Best Books to Learn Public Speaking

public speaking books

Here are our recommended, best-selling public speaking books, which will enhance your public speaking abilities and help you effectively engage your audience in an exchange of ideas. These books share the best methods to practice and perfect your skills of communication and oratory skills. 

Some public speaking books focus on developing your speaking style, such as creating your speaking style and manner, which will help you build your communication repertoire.

Some books will teach you how to prepare your speech, create a compelling opening, closing, introduction, and show and tell. Other learning subjects include introducing your speech, sharing positive statements, funny anecdotes, and asking questions to encourage participation. Whether your public speaking skills are just beginning to grow, these books will help you build your confidence and stand out from the crowd! 

FTC Disclosure: Bad Grammarian may receive compensation, with no added cost to you, from the products we showcase. 

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds” by Carmine Gallo

Public speaking coach and bestselling author Carmine Gallo has broken down hundreds of TED talks and interviewed the most popular TED presenters, as well as the top researchers in the fields of psychology, communications, and neuroscience to reveal the nine secrets of all successful TED presentations. Gallo's step-by-step method makes it possible for anyone to deliver a presentation that is engaging, persuasive, and memorable. There are several Carmine Gallo books on this list, and this one is a favorite.

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking” by Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson has worked with all the TED speakers who have inspired us the most, and here he shares insights from such favorites as Sir Ken Robinson, Salman Khan, Monica Lewinsky, and more — everything from how to craft your talk's content to how you can be most effective on stage. This is a must-read for anyone ready to create an impact with their ideas.

The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t” by Carmine Gallo

In The Storyteller's Secret, Gallo explains why the brain is hardwired to love stories – especially rags-to-riches stories – and how the latest science can help you craft a persuasive narrative that wins hearts and minds. “The art of storytelling can be used to drive change,” says billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson. And since the next decade will see the most change our civilization has ever known, your story will radically transform your business, your life, and the lives of those you touch. Ideas that catch on are wrapped in story.

Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great” by Carmine Gallo

In Five Stars, Carmine Gallo, bestselling author of Talk Like TED, breaks down applying Aristotle's formula of persuasion to inspire contemporary audiences. As the nature of work changes and technology carries things across the globe in a moment, communication skills become more valuable―not less. Gallo interviews neuroscientists, economists, historians, billionaires, and business leaders of companies like Google, Nike, and Airbnb to show first-hand how they use their words to captivate your imagination and ignite your dreams. You can't go wrong with any of Carmine Gallo's books.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience” by Carmine Gallo

This is as close as you'll ever get to having the master presenter himself speak directly in your ear. Communications expert Carmine Gallo has studied and analyzed the very best of Jobs's performances, offering point-by-point examples, tried-and-true techniques, and proven presentation secrets that anyone can master. You'll learn how to take charge of a room, create an inspiring brand story, deliver unforgettable moments—and do it powerfully, effortlessly, and effectively.

Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History’s Greatest Speakers” by James C. Humes

Author, historian, and world-renowned speaker James C. Humes—who wrote speeches for five American presidents—shows you how great leaders through the ages used simple yet incredibly effective tricks to speak, persuade, and win throngs of fans and followers. Inside, you'll discover how Napoleon Bonaparte mastered the use of the pregnant pause to grab attention, how Lady Margaret Thatcher punctuated her most serious speeches with the help of subtle props, how Ronald Reagan could win even the most hostile crowd with carefully timed wit, and much, much more.

The Art of Public Speaking” by Joseph Berg Esenwein and Dale Carnegie – Free Download

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. A pioneer in the field of self-help, Dale Carnegie distilled his experiences as a salesman and lecturer in his first guide to successful speech-making, The Art of Public Speaking. This predecessor to his bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People, was co-written with J. B. Esenwein. Its direct, practical advice for emphasizing ideas for easy comprehension and high impact ranges from finding an appropriate rhythm to conquering stage fright.

How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking” by Dale Carnegie

Drawing on Dale Carnegie's years of experience as a business trainer, this book will show you how to overcome the natural fear of public speaking, to become a successful speaker, and even learn to enjoy it.

Public Speaking for Success: The Complete Program, Revised and Updated” by Dale Carnegie

While up-to-date in its language and points of reference, Public Speaking for Success preserves the full range of ideas and methods that appeared in the original: including Carnegie's complete speech and diction exercises, which follow each chapter, as the author originally designated them.

The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking” by Dale Carnegie

Business, social and personal satisfaction depend heavily upon a person's ability to communicate clearly. Public speaking is an important skill which anyone can acquire and develop. It is also the very best method of overcoming self-consciousness and building confidence, courage and enthusiasm. This book that has literally put millions on the highway to greater accomplishment and success can show you how to have maximum impact as a speaker. It will help you to acquire basic public speaking skills, building confidence, earning the right to talk, sharing the talk with the audience.

slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations” by Nancy Duarte

Written by Nancy Duarte, President and CEO of Duarte Design, the firm that created the presentation for Al Gore's Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, this book is full of practical approaches to visual story development that can be applied by anyone. The book combines conceptual thinking and inspirational design, with insightful case studies from the world's leading brands. Nancy Duarte has written a variety of books on this subject, more of our favorites are below.

HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations” by Nancy Duarte

Terrified of speaking in front of a group? Or simply looking to polish your skills? No matter where you are on the spectrum, this guide will give you the confidence and the tools you need to get results. Another excellent Nancy Duarte book on presentations.

Written by presentation expert Nancy Duarte, the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations will help you:

  • Win over tough crowds
  • Organize a coherent narrative
  • Create powerful messages and visuals
  • Connect with and engage your audience
  • Show people why your ideas matter to them
  • Strike the right tone, in any situation

Illuminate: Ignite Change Through Speeches, Stories, Ceremonies, and Symbols” by Nancy Duarte and Patti Sanche

In Illuminate, acclaimed author Nancy Duarte and communications expert Patti Sanchez equip you with the same communication tools that great leaders like Jobs, Howard Schultz, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to move people. Duarte and Sanchez lay out a plan to help you lead people through the five stages of transformation using speeches, stories, ceremonies, and symbols. We just love the content and visuals of these Nancy Duarte books.

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences” by Nancy Duarte

Presentations are meant to inform, inspire, and persuade audiences. So why then do so many audiences leave feeling like they've wasted their time? All too often, presentations don't resonate with the audience and move them to transformative action.

Just as the author's first book helped presenters become visual communicators, Resonate helps you make a strong connection with your audience and lead them to purposeful action. The author's approach is simple: building a presentation today is a bit like writing a documentary. Using this approach, you'll convey your content with passion, persuasion, and impact.

Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life” by Michael Port

In Steal the Show, New York Times best-selling author, top-rated corporate speaker, and former professional actor Michael Port teaches you how to make the most of your own moments in the spotlight. He makes it easy to give your presentations a clear focus, engage your listeners, manage your nerves, play the right role in every situation to give your message maximum impact, and much more. Drawing on his MFA training at the prestigious Graduate Acting Program at New York University, Port has engineered a system that the non-actor can use to ensure his or her voice is heard when it matters most.

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