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How to Speak How to Listen [Kindle Edition]

Mortimer J. Adler
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.38
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

Practical information for learning how to speak and listen more effectively.

Drawing on decades of experience as educator and philosopher, Mortimer J. Adler gives the listener a short course in effective communication filled with the Adler wisdom and wit. Both instructive and practical, How to Speak, How to Listen will be invaluable to everyone: salespeople and executives involved in conferences and negotiations, politicians, lecturers, and teachers, as well as families seeking to improve communication among themselves.

Editorial Reviews


''[Adler] offers us both a fascinating theoretical analysis of oral communication and practical tips derived from his long years of experience. This book will be appreciated by anyone who ever has to get up before an audience and speak.'' --Chicago Tribune

About the Author

MORTIMER J. ADLER (1902-2001) served as the chairman of Encyclopædia Britannica's board of editors, director of the Institute for Philosophical Research, and senior associate and founder of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies. He authored the well-known How to Read a Book and the intellectual autobiography Philosopher at Large and was coeditor, with Charles Van Doren, of Great Treasury of Western Thought, declared the Reference Book of 1977 by the American Library Association.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1995 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0684846470
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (June 17, 2008)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00317G7BK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,067 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
131 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first 90 pages are worth their weight in gold! November 25, 1996
By A Customer
This is the best book, bar none, that I have ever seen on this subject. Adler takes some of the classical Greek writers ideas about persuasive speaking and "updates" them, makes them more understandable, and provides concrete illustrations of how it is done. He helps you to better grasp the process of outlining, and provides an example of a speech he had given that employs the "methodology" of the text. Very readable, very insightful
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176 of 188 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Teacher June 17, 2000
I was hoping that this would be the only book I would need as a guide to developing my knowledge and skill as a public speaker. Rather, the book is about the oral communication process in all contexts. Thus delivering prepared speeches, in particular the lecture, was just one element of it. There is considerable emphasis on the listening component--rightfully so, given that Adler argues that listening well is the component of verbal communication that is the most difficult to learn and teach, and hence the most lacking. The book is a companion to Adler's "How to Read a Book", and in fact there are numerous references to it. Although the book turned out to be something different than I had hoped, I nevertheless found it beneficial. It is packed with helpful ideas and guidelines on speaking and listening in various contexts. I also enjoyed reading the book because it helped me to improve my vocabulary, which is one of the side benefits of reading any book by Adler. He is truly a fine teacher.
A few of the key points include: Silent listening vs. active listening, Guidelines for note-taking, Several do's and don'ts of effective conversation, and Instructive speech vs. persuasive speech
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mortimer J. Adler's "How to Speak How to Listen" makes several instructive points for the practical person seeking a theoretical framework as well as the novice professional speaker and meeting participant. These suggestions also connect well to writing at work.

Adler suggests an order for introducing into a presentation Aristotle's time-tested tripartite of persuasion as follows: ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic). In addition, he examines two indispensable considerations of speech preparation, once again borrowing from Greek: taxis (the structure) and lexis (the language).

Some of his observations are memorable:

"Always risk talking over (your audience's) heads."

"Truly great books ... are the few books that are over everybody's head all of the time."

In speeches, "On the one hand, the language employed and the sentences constructed should be clear without being plain. On the other hand, they should have a certain elevation above the ordinary without being obscure."

"The most prevalent mistake that people make about both listening and reading is to regard them as passively receiving rather than actively participating."

"To disagree before you understand is impertinent. To agree is inane."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly "must read" book. July 19, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Every school teaches reading and writing. Speaking and listening are harder, and not often attempted. For everyone who uses spoken words to persuade, to sell, to inform, to inspire, there is no better text to study.

Truly listening is an art that seems rare, these days. I have known people who really listen and are a delight to be with. They ignore distractions and are not waiting to top or disagree with what you are saying, but hearing you.

Adler has said, "Before you can say 'I agree' or 'I disagree', you must be able to say,'I understand'".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book October 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is valuable for advancing the cause of peace. Adler argues that conversation between two people should be with acceptance of each other as equals. Conversation should aim toward mutual understanding. The participants can disagree, but they should understand each other. He argues that this skill in speaking and listening is vital in escaping war or violence. In the last chapter he puts this concern in a clear perspective. He argues that the skills are vital for the success of western civilization and it's survival. I think he is successful in his writing in making this point. His passion is not so clear until the reader finishes the book. However, a different organization of the book would probably not be quite so good. Only the diligent reader tastes the sweetest fruit.
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68 of 102 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Long on commentary July 28, 2002
Adler is obviously a very learned man and a very successful teacher. I found his argument that listening and speaking were critical skills left ignored by most educational institutions to be very well structured, and, as confirmed by my own experiences, very accurate.
That said, I listened to the unabridged audio version of this book and found it a long treatise on oral communications in society rather than a practical book on self-improvement.
I did find parts of it valuable, but the aggregate of these parts were only a fraction of the 7+ running hours. I probably would have been more pleased with the paper book version that I could skim, pick and choose.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 7, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Incredibly wonderful. Following his advise makes one a superb speaker.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Love it April 7, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is very helpful for class. Listening is an art. I would recommend this book to everyone . Fast food drive through window associates need to read this book. I would recommend this book to everyone that has to associate with people in all areas of life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Should be required reading for everyone. Adler was a gifted lecturer and shared much wisdom.
Published 2 months ago by Michael
2.0 out of 5 stars Truisms
I must have missed something - I have always heard of what a great thinker Mortimer Adler was and wanted to read his books. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Reader in NC
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Ideas
This book is an good addition to How to Read a Book. There are many good ideas for helping students learn to speak and listen.
Published 9 months ago by Joan A Cable
5.0 out of 5 stars SPEAKING MADE EASY
An excellent piece he wrote here. Speaking for me has become a lot easier and faster. I no longer fidget while preparing to speak. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Timothy Ede-Abel
Did you know the average attention span in the US is 3 seconds? You probably didn't even get thru that sentence without wondering what you're going to eat for lunch, to send a... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Honest Griz
4.0 out of 5 stars Builds upon the concepts in How To Read a Book
Another Adler treasure. We have few guides other than religious upbringing. This book offers insight into the practical skills that are so essential.
Published 20 months ago by Focuzd1
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
Every student in America should be taught the principles in this book. I have been teaching these principles to my students and they have really enjoyed it.
Published 22 months ago by Adam T Hailstone
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Very Quick and good download. No problem with this transaction. I recommend it to everybody. Easy to use and ready to read in a few second.
Published 23 months ago by yacaseve
4.0 out of 5 stars book
this book was ordered so i could use it in my language arts class at school i found it was a little old fashioned for
my 6th graders, but i could use a lot of the suggestions... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Storey Grammer
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More About the Author

Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 - June 28, 2001) was an American philosopher, educator, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked within the Aristotelian and Thomistic traditions. He lived for the longest stretches in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Mateo. He worked for Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Encyclopædia Britannica, and Adler's own Institute for Philosophical Research. Adler was married twice and had four children.

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