Tag: book

Dale Carnegie on Public Speaking

Before my recent talk at the Wine Blogger’s Conference, I reviewed Scott Berkun’s post on the best reading for a public speaker. He recommended ‘Public Speaking for Success,’ Dale Carnegie’s book. I picked up the audio version and listened to it on my drive down to Corning.

There’s a lot to pull out of this book – especially the exercises at the end of each chapter, which I would love to do but were not a great fit for an audiobook – but there were a few things that stood out to me, and really had an impact on how I approach public speaking.

  • Pauses: The way Carnegie discusses pauses, and the examples he uses to demonstrate the power of being selective and intentional in their use, was really interesting.
  • The Golden Mean: Carnegie didn’t describe it this way, but in nearly every area he touched on (gesture, pitch, volume, preparation) rather than advocating an absolute, he encouraged the reader to find a happy middle ground that suited their particular style.
  • Success: He mentioned in a few different ways the fact that an audience arrives hoping for your success. They want nothing more than to gain value from your talk – it’s up to you to respect that expectation, and to really deliver your very best.

If you plan to make public speaking part of your professional or personal life, this little book is absolutely worth your time. It’s a bit dated, but the bones are solid. I would recommend against the audio book, however – the exercises at the end of each chapter sounded very useful, and are really only feasibly usable for folks with a hard copy or digital copy.

Quotes from A More Beautiful Question

When we hit failure, I start to laugh. It’s almost like checking off a box – great,  we got that out of the way. Now we’re that much closer.

– Mick Ebeling


Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true.

– John Keats

Both from page 201 of A More Beautiful Question, by Warren Berger. I just finished it and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Notes from A More Beautiful Question Pages 1 – 88


– Five Habits of Mind: Evidence, Viewpoint, Connection, Conjecture, Relevance. There is value in recognizing a system or process behind questioning and then evaluating those questions. Essentially, looking at my questions, and rather than immediately pursuing an answer, considering the question itself.The big one is Relevance – “Does this matter?” 

– There’s a real value in recognizing the answer that sometimes comes packed in a question – this is the difference between an open and closed question. Consider, “Why is torture effective?” vs. “Is torture effective?” The way a question is asked will result in different answers, and can reveal much about the questioner.

– Asking questions online is different – and easier – than asking questions in person. This is because it allows for a certain amount of anonymity. Especially in work or social cultures where asking questions can indicate weakness, being able to anonymize questions opens up a whole realm of possibility. This reminds me of Gladwell’s Cockpit Culture from Outliers.

– Great quote from Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid, from 1942: “If you dream of something worth doing and then simply go to work on it … if you think of, detail by detail, what you have to do next, it is a wonderful dream even if the end is a long way off, for there are about five thousand steps to be taken before we realize it; and start making the first ten, and stay making those twenty after, it is amazing how quickly you get through those five thousand steps.”

– It’s great to see the power of habit discussed, especially in terms of questioning our long-ingrained ideas. These habits and ideas get caught in a groove, and become psychologically calcified, invulnerable to questioning not because they are the best answers, but simply because they always have been. And that’s not a great reason.

– More on that: “It means thinking of things that are usually assumed to be negative as positive, and vice versa. It can mean reversing assumptions about cause and effect, or what matters most versus least. It means not traveling through life on automatic pilot.

What a Way to Start a Book!

“The antifragile loves randomness and uncertainty, which also means – crucially – a love of errors, a certain class of errors. Anti fragility has a singular property of allowing us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them – and do them well. let me be more aggressive; we are largely better at doing than we are at thinking, thanks to antifragility. I’d rather be dumb and antifragile than extremely smart and fragile, any time.”

From Antifragile