a commitment to each other. Now, this is like a really silly cliché but you should really think about it if you're running a company when the word team is in your head it's together everyone achieves more. That was from my high school coach. He had another great aphorism, help the other guy. Or in the case of help the other girl for gal. His point was don't focus on yourself with but subordinate yourself. I watched Derek Jeter, and I'm going to dish ARod for a second here because he does deserve to be dished a little, I watched Derek Jeter run from the short stop position into the bleachers and break his cheek to catch a foul ball during a Red Sox Yankee game while the third baseman Alex Rodriguez is meandering. There's a difference in the two personalities. The one guy is all about the team, could care less about his own statistics, could care less about if he's going to get 3000 hits or not 3000 hits, he wants to win the World Series. The other guy is sitting there looking at his statistics all day. So one is very insular focused and me and I focused and the other one is we. And I'm telling you right now if you're out there listening to this thing you're going to go away farther in your life if you can subordinate yourself to that we concept.

So yes I'm a very big believer that you have to use the right words. By the way, I don't always use the right words. I'm from an Italian American family; we yell and scream at each other on Sundays; I got most of my media training passing plates of spaghetti as a kid. And I also grew up in an ethnic environment so there were Irish and Jews and Italians and Welsh and so we were fighting and sparring with each other. And so I'm very, very far from perfect but I think you can really see people's intentions by the way they talk to other people and their level of civility.

The age of email has pushed us to confront the importance of how things are phrased. How often have you had to wipe out a sentence and re-write it to convey the tone you really intended? As much as you may loathe (or like) exclamation marks and smiley faces, there are times when these hieroglyphs are just plain necessary to avoid all-out communication mayhem.


The care we take in writing should also be applied to our verbal interactions, where offense can so easily be caused on the conversational battle grounds that are race, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomics. That consideration is equally important in the professional world, says financier and author Anthony Scaramucci.

Words really do matter, he says, because they reveal our intentions. In business, the issue may not even be as blatant as those big red flags of offense like race and gender, but can be as small as the difference between ‘I’ and ‘we’. As the founder and co-managing partner of an investment firm, Scaramucci knows if he doesn’t talk and think about the company as a team, he’s going to lose people, fast.

Anyone can be part of a team, but to be part of a successful, cohesive one requires forgoing your ego for the advancement of the unit as a whole. Graceful subordination to a larger goal is the objective, and choosing your language carefully is the key.

Anthony Scaramucci's most recent book is Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole: How Entrepreneurs Turn Failure Into Success.

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

Discovery of two giant radio galaxies hints at more to come

The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.

I. Heywood, University of Oxford / Rhodes University / South African Radio Astronomy Observatory / CC BY 4.0.
Surprising Science
  • Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
  • The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
  • The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.
Keep reading Show less

The secret life of maladaptive daydreaming

Daydreaming can be a pleasant pastime, but people who suffer from maladaptive daydreamers are trapped by their fantasies.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Mind & Brain
  • Maladaptive daydreamers can experience intricate, vivid daydreams for hours a day.
  • This addiction can result in disassociation from vital life tasks and relationships.
  • Psychologists, online communities, and social pipelines are spreading awareness and hope for many.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

    The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

    SJADE 2018
    Surprising Science
    • A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
    • It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
    • The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
    Keep reading Show less

    Why it's important to admit when you're wrong

    Psychologists point to specific reasons that make it hard for us to admit our wrongdoing.

    Credit: Adobe Stock
    Mind & Brain
    • Admitting mistakes can be very difficult for our ego and self-image, say psychologists.
    • Refusing to own up to guilt boosts the ego and can feel more satisfying.
    • Not acknowledging you are wrong can lead to psychological issues and ruined relationships.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast