Confession of a Public Speaker Review

For the last couple of weeks I wrote about public speaking. Also, I explained why I think it’s one of the most important skills of a programmer. Today, I want to share a book with you.

It’s called Confession of a Public Speaker and is written by Scott Berkun, former Microsoft engineer and executive. Almost ten years ago, Scott decided to pursue his dream to become a professional writer and public speaker. Did he succeed?

The first chapters of the book are related to a fear of public speaking. They are supported by interesting facts and statistics and make you look at your fear from a different perspective.

You’re never told to imagine people naked at your job interview or at the dentist, and for good reason. Being naked or imagining naked people in the daytime makes most things more complicated, not less, which is one of the reasons we invented clothes.

Next chapters are focused on the audience—how to entertain, how to inspire and how to work with.

The main advantage a speaker has over the audience is knowing what comes next.

Additionally, there are lots of useful tips to keep your audience attention. After that, author explains the importance of a research before presentation and its influence on the tough crowd. Also, settings is discussed in the following chapter as well.

The worst situation, even worse than being in a bad room, is being in a big, bad empty room. Speaking in a huge, boring, rectangular, dimly lit room that seats 1,000 people is challenging enough, but with only 100 attendees present, these rooms feel like black holes.

Those were my favorite parts of the book and the most entertaining ones. Then, his experience from TV shooting follows, but it wasn’t interesting for me, probably because of the fact I’m not aspiring to become a movie star.

The book started marvelously and continued very well, but half the way through begun to lose its pace. I liked the style of the author, but not the stories from other successful speakers. Which is, what the last chapter (appendix) is all about.

Nevertheless, the book is full of personal adventures and experiences written in an entertaining informal tone. The author sounds humbly and doesn’t pretend he is a speaking star.

To answer the question, whether Scott succeeded, I am pretty sure he did. He is a professional public speaker and he found himself an amusing writing style.

If you are interested in this book, you can get it at Amazon.


To sum it up, Confession of a Public Speaker is a very good book. It’s written in a good and entertaining pace. Personally, I liked the first half much more than the second one.

If you are looking for a complete manual of public speaking, you won’t find it here. However, if you already have some experience with it, you will find lots of great tips how to improve the skill.

I would definitely recommend this book for every programmer, that needs to speak with others, and everyone with the interest in public speaking.



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