I Have Something to Say: Mastering the Art of Public Speaking in an Age of Disconnection

John Bowe. Random House, $27 (240p) ISBN 978-1-400-06210-2
Journalist Bowe (Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy) posits that formal speech training might be a “cure for the loneliness of the modern world” in his breezy look at the educational nonprofit Toastmasters International. Inspired by his step-cousin Bill von Hunsdorf, who ended 43 years of social isolation and got married thanks to Toastmasters, Bowe visited club chapters across America, interviewed members, and eventually joined the group himself. He grounds the program’s methodology in the study of rhetoric in ancient Greece, documents his own public speaking missteps, and profiles Toastmaster success stories, including a Louisiana man who served 34 years in prison for robbery—and was denied parole four times—before earning his release by “bolster[ing] his ability to ‘explain’ himself” through the program. A helpful appendix summarizes steps readers should take toward making a successful oration, such as thinking about the audience and defining the purpose for speaking. Bowe occasionally oversells the life-changing impact of good and bad speech, but he writes with style and wit, and laces the narrative with useful examples of rhetorical devices in action. The result is a practical and entertaining paean to the value of connecting with people through the spoken word. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/08/2020
Release date: 08/11/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-593-13316-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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