R.I.P. Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor, professor of International Communications at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, passed away on 6 December 2010. Phil was a terrific and underappreciated researcher and thinker on the subject of influence and propaganda. A prolific writer on the subjects, he devoted tremendous time and energy into unveiling both historical and contemporary propaganda.

John Brown described Phil as “one of the greats in the study of the art of rhetoric.”

Phil will be missed.

See also:

Abbreviated list of books authored or co-edited by Phil:

5 thoughts on “R.I.P. Phil Taylor

  1. The following will appear in the next issue of the Information Operations Journal, published by the AOC’s Info Ops Institute:A few weeks ago I learned that my good friend and colleague Dr Phil Taylor was desperately ill; a few hours ago I learned that his struggle was over, and I (and many others) are trying to come to terms with this. Many of us in the Information and Influence Ops community knew Phil, still more were direct beneficiaries of his work, and no one from the Psyop and Influence worlds—including Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication—were untouched by his work. If you go to his section of the University of Leeds’ webpage (http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/details.cfm?id=18 ) you will see a portion of his body of work—it spans several pages. He was a giant—a brilliant writer and analyst, a superb teacher whose students ran the gamut from young undergrads to entire governments, and a treasured friend. By the time this is printed our IO community will have begun the process of honoring him, acknowledging our debt to him, and reflecting on our loss. (and if he could read this he’d offer one of his dismissive snorts and say “oh eff that!”…then we’d sit down and share a couple of beers and figure out why we don’t do influence better.) His real monument and memorial will be the legion of Influencers who carry his work and ideas forward. A brilliant guy and a great friend…he’ll be missed.

  2. I had the honour and the pleasure of working/teaching with Phil in Asia a few years ago. He was a great bloke, very learned and good fun. He’ll be sincerely missed.

  3. Very sad news indeed. Dan’s comment sums it up succinctly; over the years the entire Information and Influence Ops community, as well as the Public Diplomacy community, benefited directly from his work. Always up for a strong presentation with clear and unequivocal views on why we are not communicating better, that will be his lasting legacy. He sustained his views in every way through hard graft. Revisit his work and reflect – it’s stellar and will benefit you directly.

  4. Very sad to hear about this.When I spoke to Phil earlier this year on the topic of IO, he talked about his frustration of “lessons learned” really being a case of “lessons forgotten”. I hope the community repays his contributions to the field by never forgetting the lessons that he himself taught us.

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