Bad Public Speaking Books

by R. L. Howser on December 21, 2013 · 2 comments

“If you want to be a successful speaker”, the experts say, “you’ve got to write a book.” As with most questionable advice, this pernicious bit of conventional wisdom is based in the truth.

It’s true that successful celebrity writers are always in demand as speakers and that they command high fees. Some best-selling writers even make more money from their speaking than they do from their writing.

It’s also true that, with the advent of ebook readers and print on demand (POD) presses, it has never been easier to write, publish and market a book. Social media platforms have made it possible for anyone to build a virtual tribe of followers. Amazon and Apple will handle your fulfillment and billing for you.

It’s a golden age of self-publishing………, and there are a lot of bad public speaking books out there.

Honestly, it’s not so much that they are bad, as that they are pointless. The majority of the speakers writing books are new to the field. They might have some natural talent as a speaker, but most of what they know they learned from other speakers.

As I read their books, all I can think of is, “That’s a Craig Valentine phrase”, “They stole that from Brian Tracy” or “That’s a Zig Ziglar story”. The rest is usually generic advice that we could get from any airline in-flight magazine, such as “be yourself”, “make eye contact” and “speak clearly”.

As marketing pieces, such books might seem impressive, if we overlook the often spotty editing and poor book and cover design, but it would be nice if the author had offered some original insights or ideas.

Otherwise, they’re just big business cards.

This post was written by...

– who has written 137 posts on Presentation Dynamics.

Contact the author

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Richard I. Garber December 27, 2013 at 8:25 am


What’s truly horrifying is to contemplate how many more bad books could be written. To find a title for one, start with an Aspect (Body Language, Fear, PowerPoint, etc.), followed by a Type (Ignite Presentation, TED Talk, Pecha Kucha etc.), and a Niche Market (Corporate Lawyers, Homeopaths, Nurses, Realtors, etc.).

How about Diluting Your Fear of Public Speaking: Pecha Kucha for Homeopaths?


2 R. L. Howser December 27, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks, Richard.
I’m just about to head to bed and now I’m guaranteed to have nightmares.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: