The One about Aliza Davidovit’s “The Words That Shaped Me”


(Originally reviewed back in February 6, 2010)

Jackie Mason once said about journalist and TV producer Aliza Davidovit, “Aliza has the brains of Henry Kissinger and the body of Marilyn Monroe”.

And that is possibly an understatement as Aliza Davidovit can be seen on television from her on-air appearances on Fox News “Strategy Room” as a pundit, she worked at 20/20 with Connie Chung, at the ABC News Terrorism/Investigations Unit with John Miller, a producer and booker at Fox News.  Aliza is also a contributing editor to Lifestyles Magazine International and Mann About Town magazine, as well as a columnist for World Net Daily and has contributed to many popular magazines such as Lifestyles, Celebrate, Wine and Dine and many more.

A well-known and well-respected journalist, Davidovit often is written about her work ethic as well as her body.

Yes, she has participated in a bikini pageant, yes, she’s not afraid to talk about her bust but whatever you do, don’t let the blonde hair even fool you into thinking that she’s gauche.

Aliza Davidovit is an intelligent, passionate and vibrant woman who worked hard to get where she is today.

But when she was younger, it all started with her passion.  Words.

That is right, Aliza Davidovit is a logophile, a person who loves words and in her book “The Words That Shaped Me”, Aliza Davidovit goes through various words from A-Z, to talk about how words have shaped her life.

Here are a few examples of words featured in “The Words That Shaped Me”:

Coup d’oeil – To Take an Eyeful at a quick glance.  The best definition is to catch someone in the act of doing something.  You know, when you watch football and the camera quickly catches that pro athlete picking his nose or doing a snot rocket, or perhaps a friend catching another friend messing around and cheating behind his wife’s back.  Or in Aliza Davidovit’s case, having to interview a a high level Israeli official in his hotel room and when she came out of the bathroom, she found him with his clothes off, sitting down with his bathrobe and legs open.

Davidovit would say about that coup d’oeil, “His was hardly a weapon of mass destruction and not worth the risk of contracting a Middle Yeast Infection.”

Grefanburg Spot – Davidovit writes, “Don’t you think its odd that only 12 men have ever walked on the moon yet they have been able to find water there, while billions of men have explored vaginas and they still haven’t found the G-spot?”.

Platitude – A trite or banal remark or statement, especially one expressed as if it were original or significant.  An example is when people say, “When one door closes another door opens.”

When it comes to the platitude, “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger”.  And Aliza is blunt on how she feels about platitudes. Aliza says, “This trite expression is not true.  If cancer doesn’t kill you, does it make you stronger?  Are you ready for the marathon after a good does of chemo?  All these things that nearly but don’t kill us, eat away at us like ants at a soggy wood house.  Have you really been empowered by your pain?”

Surprises – Aliza is quick to say, “For me surprises are just like hellos.  I never met one that I liked.”

These are just a few examples of the many words featured in “The Words That Shaped Me”.  Of course, Aliza goes more into detail about the words that are featured in this book.

But it’s important to let the reader know that while the book focuses on words and that Aliza Davidovit is a logophile, this is not a cultural literacy book, if you are looking for new words to utilize in your everyday conversations.  Although, it may introduce you to words that you may have never heard of.

But the book is literally the life of Aliza Davidovit.  As many journalists have written memoirs of their journey from their personal life and professional careers, “The Words That Shaped Me” can be thought of the same way.

While the book may have some humorous comments at times, you learn more about the experiences in life that helped made her what she is today.  The people who have influenced her and I would suspect from the personal topics that she writes about, I imagine that the experience was therapeutic, happy, sad and brought a lot experiences that some people may want to forget forever out into this book and Aliza Davidovit does it with class, humor, cleverness and with great fervor.

Aliza is very dedicated to her Jewish upbringing, grateful for the moments she shared with her father David, which she goes into great deal of talking about memories of him and the terrible life he had as a child but made sure that things were different when he got older.  His final days of life.  How the family was at the time during his death.  Aliza talks about her mother who is playful, loves to joke around but also was a mother who made Aliza know her place while growing up.  And of course, life with her brother and her feelings towards him.  Her working relationship and her feelings about those she interviewed and worked with.

She talks about the experiences with those she interviewed.  From the time she arrived to Michael Bolton’s home and thought the young woman who opened the door was an employee or perhaps a girlfriend (it turned out to be his daughter), her dreams that she kept having as a child and eventually meeting Benjamin Nettanyahu and how it may be related to that recurring dream.

