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On Speaking Well

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  18 reviews
For anyone who fears the thought of writing and giving a speech--be it to business associates, or at a wedding--help is at hand. Acclaimed presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan shares her secrets to becoming a confidence, persuasive speaker demystifying topics including:

Finding you own authentic voice

Developing a text that interest you

Acing the all-important first paragra
ebook, 224 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published February 17th 1999)
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Sarah Aubrey

Great speechwriters are savants. They play the role of intermediary-walking a tight rope between the mind and ego of the speaker who will deliver the words and the audience members who will hear them. Speechwriters are charged with transcribing another person's thoughts into a vocal presentation that will positively impact those listening. The speech writer helps the speaker deliver an effective message while always striving not to step on said speaker’s toes. It must be an exhausting!

I’ve follo
I can’t really say that I found Peggy Noonan’s “On Speaking Well” particularly useful — I grabbed a copy because she was a former speechwriter for Presidents Reagan and Bush (the first).

If you’re ever in the business of writing for someone else, you’re probably better off reading books like “Kennedy” by Theodore Sorensen (which I actually started yesterday).

Sometimes, you can learn more about what might work simply by reading about someone else’s experience rather than reading a reference book l
For anyone who fears the thought of writing and giving a speech--be it to business associates, or at a wedding--help is at hand. Acclaimed presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan shares her secrets to becoming a confidence, persuasive speaker demystifying topics including:/ / • Finding you own authentic voice/ • / • Developing a text that interest you/ • / • Acing the all-important first paragraph/ • / • Using logic to move your audience/ • / • Creating, developing, and reinventing the "core spee ...more
Joe Miller
This will rank among the most influential books of my life. It's given me an entirely new (and improved) perspective on writing and political rhetoric.

Even if you're not a speech writer, or not planning to give a speech, it's worth reading if only to understand why Obama's a good speaker and Hillary is not.
Meg Cusack
Jul 28, 2010 Meg Cusack added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to learn how to speak well and not bore people at a presentation!
I learned: no speech should go longer than 20 minutes; stick to one subject;every speech has a job to do; people like short digressions; to achieve true adulthood is to understand the simplicity of things.
Some good tips in the book but I didn't finish it all. Would have liked the cliff note version!
Mel Chua
Clear speaking and clear writing have a lot in common. Use short phrases. Dashes are fine - they break up a sentence. Many anecdotes on what makes powerful speeches work, mostly drawn from political examples (Noonan was a political speechwriter).
Even non-conservatives can take away many valuable lessons from this one. Noonan is one of the most well-respected writers of our time and my all-time favorite journalist (read her Wall Street Journal column.)
Peggy Noonan is THE source in speechwriting and public speaking. She uses relevant examples and proper wit in her corollary to William Zinssers age-old classic "On Writing Well."
i think she's an amazingly talented speech writer, i read her stuff for Reagan quite often, and i enjoyed the book's style...but she could have written with a less partisan bend.
Philip Meinel
This book helped me write and present a short speech that I had the opportunity to give. Very experienced advice and an entertaining read.
Noonan is a fantastic writer, and even though this is an oddly-organized and largely anecdotal book, it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Was geared more towards formal speeches than the sort of speaking I do, but I benefited from reading it all the same.
I always reread this before giving a speech of any size. Love her easy, conversational style and - oh yeah - the tips.
She has a knack for writing for the ear. Lots of good advice, regardless of your politics.
Great book if you want ot learn to write speeches, or just write clearly.
Lots of good tips for general writing, but I found Lehrman to be more useful.
On Speaking Well by Peggy Noonan (1999)
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Peggy Noonan is an author of seven books on politics, religion and culture, a weekly columnist for The Wall Street Journal, and was a Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan. She is considered a political conservative.

More about Peggy Noonan...
When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father What I Saw at the Revolution: A Political Life in the Reagan Era Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now The Case Against Hillary Clinton

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