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How to Speak How to Listen by Mortimer J.…
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How to Speak How to Listen (original 1983; edition 1997)

by Mortimer J. Adler

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657335,206 (3.96)3
Practical information for learning how to speak and listen more effectively. With over half a million copies in print of his "living classic" How to Read a Book in print, intellectual, philosopher, and academic Mortimer J. Adler set out to write an accompanying volume on speaking and listening, offering the impressive depth of knowledge and accessible panache that distinguished his first book. In How to Speak How to Listen, Adler explains the fundamental principles of communicating through speech, with sections on such specialized presentations as the sales talk, the lecture, and question-and-answer sessions and advice on effective listening and learning by discussion.… (more)
Member:CCHP1
Title:How to Speak How to Listen
Authors:Mortimer J. Adler
Info:Touchstone (1997), Edition: 1st Touchstone Ed, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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How to Speak How to Listen by Mortimer J. Adler (1983)

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A weird, little book. Written as a companion to the author's 40-years-earlier [b:How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading|567610|How to Read a Book The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading|Mortimer J. Adler|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1310993739s/567610.jpg|1633521], the book reveals itself as a relic of the years before Powerpoint, when someone giving a talk would just, well, talk, and sometimes at length. The main body of the book is divided into three parts, basically: how to write/give a speech, how to listen to a speech, and how to have a conversation or discussion. The first part is pretty short; it talks about the importance of organization, how to arrange your notes or text so you aren't boring reading them, gives a very quick gloss of Aristotle's Rhetoric, and argues for why you should have a substantial Q&A period afterwards.

The second part gives advice on paying attention (little by way of practical tips, though), taking notes during a speech, asking questions during Q&A, and—for "important" speeches anyway—the need to make a second set of notes later on, after you've had a chance to review your first notes and put the thoughts in order. This is interesting stuff, because as Adler rightly points out in his introduction, the art of listening isn't taught at all, even though it's much harder than reading since we can't go back and re-listen to something we didn't comprehend. In the present day it's unclear of the extent to which this is a necessary skill, given that a speaker probably has slides to help you follow along, and, if the speech is "important", a listener can likely go back and experience it again on YouTube.

The third and longest part of the book is about two-way speech. Here Adler spends some time dividing conversations into categories: chit-chat vs. discussion with a purpose; practical vs. theoretical; political vs. philosophical; etc. These divisions will be familiar to readers of "How to Read a Book", as they are similar to Adler's high-level taxonomy of texts. Here the material is definitely practical, intended to help conversations and discussions better achieve their intended purpose. In my opinion it's a bit of a mixed bag, ranging from avoid these logical fallacies when responding to another speaker to don't bother to have a conversation with someone who clearly won't change their mind about the subject, which is an important point in the current political climate.

There are, to round this all out, some weird digressions in the text. They range from American public schools are crap and this other book I wrote explains how to fix them, to look at all these reasons why Western civilization as represented by the Great Books is the best, to here's why it's really important to have a world government. These were, at least, generally brief.

The book is even shorter than its 288 page-count suggests, because a good chunk of that is two appendices that contain the text of a couple speeches Adler gave, by way of examples of some points in the main text. While I didn't find either exactly thrilling, the second of these describes a course of readings Adler has assigned as part of an executive seminar series, and in itself looks like a pretty interesting set of readings for someone interested in economic and political philosophy. ( )
  JohnNienart | Jul 11, 2021 |
This book is a classic on effective communication. As the title of the book suggests, it mostly covers speaking and listening. So it discusses the three methods of persuasion; ethos, pathos, and logos. It also goes through methods of listening.

For some reason, whenever I go and read a book like this I imagine it being narrated by a television announcer from the 1950s. It makes for a pleasant read, but it can be distracting sometimes. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
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To Arthur A. Houghton, Jr., who delights in the interrupted speech of good conversation
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How do you make contact with the mind of another person?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Practical information for learning how to speak and listen more effectively. With over half a million copies in print of his "living classic" How to Read a Book in print, intellectual, philosopher, and academic Mortimer J. Adler set out to write an accompanying volume on speaking and listening, offering the impressive depth of knowledge and accessible panache that distinguished his first book. In How to Speak How to Listen, Adler explains the fundamental principles of communicating through speech, with sections on such specialized presentations as the sales talk, the lecture, and question-and-answer sessions and advice on effective listening and learning by discussion.

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