Next book

TED TALKS

THE OFFICIAL TED GUIDE TO PUBLIC SPEAKING

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

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 27, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

Categories:
Next book

BRAVE ENOUGH

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

A lightweight collection of self-help snippets from the bestselling author.

What makes a quote a quote? Does it have to be quoted by someone other than the original author? Apparently not, if we take Strayed’s collection of truisms as an example. The well-known memoirist (Wild), novelist (Torch), and radio-show host (“Dear Sugar”) pulls lines from her previous pages and delivers them one at a time in this small, gift-sized book. No excerpt exceeds one page in length, and some are only one line long. Strayed doesn’t reference the books she’s drawing from, so the quotes stand without context and are strung together without apparent attention to structure or narrative flow. Thus, we move back and forth from first-person tales from the Pacific Crest Trail to conversational tidbits to meditations on grief. Some are astoundingly simple, such as Strayed’s declaration that “Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard.” Others call on the author’s unique observations—people who regret what they haven’t done, she writes, end up “mingy, addled, shrink-wrapped versions” of themselves—and offer a reward for wading through obvious advice like “Trust your gut.” Other quotes sound familiar—not necessarily because you’ve read Strayed’s other work, but likely due to the influence of other authors on her writing. When she writes about blooming into your own authenticity, for instance, one is immediately reminded of Anaïs Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Strayed’s true blossoming happens in her longer works; while this collection might brighten someone’s day—and is sure to sell plenty of copies during the holidays—it’s no substitute for the real thing.

These platitudes need perspective; better to buy the books they came from.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-946909

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Categories:

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 26


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

Next book

UNTAMED

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 26


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

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. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Close Quickview