Many years of research have convinced me of the usefulness of the following rule of thumb: if the title of a book or article makes as much (or as little) sense when you randomly permute the words in it, then that book/article is not worth reading. Examples: ‘The Silence of the Lambs’; ‘The Lambs of the Silence’ would work just as well. Or: ‘Profiles in Courage’ could easily have been ‘Courage in Profiles’.
The time-saving value of this rule came back to me as I thumbed once again recently through two books written by Barack Obama, the front runner in the race for the nomination as Democratic Party candidate in the forthcoming US presidential elections.
His first book’s title is (subtitles are too difficult): ‘Dreams from my Father’. Clearly, ‘Father from my Dreams’ makes as much sense. The second book’s title is: ‘The Audacity of Hope’. Once again, ‘The Hope of Audacity’ makes as much sense. The vacuousness of these titles is exceeded only by their pretentiousness. I do not like them, Sam-I-am.