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Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History's Greatest Speakers
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Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History's Greatest Speakers

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,285 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Turn Any Presentation into a Landmark Occasion
Ever wish you could captivate your boardroom with the opening line of your presentation, like Winston Churchill in his most memorable speeches? Or want to command attention by looming larger than life before your audience, much like Abraham Lincoln when, standing erect and wearing a top hat, he towered over seven feet? Now, you
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 23rd 2002 by Three Rivers Press
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  1,285 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Jul 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: pedagogy

1. Power Pause. Stand, Stare and Command
Stage silence before speak. Pause to absorb the question and put your thoughts into words. Frame your reply in your mind. Try to lock your eyes on each of your listeners. In your own mind each word of your opening sentence. Every second you wait strengthens the impact of your opening words. (=strategic silence)

2. Power Opener. "Being with a Bang!"
Opening with a startling fact or dramatic news. Crushing a Cliché, and Parenthetical(delayed) Praise.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book goes through details of speaking from opening to ending. What I enjoyed most was the ideas, supporting facts, and real stories from famous speakers to illustrate the point. The reader will not only learn about speaking but gain quotes that are entertaining as well as meaningful. The reader will also learn lots of great historical facts that would make great trivia questions.

The book is well written and researched. It is easy to read and delivers practical advice for speakers. Humes also
Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it
The book had great suggestions and helps for public speakers, but I didn't feel like Mr. Humes took his own advice. I felt like he said in three pages what could have been said in a paragraph. Read it for the good ideas, but feel free to skim.
Robert Case
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in leadership or public speaking.
A practical guide to leadership and effective communication, compiled into 21 easy to read and accessible chapters. I am keeping my copy near my desk for future reference.
Cyndie Courtney
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Cyndie by: Michael Ellsberg
A good public speaking book with lots of good general tips especially on the more artistic and stylistic elements of speaking. I especially liked the examples illustrating the use of poetic devices in speeches to make them more memorable.

However, I just couldn't get over how WASPy this book was. Seemed clearly written by and for privileged white christian men looking for promotions within their company or how to be less shy next week at the Rotary. Some disquieting comments about how great it
Rosie Nguyễn
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good tips on how to be a better public speaker. Applying it for my next speech, kaka. Aim to be another Franklin, or maybe "Silent Cal", or Abraham Lincoln, or George Washington one day, kakaka.
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
Author, James C. Humes offers great tips on how to be a more effective public speaker. Supported by stories and anecdotes of some of history's greatest public speakers (Churchill, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Reagan and others), Humes offers twenty-one pointers, each preceded by the word "Power": the Pause, Opener, Presence, Point, Brief, Quote, Stats, Outrage, Wit, Parable, Gesture, Reading, Poetry, Line, Question, Word, Active, Dollar, Button, Closer, Audacity. Not all of the above will be meaningful ...more
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This book has given me an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into speech preparation, and the benefits of the kind of presentation that's talked about - as opposed to purely preparing content and winging delivery.

I didn't realise how much work Churchill must have put into the preparation of speeches, but he knew his stuff and he really worked hard at it.

The long term aim of this speech writer seems to be that a single line is remembered from a speech (p41). That shows clearly the
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of the best public speaking books I've ever read. Combine it with a book/course on non-verbal communication and with practice you will become a rockstar!
Alan Wang
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
*Listened in audiobook format during plane rides to Shanghai and from Tokyo*

Solid advice, slightly unconventional. Serves as practical guide. A bit dragged out due to litany of examples to support each point. Could be much more concise in presentation. Author is high authority on the subject.

1) Power Pause
- Before speaking draw attention with pause

2) Power Open
- Never begin with the usual pleasantries. Grab attention instead
- Give thanks in the middle of speech instead of at the beginning;
Humorous anecdotes and great insights culled from close study of several of our greatest orators--Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan--put together by a man who served as speechwriter for five U.S. Presidents make for a tremendous read. This was lots of fun, and I learned a lot about excellent oratory and quite a few good tips that work for the written language as well. I will buy a copy and read and apply quite a few of his principles.
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of the best books i have read so far. It suggests practical techniques as to how to improve public speaking skills.

I highly recommend it because I found that the author suggested techniques, from how to prepare for a speech, to how to dress, and also how to stage/deliver a speech.

I think that this book is a must-have for anyone who wants to perfect the art of public speaking!
Carol Mann Agency
"As a student of speech, I very much enjoyed this intriguing historic approach to public speaking. Humes creates a valuable and practical guide."
Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO, FOX News

"I love this book. I've followed Humes's lessons for years, and he combines them all into one compact, hard-hitting resource. Get this book on your desk now."
Chris Matthews, Hardball
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kodomo
Enjoyable read. Lots of Churchill quotes. Apparently Churchill is quoted more than anyone in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.
With credit to the reviewer WhizKid, here are the "secrets" discussed in the book:

1. Power Pause. Stand, Stare and Command
Stage silence before speak. Pause to absorb the question and put your thoughts into words. Frame your reply in your mind. Try to lock your eyes on each of your listeners. In your own mind each word of your opening sentence. Every second you wait
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-deck
One of the best books that I've ever reading about speaking.
Stephanie Scotti
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Its often said that you cant judge a book by its cover. Well, it turns out you cant always judge a book by its title, either.

