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Confessions of a Public Speaker Paperback – Jan 8 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (Jan. 8 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449301959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449301958
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 313 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #75,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Scott Berkun tells it like it is. Whether you're speaking to 10 people or 1000 people, you will gain insights to take your presentation skills to the next level. It's a rare book that will make you think AND laugh.

-- Tony Hsieh, CEO,

(Tony Hsieh)

Smart, funny, and provocative, Scott Berkun's Confessions puts an very modern and wholly relevant spin on the fine art of public speaking.

-- Suzy Welch, best-selling author and public speaker

(Suzy Welch)

Loved it! This is a very informative and entertaining look at the important art of public speaking. Anyone who speaks for a living— including teachers — will greatly benefit from this book.

-- Garr Reynolds, Author of Presentation Zen

(Garr Reynolds)

Part confessional, part "how-to," this entertaining book is a godsend for anyone who would rather have an appendectomy without anesthetic than address a group in public.

-- Virginia Backaitis,

(Virginia Backaitis)

I've seen Scott speak a few times before, and he knows his stuff. Add to this his sense of humor, plus the fact that pretty much everyone can stand to learn some new ideas about speaking, and this book is a MUST for your collection.

-- Chris Brogan,

(Chris Brogan)

Even if you prepare well and avoid disaster, of course, you may not charm everyone in the audience. But you can at least--with Mr. Berkun's help--avoid being cripplingly nervous before that brown-bag presentation and wishing it were tomorrow.

-- Philip Delves Broughton,

(Philip Delves Broughton)

With tips on how to combat pre-speech butterflies, battling the "tough room" and how not to bore people silly, this book will ensure your next Powerpoint will be a success.

-- John Baichtal,

(John Baichtal)

Your next talk will be ten times better if you read this book first.

-- Gina Trapani, founding editor of

(Gina Trapani)

For those that are contemplating public speaking, or want to improve their current aptitude, it is impossible that after reading the book, that they won't be a better speaker. For those that simply want to know what goes into, and what makes a really good presentation, Confessions of a Public Speaker is also a worthwhile book to read.

-- Ben Rothke,

(Ben Rothke) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Scott Berkun is the bestselling author of The Myths of Innovation,and Making Things Happen. His work as a writer and public speaker haveappeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and other media. He has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington and has been a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC and National Public Radio. His many popular essays and entertaining lectures can be found for free on his blog at

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Serge-alexandre D. Giroux on Feb. 23 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is great. It goes from the big rookie mistakes to little tiny details that can make a noticeable difference on your delivery. The book leave the strange feeling that you have attended or even performed a whole bunch of presentations and after each one, Scott is there, telling you what was good, wrong or what he would have done in that particular situation. Seriously, this book is a "must read" if you want to make sure that your next presentation will be a memorable experience for you and, most important, for your crowd.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Mah on April 25 2010
Format: Hardcover
I loved this humorous, practical, and honest book about the world of public speaking and teaching. It is obvious that Mr. Berkun is an experienced speaker, reflects deeply, and cares about having a positive impact on his audiences. This book is filled with helpful advice that will inevitably transform you into a better teacher provided you PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Lyons on Aug. 1 2012
Format: Paperback
[Originally posted on 7/31/2012 at: [...]]

I first became acquainted with this book when reading reviews for another one of Scott's books, Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds. Though I still plan on reading Mindfire, my interest was temporarily diverted once I realized what Confessions of a Public Speaker was all about.

An excerpt of the book description on reads:

'For managers and teachers ' and anyone else who talks and expects someone to listen ' Confessions of a Public Speaker provides an insider's perspective on how to effectively present ideas to anyone.'

When I finished this book, two words came to mind: hilarious and practical. Scott's openess to share his many mistakes (and there have been many) in public speaking contexts is refreshing. He drew me into each scenario with language that put me right into the seat of his audience, allowing me to see each one unfold as if I were right there laughing with the crowd. But then, out of each one he drew a practical application, whether it was what or what not to do.

Scott's engaging and humourous tone left me always wanting the next page. As a public speaker myself, I appreciated that Scott gave practical techniques over and over again on how to overcome fear, anxiety, awkwardness, and other situations that arise. He has been in just about every speaking scenario possible (though no mention of the local church, my primary setting for speaking) and was candid in sharing both the good and bad from his experiences.

It was gratifying to see the recurring topic of practice. This is an area that I admittedly could do much better at and his encouragement to practice each presentation at length before actually speaking was needed in this author's life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter R. Smith on Aug. 7 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an occasional public speaker, I'm always looking for ways to improve my performance. So I bought this book hoping that I would learn something new. The author is obviously a very experienced speaker and that shows in the easy way that he writes. What I really like is his willingness to talk about the lessons he learned the way - when things went wrong. When the audience was lost in a huge room, or when the technology failed. He isn't afraid to talk about his failures and what he learned from them.

I would recommend this book to anyone starting out in public speaking or anyone, like myself, with some experience who is looking to learn more. It's an easy read and full of useful advice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tzanne on Aug. 4 2010
Format: Hardcover
I found this book very informative as I have only done small 'or forced' presentations where one does not have to worry about people showing up ...and staying...when its been mandated by the department...but what happens when you are a speaker at one of those big conferences! For anyone considering a foray into public speaking, this is a good quick read to judge if that is really want you want to do...good warnings and info on what to expect.... Those who have experience in public speaking will likely find a lot of common ground. After reading the book, I was inspired to go out and find a toastmasters club where I could try out some of the techniques described in the book.
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