Book Review: Confessions of a Public Speaker

December 12, 2009

I just devoured this book. I started it last night  (after completing the riveting final book of the Liveship Traders Trilogy) and finished it a few minutes ago.  I bought this book (somewhat impulsively) after watching Scott give a webcast on the topic a week or so ago. I have always yearned to do more public speaking and trusted Scott to teach me at least one worthwhile thing for my $9 (Kindle Book).

What I didn’t expect was to laugh my way through the book. The author’s informal tone and reflective storytelling engaged me from the start and kept me turning pages at breakneck speed. Another unexpected joy was the perfectly balanced chapters. Many authors of this genre  tend to err either on the side of light/vapid or dry and long winded. It was unexpected and refreshing to get to the end of a chapter and feel grateful both  that it ended when it did, and for the valuable content of its pages.

Scott also provided the best bullet points of any book I’ve read.  I fully enjoyed the “things the human mind loves paying attention to” list which included

  • Things we like to eat
  • Things that eat us
  • People we want to have sex with
  • Things that explode
  • Things that are pretty

What’s most surprising to me is that I started reading this book as a bit of a challenge. I’ve been reading strictly for entertainment for the last dozen or so books. Tearing through the pages of a book that reads like a gloriously long and detailed fantasy life is a piece of cake, and struck me as a bit of a literary cop-out. I announced to my wife last night that I was going to commit to reading one book that “I think I should read” for every one that I know I will enjoy. Confessions of a Public Speaker cheated me by being fully entertaining and providing me with business value

Before I conclude this review, I want to give the author big props for inadvertently (or maybe not) supporting homeschooling.

“For learning, small numbers win. The success of this one-on-one method is proven throughout history; many so-called prodigies were tutored by a parent or family friend (Einstein, Picasso, and Mozart all qualify)… Teaching is an intimacy of the mind, and you can’t achieve that if you must work in large numbers”

If you have an interest in teaching, lecturing, conducting webcasts, or just engaging people at your next dinner party, I highly recommend this book. Scott, if you read this, I hereby offer a nice bottle of wine, laughter and and interesting opinion any time you’re in the neighborhood and in the mood to chat!

1 comment

  1. Comment by Ransom Richardson

    Ransom Richardson December 12, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I’ve seen videos of Scott speaking about his previous books (on project managament and innovation) and he’s very entertaining and informative. His truisms about project management, IIRC: “There is always more to do than there is time for” and “There are always more opinions than decisions”. Thanks for reviewing this book.

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