And while she discusses her personal family and her entertainment career, she also talks about her pride of being Jewish and that moment in time where she ripped up her Masters Degree diploma at Columbia University during a press conference to speak out against her Alma mater for them wanting to bring Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a speaker.   Iran’s president has denied the Holocaust and called for the destruction of the state of Israel and angered many people when was given a prestigious forum to espouse his beliefs.

And she also discusses her divorce to a rabbi including personal details such as when her ex-boyfriend who slipped a “Mickey Finn” (a drink laced with a drug) and tried to have sex with her (despite her becoming religious and would not have sex before marriage).

So, there are plenty of topics covered in this book within the words from A-Z.

“The Words That Shaped Me” was intriguing for me because like Davidovit, I am a logophile and grew up reading the dictionary and reading words and using them from childhood to my teenage and into my adult years.  Granted, I’m no erudite nor am I a compleat writer but it’s intriguing to take a peek into the head of a person that is passionate, vibrant, intelligent and also has an ethic of working hard and possibly playing hard.  Aliza has had a wonderful career thus far and this latest book evokes memories of reading memoirs by other journalists but made more fun and interesting by using the words that shaped her life.

The efficacy of how this book was written was partly due to Aliza’s wit, her experience but also giving the reader an idea of how far this young woman has come from reading the dictionary as a child to where she is today.

Even if you are not familiar of Aliza Davidovit’s work, if you are a person who is intrigued by words, well, the book is well-written, must I say very clever, entertaining and possibly blunt.  I don’t know if Aliza Davidovit is blunt as she is in her book but  you can’t help but enjoy Aliza Davidovit confront various topics in a no-nonsense way.  She has seen a lot of BS in her life that she’s not afraid to call it out.

Is she opinionated? Yes, she is …but it’s not so bad that you feel invidious towards what she has to say.

And while I praise this book (because it is worth reading!), as many of my readers know that there has to be something negative right?  Well, everyone has their opinion and their own personal life experiences but for the most part, I enjoyed everything in the book but there was one that I found quite intriguing and that is the word “nice”.

Aliza writes, “I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to be nice.  Enough is enough.  I’ve taken down the sign over my head that reads “Suckers ‘R Us.” The words please and thank you are so ineffectual in today’s times where ass-kickings are evermore effective.  From now on I’m going to let everyone have it.  I have such a way with words that if I launched a full assault on people of what I think of them and pointed out with the full wit and whack of my pen how base and insipid they are, I certainly could make them cry and send them into therapeutic retreat for a long time.  They have it coming.  That’s it.”.

Similar to being the kid who read dictionaries as a child and as a journalist who also interviewed celebrities and politicians, I can see where Aliza is coming from.  And in this business, there are so many people and companies that will try to break you down for your kindness and hardwork.  And in one point in my life, I did transform myself willingly to let people have it.  There are a lot of people who do transform from when they leave college to working for a major publication or TV news company which Aliza writes about, but I’ve learned that if you were nice to begin with, there’s nothing wrong with it.  You learn from experiences and you know not to be screwed with again.

While I reading this, I often thought, perhaps this is the “urbanicity” that Aliza writes about.  The temperament that is required in Manhattan and doing business in New York and even in my case, working with entertainment PR and marketing business owners in New York, I’m often told, “wow, you are very nice man!  I’m not use to doing business with people like you because in New York, it’s different!”. I often wondered if Aliza meant what she wrote, because I’m sure that certain BS’ers would require that, but definitely one of the few words that I found evocative.  But hoping what she wrote is more specious than anything.

But that is probably the only time in the book where I paused and actually took a breather after reading so much in her book and thinking of how passionate this woman is to her work, her career and her loved ones, Aliza has also been in unfortunate predicaments, men you couldn’t trust, bosses and the peers who have looked over her 3D’s “sexy, soulful and smart”and have focused more on her double D’s (which she does write about under the word “dichotomy”) and its unfortunate too know that in that urban jungle, she has met too many troglogdytes than real men.

Even when I read written articles “The Words That Shaped Me”, I find it a bit too gauche that fellow male writers even need to focus on her cleavage and her body in their article.

What I loved about “The Words That Shaped Me” has nothing to do with the woman on the outside, it’s the woman within.  The passionate and intelligent Aliza Davidovit that manages to capture your attentiveness because she has experienced so much in her personal life and career.    The young girl who would study these words as a child and use them throughout her life.  Brilliant, entertaining and touching…

Aliza Davidovit, those words that you have written in your book have shaped you throughout your life and career but after reading your book, your words have touched, entertained and also even inspired me.  And I’m confident that it will do the same for many other readers.

“The Words That Shaped Me” is highly recommended!