At first, I dismissed James Humes Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln, assuming it would be full of historical platitudes and anecdotal stories rather than actionable advice. Instead, I discovered a terrific reference tool for novice and seasoned presenters alike including me.

Each of the 21 chapters in this surprisingly quick read offers solid advice for enhancing
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
While this book certainly contains some tips and advice you can use to improve the quality of your speeches, this book doesn't live up to its name.

Mostly a collection of interesting anecdotes and pieces of famous speeches (occasionally interspersed with the writer's own less-impressive work), I found this book to be tedious and poorly written. While I'm sure Mr. Humes is a good speech writer given his employment record, he has attempted to write a book leaning heavily on his ability to write a
Jaron Dunford
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-business

If you want to sound like a leader, start strongly. Mediocre speakers meander in their opening phrases of pleasantry. The difference between so-so and superb speakers is often this: One begins banally, the other with a bang

Whats your QED Quod Erat Demonstrada. Dont you remember your geometry. Whats the bottom line. In one sentence! What is it you want your audience to do when the speech is over? If you do not know that before you start to write the talk, youre wasting your gosh darn time
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-again
Wow! So I just gave this one a try, just by the title (obviously not the ideal way to pick a book). At first I was not enjoying it and thinking it was a bit of a waste of my time and generic. But, half way through I started to respect the advice the author gave. He is just about as experienced as you can get with speeches. He has written speeches for multiple presidents, collaborated and worked with many other presidential speech writers, consults for CEO's speeches, and has done a number of ...more
Bernadette Meri Martinez
Nov 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
This blowhard has archaic notions about how he thinks women should dress and behave and lines nothing more than hearing the sound of his own voice. He idolizes old white men to the extent is fetishism and seems to think there is no place for anything other than his own way of doing anything. He's an outdated, name dropping has been who only wants to remind anyone who will listen of all the things he's done and why he's right and everything else is wrong. The way he raises his voice to portray a ...more
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Be a Power Speaker

This book is consistently quotable. In every chapter theres an anecdote or a quote that is fun and lively and useful in other contexts. The author has a ton of public speaking experience and is willing to share it with the reader in a pleasant and entertaining way.

Though you wont get much help with the content of a speech per say, you will get help with crafting the message and your delivery. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get better at public speaking.
Mar 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
It's what all of these books are.

The audacity chapter is funny, though, given that it starts with "muh Ben Franklin...", which is absolutely edgy and unexpected. Who would mention Ben Franklin in a positive light? That's so totally crazy and out there. Man. This guy is a crazy edgy guy. Wow. Such woke, so wow.

I'm enthralled by this work, and will act as the author's golem, out in the world, with his script in my head. That's how sold I am.
Jeff Reffert
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
James Humes does an incredible job of using clear prose to explain some amazing tips and tricks of crafting and presenting an image not just during a speaking engagement but also in life. My particular favorite is the section on the Power Pause, Power Gesture, and use of accessories and signature symbols to form ones image. Loved it! Highly
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: guide
Humes writes a wonderful and captivating guide to breaking away from usual mistakes that people make anytime they stand in front of large audiences or small audiences . " let the facts speak for themselves" is only useful for those who are afraid of guiding people into making a conclusion they otherwise would not have made if it werent for those guiding them.
Jeff Ammons
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Some great suggestions and guidance in here.

The book feels antiquated though, there are a few vaguely sexist jokes or anecdotes referenced in the book and a testimonial by Roger Ailes on the back doesn't help. If you can overlook that though, there are some good tips for writing and delivering more impactful speaches.
Heather Lewis
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Useful, practical history lesson (including women-specific advice). The author is old school, debatably sexist at times, but his viewpoint is one that is likely held by many in his age bracket. (Advice worth taking if you want to be broadly successful with many demographics.)
Ismail Elshareef
A good reference for public speakers on how to utilize pauses, words, rhyme, parables, quotes, amongst many more, to deliver a memorable speech. He tells great anecdotes from Churchill and Lincoln's life to emphasize the points for each of these tools. A fun, fast read.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
It is short and easy to read while still being pretty helpful in making your speeches more purposeful. Some of the references are a little dated, and its best to have YouTube pulled up so you can see the speeches he mentions as you read.
James Chessor
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is my personal favorite so far this year. It is stacked full of great advice for anyone who speaks, teaches or preaches. It is entertaining and filled with hilarious and powerful antidotes.
Juliette Weiss
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Like the idea of this book in concept but execution was pretty poor. Its a bit contradictory how the advice is to keep things succinct and the book has a lot of redundancies itself. A bit outdated as well - especially in relationship to the comments about what women should wear. ...more
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James C. Humes was Ronald Reagan's speechwriter. He also wrote speeches for George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower. He has served as a communications advisor to major U.S. corporations, including IBM and DuPont. He is the author of twenty-three other books.

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