Monday, October 29, 2012

Book 1: Stand and deliver: How to become a masterful communicator and public speaker and Book 2: Make yourself unforgettable: How to become the person everyone remembers and no one can resist

Book 1: Stand and deliver: How to become a masterful communicator and public speaker 

Book 2: Make yourself unforgettable: How to become the person everyone remembers and no one can resist
By Dale Carnegie

Book reviews by Richard L. Weaver II

The Dale Carnegie books were available (and popular) when I was a student in college.  I never thought much about them until I became a speech-communication major.  They were easy targets of disdain at that time; after all, we were gaining a college education in the very topics Carnegie addressed.  Besides, people were quick to point out, his books carried no footnotes, references, or bibliography and were often perceived to be “a pedestrian approach to communication.”  Once again, in college you get the sources for the ideas you espouse, therefore, it is thought, the ideas are of “higher quality” because they can be supported with credible references.  Whether you accept this idea or not is irrelevant; the only point I am making here is that as a young college student, I knew of these books but never took them seriously.

Both books appear like first-time editions with a 2011 copyright date and no acknowledgment of previous editions.  In the introduction, those who put together this book excuse the use of old examples in this way: “Stand and Deliver frequently draws on incidents and personalities from the not-too-recent past.  True, events such as the first Kennedy-Nixon debate have been discussed before.  But it would be a mistake to turn away from one of the all-time best examples of public speaking issues just for the sake of the calendar” (p. x).  The quotations/examples used throughout the book wreak of old age: Earl Nightingale, Harold Macmillan, Winston Churchill, Andrew Carnegie, Theodore Roosevelt, William James, W. Clement Stone, Henry Ford, Edwin Land, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, J. Pierpont Morgan, Carl Sagan, and Woodrow Wilson, to name a few.  Sports personalities cited include Knute Rockne, Lou Gehrig, and Vince Lombardi among others. That said, the book has been updated and includes, too, more recent examples.

The nuts and bolts of public speaking, if that is what you are looking for, are presented in the book Public Speaking Rules!  All You Need for a GREAT speech! which offers the basic essentials in an easy-to-read 170 pages.

If you are looking for a straightforward advice book about public speaking with numerous quotations and supporting examples, Stand and Deliver delivers the goods.  It is cogent, accurate, and reads quickly and easily.  For each chapter there are three quotations on a page followed by a blank page.  The quotations are interesting but not necessary, and their elimination would reduce the size of this 240-page book by at least 20 pages.

Make Yourself Unforgettable is a much denser book than Stand and Deliver.  Many of the examples/quotations still wreak of old age, and the advice contained is a great deal of common sense.  The advice is competent; however, reading 224 pages of fairly dense text about relationships and self-presentation may be too much for some people.

The information in the book Relationship Rules: For Long-term Happiness, Security, and Commitment can have the same satisfying results; however, this book is easier to read, digest, and understand—and the information contained here isn’t as dense as Carnegie’s.

For over twenty years I wrote a college textbook, Understanding Interpersonal Communication, 7th ed. (HarperCollins) which covered much of the same information as that in Carnegie’s Make Yourself Unforgettable, and I have to say that his material is accurate, interesting, and useful.

I thought his advice on self-improvement is priceless: “Investment in yourself is absolutely the best investment you can make for securing your future.  Yes, it takes some of your free time and energy, and you will have to prioritize.  But you’ll meet new people, you’ll make new friends, and you’ll learn something.  It’s an excellent bargain” (p. 191).

These books deserve re-publication in this new form.  The information and advice is timeless and valuable.  Any book that is specifically designed to help people better themselves, understand others, and make a valuable contribution to community and society merits attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Essays, SMOERs Words-of-Wisdom, Fridays Laugh, book reviews... And Then Some! Thank you for your comment.