Tuesday, August 25

The Sir Winston Method--Lessons from a Master Orator

The Sir Winston Method: The Five Secrets of Speaking the Language of Leadership

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Winston Churchill believed oratory was an entirely different form of communication than the written word, and as perhaps the twentieth century's best English orators, he probably has a shred or two of credibility. He studied oratory and painstakingly developed a number of strategies for excellent spoken communication, which have then been studied in turn by James Humes, a Churchill expert.

Not content to mine the wealth of Churchill's thinking on speech-giving, Humes has also studied Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, and other outstanding orators. As a matter of fact, he himself served as a speech writer for at least five U.S. Presidents; so he has a shred himself.

I really enjoyed this book. While I wouldn't say it was the best prose I've read--perhaps because Humes is an expert in speech-writing, not in book-writing--the lessons he gives are excellent. Every page has one or two anecdotes that make it a worthwhile read for history buffs.

This book and Humes' more recent work, "Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln" overlap quite a bit, but I found them both worth reading. Humes tells enough different stories and approaches the same topic from different enough angles that I found both thoroughly enjoyable.

From a speaking perspective, this book is chock full o' nuggets that will improve any public speakers' abilities, from giving announcements to giving sermons.

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Monday, August 10

Made to Stick--Book Review

"The best book on communication in the past decade," my organization's director of communications said. And I agree: this book is fantastic. It's a great read--very accessible, fun, and easy to grasp, because they follow their own advice. It's chock full of examples and anecdotes.

I think every person who has to communicate as part of their job or life (even parents and coaches) would benefit tremendously by reading this book.

This one I'm willing to put a challenge on: read it, and if you don't like it I'll buy your copy from you.