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Confessions of a Public Speaker Hardcover – 14 Nov 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (14 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596801998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596801991
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 174,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Scott Berkun (@berkun) is the best selling author of four books, Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation, Confessions of a Public Speaker and Mindfire Big Ideas for Curious Minds. His work has appeared in the The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, The Economist, Forbes Magazine, and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at http://www.scottberkun.com.

Product Description

Review

Scott Berkun tells it like it is. Whether you're speaking to 10 people or 1000 people, you will gain insights to take your presentation skills to the next level. It's a rare book that will make you think AND laugh. -- Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos.com--Tony Hsieh

About the Author

Scott Berkun is the bestselling author of The Myths of Innovation,and Making Things Happen. His work as a writer and public speaker haveappeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at www.scottberkun.com.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Mayfield on 1 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a frequent public speaker I very much enjoyed this book. I think the enjoyment came from the empathy I felt for Scott Berkun as well as his humour - he has a nice turn of ironic simile, almost on a par with that of Douglas Adams or of Raymond Chandler.

The empathy arose from the approach he as taken, which is an unapologetic personal take on his journey to become a competent presenter. I found this quite refreshing. In fact, in his notes towards the end of the book, he comes clean about the power of storytelling, even though he didn't include a specific chapter or section on it.

So this is no dry, systematic treatise on the obvious mechanics of presenting - eye contact, posture, and so on - although most of the main elements are touched on at some point. No, here the reader finds lived experiences written with the visceral relevance of someone who has found himself speaking in all kinds of unpredictable contexts, written sometimes in a self-deprecating and irreverent style.

I will be recommending this to my colleagues in pearcemayfield.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AJ Fisher on 5 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
The majority of people hate speaking in public and I'm certainly one of those. Unfortunately, particularly if you are a professional, at some point you are going to be asked to give a presentation to your co-workers, your board or at a conference. We are used to seeing highly polished performances from speakers like Scott Berkun, our politicians and other notable figures so the bar seems incredibly high for anyone just starting or who only speaks in public infrequently.

"Confessions of a Public Speaker" helps push away the anxiety. Using a lot of humour, many personal stories and a healthy dose of research, Scott educates the reader on how to construct a great talk or presentation, preparing properly, harnessing the "attack of the butterflies" in a positive way and many other tips and techniques for delivering a great performance.

The book is warmly written, giving many examples of how Scott has gone wrong over the years and is thus approachable for everyone - particularly those who lack confidence when speaking in front of a crowd. My copy is much dog-eared and underlined and every time I present I come back to it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Bowers on 24 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'll preface this review by saying I read this as part of a book group. I was told that although it was a public speaking aid, it was in itself a piece of entertainment. This review is based on the Kindle version.

Scott Berkun launches into Confessions of a Public Speaker at great speed with a hugely entertaining chapter on why public speaking really isn't as scary as we say it is. Using stats and surveys to prove that you really wouldn't "rather die than speak in public". Multiple times I was given strange glances by my significant other due to my laughing out loud.

By Chapter 4 I found I was no longer laughing. The entertainment factor had gone. It was no longer the advertised "... unique, entertaining, and instructional romp through the embarrassments and triumphs Scott has experienced over 15 years of speaking...". It was at this point that I felt `Confessions of a Public Speaker' may be an incorrect title, it had become a run-of-the-m

One third of the book is made up of appendicies. These appendices are generally just repeats of the main segment. Ironically Scott teaches you to not waste your audience's time. Treat them with respect and keep them interested with important information they want to know. So to have one appendix focus on how many m&m's he ate while writing the book made me wonder if he practiced what he preached. The actual section containing real confessions of public speakers is also relegated to an appendix, again making me wonder if this is the correct title.

If you are looking to improve your public speaking I could only recommend this book as an accompaniment to a book on constructing and delivering an argument.

There were also a few errors in the kindle version entered by the publisher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Swallow on 21 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Most people hate public speaking but it would appear that Scott Berkun loves it. So much so in fact, that he left his regular job at Microsoft in order to make a full-time living out of it. Such a career move would be anathema to many of the glossophobic people at whom this book is targeted. However, Berkun imbues this short tome with enough insight, passion, and enthusiasm to inspire just about anyone to take the podium.

If you're looking for a clinical self-help guide on overcoming a fear of public speaking, this book probably isn't for you. Berkun does offer a wealth of hints, tips and suggestions on how to improve your presentations. However, the tone of the book is more reflective than prescriptive, drawing upon not only the author's own experiences, but also the collected wisdom of many other public speakers.

Similarly, don't expect a rose-tinted perspective on the joys of public speaking. Berkun highlights many notable benefits of performing for a living ($5,000 for an hour's work being one of them). However, he contrasts these with plenty of horror stories and excruciating tales of when things have gone wrong. Rather than being off-putting however, these accounts provide a perverse sense of reassurance. Learning that most people - even seasoned orators - experience an 'attack of the butterflies' somehow helps to make public speaking much less daunting and, dare I say it, enjoyable!

My only criticism of the book is that it often seems very American, due to the examples that are cited and Berkun's relentlessly upbeat 'can-do' attitude. It feels rather churlish to point this out however, as a lot of care and attention has clearly gone into creating it (even down to a wacky colophon). Scott Berkun is clearly a very talented author, and has succeeded in distilling a wealth of experience into an honest, humorous and confessional account of public speaking. Highly recommended.
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