Book Review: Official Ted Guide to Public Speaking

Since taking over the TED organization in 2001, Chris Anderson has guided a team that has turned a small, annual, professional development conference into an international phenomenon dedicated to expanding human understanding on a wide variety of topics. Through sources such as the conferences themselves, TED Talks online at, and The Ted Radio Hour, a podcast created in association with NPR, the TED team spreads their message and mission, which is to share “ideas worth spreading.”

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking is a culmination piece which combines aspects of Anderson’s personal history with public speaking, his experience working with the speakers who grace the stages at TED conferences around the world, and input from many of those speakers with whom Anderson has worked.

The work is essentially split into two sections. The first (and larger) section lays out the guidelines to improving your personal public speaking abilities. From which topics are eligible for coverage to use of visual aids, and from pre-talk preparation to what you should wear on-stage, Anderson reveals the best practices that you can easily learn and apply to upgrade your talk from one which puts the audience to sleep to a memorable masterpiece which is talked about years after it is given.

The second (and much smaller) section reflects on why public speaking and educational understanding is important for professionals world-wide. The case is made that knowledge and understanding are separate, though similar, entities. For you, possessing an understanding of many different ideas can create a base that associates seemingly unrelated areas, providing you a sensational feeling of connectedness to the academic and professional communities.

By reading Anderson’s work, you will gain insight, understanding, and confidence about public speaking, which can improve your professional capacity, help you land your dream job, or share an idea that is potentially new to the community or can be presented in a new fashion. TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson is available for check-out at the New Carlisle-Olive Township Public Library.

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