A handy guide for novice and moderately experienced speakers, once you’ve dodged the TED boosterism.

TED TALKS

THE OFFICIAL TED GUIDE TO PUBLIC SPEAKING

The head honcho of the much-watched (and oft-satirized) TED Talks shares how he gets the best out of speakers.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, writes Anderson, clocked in at 17 minutes, 40 seconds: just a hair under the 18 minutes allotted to speakers at the TED Conference, a group that’s included high-wattage thinkers like Bill Gates, Andrew Solomon, and Steven Pinker. The King comparison is apt, since Anderson writes with a preacher’s enthusiasm and messianic demeanor about the virtues of TED Talks and about why you might want to master the skills involved in presenting one. From appropriate dress to calming your nerves to revising to pacing, the bulk of the book is filled with tips. Hone the “throughline” of your talk—its (usually counterintuitive) point—into 15 words. Own your vulnerability and express it onstage. Emphasize parable and metaphor in your storytelling. Avoid bombarding people with slides, especially ones with lots of bullet points (“bullets belong in The Godfather”). Avoid airy expressions of gratitude when you start and finish, and focus instead on more earthbound questions and assertions that stoke curiosity. Anderson provides examples from the TED vault to bolster his points, mentioning speaker shipwrecks anonymously and calling out particularly surprising and successful ones by name—he refers a few times to Monica Lewinsky’s 2015 talk as an example of intense preparation, fending off fear, and telling a story that resonates. The author’s exhortations to constantly revise, rehearse, and rethink your story are all unimpeachably practical. (Indeed, the book unintentionally doubles as a helpful writing guide.) So it’s disappointing that the closing chapters devolve into a TED history lesson and overenthusiastic cheerleading about the organization’s world-changing powers—an oddly soft conclusion from a writer who demands we stick the landing.

A handy guide for novice and moderately experienced speakers, once you’ve dodged the TED boosterism.

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-63449-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 25

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

more