The Book In Three Sentences:
- Eloquence, charisma and convincingness in public speaking can – with enough exposure – be learned and aren’t predetermined!
- This book can be very much seen as the condensed knowledge of all public speaking techniques that are used in the TEDTalks and similar events around the globe (even though they did not exist at the time it was written).
- Carnegie’s hands-on advice covers a wide range of fields like short talks, impromptu speeches and opening talks combined with a lot of entertaining anecdotes sprinkled in between.
Who Should Read It And Why
This book certainly is part of the (self-help) literature that everyone should have read at least once! Of course, the included hands-on advice is directed at new-comers but there are just as many detailed ideas that might refine and polish your already existing qualities (e.g. how to effectively use a showcase exhibit).
Now you might be wondering, “why would I ever need public speaking? … the last time I did was in a high school presentation”. Then, however, you actually are absolutely mistaken!
Did you ever need to listen to that boring relative during a family reunion who just isn’t able to tell his stories in an exciting way or get to the point? Maybe that description even fits you yourself? As for my case I also always felt that way as well – like my stories just weren’t resonating with people.
Public speaking is part of our daily life, when we talk at our family table, when are asked for our advice at a work meeting, when we sit in an oral exam – basically every situation that involves communicating information, beliefs or ideas to others!
And to be an effective communicator and a good storyteller this book serves as the perfect opportunity to become aware of and overcome our weaknesses in public speaking.
The quotes in the next section should give you an idea of what learning how to speak holds in store for you – charisma, self-confidence, overcoming fears, making new friend and much more!
I only see one problem towering sky-high above the whole book – and Carnegie certainly wasn’t blind to it either, as he wrote and mentioned it several times himself, too:
The skill to speak publicly can’t be learned by simply reading this book – it’s only by applying the advice and ideas in action that they get ingrained into your mind!
You can’t become a professional athlete by reading about it or watching the sports news – you can get the underlying principles, that’s right – but nevertheless you will have to run around the track like a maniac, countless of times, with sweat and tears, only then will your body and your mind adapt them and get in shape!
My Top 3 Quotes:
“Speak when you can, to a few or to many; you will do it better and better, as I have found out, myself; and you will feel a buoyancy of spirit, a sense of being a whole, rounded person, such as you never felt before.”
“I found that learning to speak in public is nature’s own method of overcoming self-consciousness and building up courage and self-confidence. Why? Because speaking in public makes us come to grips with our fears.”
“The ability to assemble one’s thoughts and to speak on the spur of the moment is even more important, in some ways, than the ability to speak only after lengthy and laborious preparation.”
What The Book Taught Me:
You might see public speaking as a drag right now – as an annoyance, as something that costs a lot of time in preparation – you might even fear it, the attention, expectations and eyes of countless listeners lasting on you.
And to be honest, it often felt the same way for me, too. When I was still in school, I hated giving and preparing presentation and I didn’t like oral exams at all, as you had to be swift in thinking and expressing your thoughts. I didn’t like expressing my opinions and telling stories too much, as it always was seemed hard to find the fitting and exciting words.
Trust me, when I tell you this though – this book provides such attitudes with a 180°-turn in thinking – it definitely did with mine. I’m really seeing public speaking as something desirable and empowering right now. As something that serves as a catalyst for our potential and so many other great things!
Most importantly, it is only by communicating our ideas effectively that we can relate and connect with others in a meaningful way. In other words, only in learning how to speak we can somewhat make our unrelatable, personal view on our life understandable to others.
Hell, I’m even trying to apply these principles, metaphors, analogies and everything else I learned in a weekly podcast that I’m doing with a friend right now (check it out if you haven’t already)!
A second, more specific idea that I personally found very helpful was about giving effective impromptu speeches.
We are subject to such speeches everyday – when a friend asks us a difficult question, birthdays and weddings, when you quickly have to respond in an oral exam or when you are asked for your advice in a business meeting.
Getting into a story as quickly as possible, trying to think about what I’d say in the very moment if you were called upon right now during a meeting – those are only some of the ideas that really helped me out a lot. Only a few days ago actually in one of my philosophy exams! 🙂
Though – just as Dale Carnegie said – the only way to become a charismatic public speaker is to actually speak publicly. So, get yourself the original book (it’s really cheap) or a summary and start right now by getting the right mindset!
Now, I know what you probably think after having glimpsed the book’s title:
Nothing in the world would get me to read that! It sounds manipulative. It is for socially awkward people. It is outdated anyways. I want nothing to do with it!
I suggest, however, that you first check out the surprisingly positive advice it has to offer concerning social interactions in this post!
One of the very early classics of self-help literature which condenses a lot of knowledge about self-awareness into about 200 pages.
It’s especially helpful to people who are new to the self-development scene but should but taken with a grain of salt!
What types of friendship are there?
What characterizes a meaningful friendship?
How can we think about friendship philosophically and psychologically?
In our daily lifes we are subject to countless fallacies and biases which inevitably lead to wrong decisions and judgments.
This book condenses decades of psychological findings into a guide on how to recognize and overcome them!