Selecting A New Book For Public Speaking


Our Public Speaking team has been through a lot.  We purchased a platform for teaching our textbook to our online students, and the entire thing reminds me of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”  Nothing worked as promised, and this made the students angry and the teachers frustrated and exhausted.

Now we are looking into a new book, the anti-textbook.  We want something relevant to our students, something with a fresh perspective and major insight into the presentation revolution.  Before we make our big decisions, here are some of our  contenders:


Well, so it’s not a REAL bracket, but it is as much as I could get within the limitations of Keynote’s 1024×768 slide size.

What book would you suggest for our revamped Public Speaking class?

Note: Another class already uses Nancy Duarte’s Resonate; otherwise, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.


5 thoughts on “Selecting A New Book For Public Speaking

  1. Without a doubt, my two favorite books on presenting are The Naked Presenter and Presentation Zen. While you might not want two books by the same author, those two books are all you need for developing strong presenters. I would dare the students to try and master the techniques in those two books. (That’s what I continually strive to do. I’m not even close yet.)

    (Embarrased to admit I haven’t read Scott Berkun’s book yet, but it’s on my pile.)

    Have you read “100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People” by Susan Weinschenk? Good stuff. I might add that to the list.

    • We needed another woman on our best presentation books list, Steve! Thanks for the recommendation… I’ve never heard of this book but will check it out ASAP. When are you releasing your best-seller?! :)

  2. Alex: Nice to virtually meet you and I’m so honored to be mentioned in the same breath with my heroes! Here is my take on the books you cite and a few others (mine – How to Deliver a TED Talk – excluded):

    – Best book for presentation design: Presentation Zen (Garr Reynolds) slightly edges out my #2 in this category SlideOlogy (Nancy Duarte). Both of these are written more for large keynote presentations. For corporate presentations, I’d go with a Gene Zelazny’s Say It With Presentations. Zelazny translates the PhD-level guru on the subject, Barbara Minto, into easily digestible form.

    – Best book on story: Tie for me between Resonate (Nancy Duarte) and The Story Factor (Annette Simmons). However, the best books on story come from the screenplay writing word with The Writer’s Journey (by Christopher Vogler) being one of my favorite books on the planet.

    – Best book on language: I actually like Frank Luntz’s book Win better than Words That Work. I suppose I would throw Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People as well as Chialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion into this category.

    • Hey Jeremey,

      Thanks so much for your comment and for your email today! It is an honor to “meet” you.

      You’ve recommended so many great options I’ve never heard of: Zelazny, Simmons, Vogler… Can’t wait to explore these.

      Thanks again for connecting with me.


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