How to Speak, How to Listen Paperback – 1 Apr 1997
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About the Author
Dr. Mortimer J. Adler was Chairman of the Board of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Director of the Institute for Philosophical Research, Honorary Trustee of the Aspen Institute, and authored more than fifty books. He died in 2001.
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Adler suggests an order for introducing into a presentation Aristotle's time-tested tripartite of persuasion as follows: ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic). In addition, he examines two indispensable considerations of speech preparation, once again borrowing from Greek: taxis (the structure) and lexis (the language).
Some of his observations are memorable:
"Always risk talking over (your audience's) heads."
"Truly great books ... are the few books that are over everybody's head all of the time."
In speeches, "On the one hand, the language employed and the sentences constructed should be clear without being plain. On the other hand, they should have a certain elevation above the ordinary without being obscure."
"The most prevalent mistake that people make about both listening and reading is to regard them as passively receiving rather than actively participating."
"To disagree before you understand is impertinent. To agree is inane."
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