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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