Confessions of a Public Speaker and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading Confessions of a Public Speaker on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Confessions of a Public Speaker [Hardcover]

Scott Berkun
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £6.83  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £10.99  

Book Description

14 Nov 2009

In this hilarious and highly practical book, author and professional speaker Scott Berkun reveals the techniques behind what great communicators do, and shows how anyone can learn to use them well. For managers and teachers -- and anyone else who talks and expects someone to listen -- Confessions of a Public Speaker provides an insider's perspective on how to effectively present ideas to anyone. It's a unique, entertaining, and instructional romp through the embarrassments and triumphs Scott has experienced over 15 years of speaking to crowds of all sizes.

With lively lessons and surprising confessions, you'll get new insights into the art of persuasion -- as well as teaching, learning, and performance -- directly from a master of the trade.

Highlights include:

  • Berkun's hard-won and simple philosophy, culled from years of lectures, teaching courses, and hours of appearances on NPR, MSNBC, and CNBC
  • Practical advice, including how to work a tough room, the science of not boring people, how to survive the attack of the butterflies, and what to do when things go wrong
  • The inside scoop on who earns $30,000 for a one-hour lecture and why
  • The worst -- and funniest -- disaster stories you've ever heard (plus countermoves you can use)

Filled with humorous and illuminating stories of thrilling performances and real-life disasters, Confessions of a Public Speaker is inspirational, devastatingly honest, and a blast to read.

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: 2.3 x 15 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 616,292 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

Product Description


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,

(Tony Hsieh)

Smart, funny, and provocative, Scott Berkun's Confessions puts an very modern and wholly relevant spin on the fine art of public speaking.

-- Suzy Welch, best-selling author and public speaker

(Suzy Welch)

Your next talk will be ten times better if you read this book first.

-- Gina Trapani, founding editor of

(Gina Trapani)

Loved it! This is a very informative and entertaining look at the important art of public speaking. Anyone who speaks for a living— including teachers — will greatly benefit from this book.

-- Garr Reynolds, Author of Presentation Zen

(Garr Reynolds)

Even if you prepare well and avoid disaster, of course, you may not charm everyone in the audience. But you can at least--with Mr. Berkun's help--avoid being cripplingly nervous before that brown-bag presentation and wishing it were tomorrow.

-- Philip Delves Broughton,

(Philip Delves Broughton)

I've seen Scott speak a few times before, and he knows his stuff. Add to this his sense of humor, plus the fact that pretty much everyone can stand to learn some new ideas about speaking, and this book is a MUST for your collection.

-- Chris Brogan,

(Chris Brogan)

For those that are contemplating public speaking, or want to improve their current aptitude, it is impossible that after reading the book, that they won't be a better speaker. For those that simply want to know what goes into, and what makes a really good presentation, Confessions of a Public Speaker is also a worthwhile book to read.

-- Ben Rothke,

(Ben Rothke)

With tips on how to combat pre-speech butterflies, battling the "tough room" and how not to bore people silly, this book will ensure your next Powerpoint will be a success.

-- John Baichtal,

(John Baichtal)

Part confessional, part "how-to," this entertaining book is a godsend for anyone who would rather have an appendectomy without anesthetic than address a group in public.

-- Virginia Backaitis,

(Virginia Backaitis)

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

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant stories to make you smile 1 May 2010
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great if you're not a natural public speaker 5 Jan 2011
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incorrectly titled an interesting in parts 24 Mar 2010
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.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book talks about many aspects of public speaking: why are we affraid of talking in public, and how can we avoid this? How is it to earn a living of public speaking? How do you work a tough room? How can you attract people to your talk? How do you keep people from falling asleep? How should you get and interpret feedback? What to do if your talk sucks? What to do when things go wrong? What are the little things pros do? The list just goes on and on.

Not only is this book packed with handy tips and anecdotes, it's also written in a very light and funny way, making this book both extremely pleasant and interesting to read. I read the book from the first page to the last in merely one day (which is a personal record for me)

This book is a must-read for virtually anyone, especially those who sometimes speak in front of an audience (even small ones)!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
As with his other books: Making things Happen and Myths of innovation Scott Berkun combines expert story telling and a command of his subject to create an entertaining and practical book on the do's and don'ts of public speaking.

Chapter 5, Do not eat your microphone, alone is worth the cover price, as the simple process he applies to creating a presentation can be used equally as effectively when creating essays and blog posts.

The book boils down to three main themes:

Know you material
Know your audience
Practice, practice, practice

Off these principles Scott shares honest, hard won advice which is guaranteed to make your next presentation a much more rewarding experience for you and your audience.

This book is for anyone who has to give a presentation to their boss, clients or has ambition to become a conference speaker. It's a highly enjoyable, quick read (once you start you won't want to put it down - I read it in a day).
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Public Speaking From A Professional's Perspective
I'm terrified of public speaking and so, in an effort to find a way of reducing this fear, I've read A LOT of books on the topic. Read more
Published 13 months ago by DLK
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem
This book is a gem, because of the honesty Berkun shows when he speaks about his own experiences. He discusses many topics related to public speaking and he does so in a very open,... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Harm Hilvers
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed full of great advice
Enjoyable, entertaining and very informative - this book is highly recommended for anyone who does public speaking. Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by P. Whitehouse
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed out loud and may even have learned a thing or two
Highly entertaining and inspiring romp through Scott Berkun's career (so far) as a public speaker.

Scott Berkun was a project manager for years at Microsoft, then left... Read more
Published on 25 May 2012 by Paul Milne
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty, conversational guide to making public presentations
Futurist and best-selling author Scott Berkun knows all about public presentations. He speaks often at high-tech conferences and other pressurized gatherings. Read more
Published on 1 Nov 2011 by Rolf Dobelli
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had read this some years ago
excellent insight into the professional public speaking world in a relaxed and informal way. Some excellent hints and tips. Read more
Published on 27 Aug 2010 by
5.0 out of 5 stars Great War Stories on Public Speaking
Really enjoyed this book and read it in a few hours. Hate to use the old cliche but I couldn't put it down. Read more
Published on 2 Mar 2010 by J. Westworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Motivationally speaking
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... Read more
Published on 21 Feb 2010 by David Swallow
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category