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How to Speak How to Listen Paperback – April 1, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''[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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dr. Mortimer J. Adler was Chairman of the Board of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Director of the Institute for Philosophical Research, Honorary Trustee of the Aspen Institute, and authored more than fifty books. He died in 2001.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684846470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684846477
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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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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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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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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By Taeyun LIM on December 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
this book taught how to listen well and speak,before i read this book i Did not even know there was importance in Speaking and listening, i learned so many important things from things from this book. i think you should try this book,those who are reading my review, It can change your listening skills and speaking skills! IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

WRITTEN IN KINDLE PAPERWHITE.
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Format: Paperback
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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