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  • Rachel Niemczyk

Book Review: Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds by Carmine Gallo



Title: Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds

Author: Carmine Gallo

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Year Published: 2015

Pages: 278

Rating: 5 stars







Is passion important for a presentation? Does nonverbal communication matter as much as verbal communication? Are public speaking tips applicable outside of public speaking engagements? How can you ensure people will remember what you say?


Detailed, researched backed answers to these questions and more can be found in Talk Like TED.


“I’ve interviewed some of the world’s leading neuroscientists, psychologists, and communications experts to gain a better understanding of why these elements work as well as they do.”

TED stands for technology, entertainment, and design. TED Talks are famous for presenting ideas in an engaging way that inspires audiences, garnering millions of views per talk and being remembered years after the talk was first given. Gallo is positive the success of these TED Talks can be replicated with the right knowledge and tools, and he breaks down 9 public-speaking secrets in this book to do just that.


These secrets are divided into 3 categories - emotional, novel, and memorable - that build on the information presented in the last chapter/category. So while it’s tempting to pick and choose the sections you need to read, it’s really best to read this book sequentially.


“Talk Like TED digs far deeper into the science of communication than almost any book on the market today.”

This book is a fascinating read, (who knew dopamine needs to be present for information retention?), but it’s not a light read. Gallo goes into the science behind all the secrets in this book, complete with detailed examples of the secret in action and explanations for why it works. Even though the science isn’t too jargon filled or complicated to understand, it can feel like information overload if you try to read too many chapters at once. That may seem like a detriment to this book, but it’s not.


The scientific research is invaluable to anyone who wants to learn more on a subject discussed in this book or verify the source of a statistic. Whenever a scientific study or TED talk was discussed, it had a footnote that corresponded with a citation in the Notes section at the back of the book. Each of the notes in the Notes section is separated by chapter, so it’s ridiculously user friendly for people to use.


Throughout the chapters Gallo also shares “TED Notes” that give realistic tips and suggestions on how you can apply the chapter’s secret to your own life. Inspiring and thought provoking quotes from famous TED speakers throughout the chapters only emphasize the points he makes.


“The brain can’t tell the difference between what it actually sees and what it imagines. . . . That’s why metaphors, analogies, and rich imagery are powerful ways to paint a picture in a mind’s eye, in some cases even more effective than an actual image.”

As you read the book it’s easy to see where Gallo implements these secrets himself - showing just how adaptable these secrets are to any communication based field! As a writer I found his research on storytelling and attention span particularly interesting, but marketers may adore his explanation of mind syncs, and teachers may appreciate the chapter on jaw dropping moments.


Think of this book as a college course crammed into book format. It’s chock full of information, explanations, examples, and research. And like the best classes, it not only teaches important information but explains why it should matter to you in your daily life.

If you’re still not sure whether this book is for you, borrow a copy from the library or go on Amazon and read the introduction. I mean this in all seriousness - in the introduction you’ll get a feel for his writing style, teaching style, and the types of information you’ll learn in each chapter.


It’s very persuasive. And if you want to learn how to be just as persuasive - you’ll read this book.

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