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9 public speaking tips - based on Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo

Whether we like it or not (and honestly I don't), most of us are going to have to come to terms with making presentations in some aspect of our lives.  While it would be nice to think that our presentations would be judged purely on content, the fact of the matter is that our ability to communicate that content matters - a lot.  Since I'm not exactly great at giving presentations myself, I decided to look for some help and got lucky with an ex-library copy of Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo, a presentations expert and coach.  Here is a quick summary of his top 9 public-speaking tips.

Unleash the master within

This is a catch title but what it basically means is that you need to find some way to connect your topic with something you genuinely care passionately about.  In all honesty, my initial reaction to this was "easier said than done", at least in many cases, when we have to give presentations on topics we don't necessarily care passionately about.  I guess the…

7 classic writers from the U.S.

In celebration of the 4th of July, I thought I’d compile a list of 7 great U.S. writers.I’m only covering adult fiction, which is why Dr. Seuss is not only the list.It’s my blog, so it’s my choice of writers, feel free to disagree, but I hope you find it interesting.
Isaac Asimov
Asimov was a scientist with a gift for creativity and communication.He’s probably best remembered for his sci-fi stories, but he also wrote mysteries and outstanding non-fiction.
Ernest Hemingway
I’m not at all convinced that I would have got on with Hemingway if I had met him personally, but there can be no doubt that he was one of the most talented writers in history and his influence lives on.
Jack Kerouac
His style may not be to everyone’s taste (although I suppose you could say that of any author) and he was vilified personally and as a writer throughout his adult life, but for all his personal issues (including chronic alcohol abuse), his novel On the Road is now regarded as a classic.
Stephen King
King has wri…

7 great crime stories

Whether you just like reading crime or you want to write it, these novels are all by masters of their craft and are great stories you can enjoy as a reader and learn from as a writer.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Often regarded as the first English-language example of the modern detective story, The Moonstone is about the disappearance of a jewel rather than a violent crime, but the reader is kept gripped by how the events of one night impact on the lives of believable, engaging characters.Technically, The Moonstone is a masterclass in how to tell a story from different points of view without confusing readers.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
You can’t mention crime without mentioning Christie and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is widely considered to be her masterpiece, since it’s told from the perspective of the murderer and yet it’s only at the end that we find out who, exactly, they are.It’s also a gripping whodunit in classic Christie style.
Pietr the Latvian: Inspector…

7 great books for reading on rainy days

So today is the day before the summer solstice in the UK and looking out of the window, frankly it looks a whole lot more like winter, or at least autumn.  For the record, that picture was taken a while back, but it could easily have been today and, also for the record, it was taken in colour, that's not a black-and-white filter, that's how it was.  Anyway, navigating a huge puddle on my way to work today has set me thinking about books you could dip into on rainy days, maybe when you were planning to do something else, but had to stay indoors.I was looking for books which you could dip in and out of and which most people would enjoy, even if they had different tastes in fiction.So, here are my picks.
Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
New editions of this book are investment purchases, but older ones can be available very affordably.I’ve only ever seen this book myself in hard copy and I’d only buy it that way since I’ve heard that the formatting on the Kindle editions c…

7 great books about travelling

Since now is the time many people are heading off on holiday, I thought I'd compile a list of 7 great books about travelling, which you can read on a plane or at any other time. I chose books which were specifically about travelling rather than books which involved characters making journeys but where the journey was not the main focus of the book.
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
While this is a fictional adventure story rather than a proper travelogue, it’s still a cracking read.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Opinions are divided on this book, but then you could say that about most books. Some people see it as self-indulgent, which, in a way, I suppose it is, but in another way, the author experiences feelings I think many of us can understand and tries to resolve them by travelling to discover the world and herself. She’s not the first, she won’t be the last, but she has written a book many people love.
I'm off then: losing and finding myself on the Cam…

7 great books about people dealing with WWII

If you’re reading this when it’s posted, it’s D Day, the beginning of the end for WWII.With that in mind, here’s a selection of 7 books relating to WWII, written from the perspective of civilians who also survived extraordinary horrors.
After Auschwitz: A story of heartbreak and survival by the stepsister of Anne Frank by Eva Schloss
I chose this over the better-known Diary of Anne Frank for two reasons, firstly Eva Schloss survived the war and I think the post-war part of her story is at least as interesting as the part relating to the war years and secondly, I object to the copyrightbattle over Anne Frank’s work.
Goodnight Mister Tom Michelle Magorian
This is billed as a children’s story but I enjoyed it as an adult.The basic plot revolves around a boy sent to the countryside as an evacuee, who develops a close relationship with the man assigned to look after him.Then the boy is summoned back to London but his return does not quite go as intended.
The Book Thief Markus Zusak
This is anoth…

7 great books involving gardens and flowers

Today is Water a Flower Day, at least if you live in the U.S. so in celebration, I’ve put together a list of 7 great books involving gardens and flowers.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Intended for children, but still a wonderful read for adults, it’s the story of how the discovery of a secret garden healed two children, one of loneliness and arrogance and another of hypochondria, together with a grown man with a broken heart.
The Jewel Garden: A Story of Despair and Redemption by Monty Don and Sarah Don
This is part biography and part garden management manual. Both parts are fascinating.
The Gardens That Mended A Marriage by Karen Moloney
You might think that creating a Persian garden in a place like Spain would be easy enough. After all, the climates aren’t that different. According to Karen Moloney, however, you would probably be wrong, but the act of trying might make you a stronger person and might help you to understand and nurture relationships better.
The Country Dia…

10 fun questions on literary Edinburgh

This picture was taken right beside the entrance to an Edinburgh street used as the title of an Ian Rankin novel.Name the street/book.
Scottish surgeon, Joseph Bell, taught at Edinburgh University and was the inspiration for a famous detective created by Edinburgh-born author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Name the character.
Author Daphne Du Maurier and her family were the inspiration for the Darling family, created by Edinburgh-born author JM Barrie in what book?
What writer is based in Edinburgh but has a series of popular novels set in Africa?
The year 2018 marked 100 years since the birth of an author whose childhood in Edinburgh provided the inspiration for her most famous book, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.Who is she?
Greyfriars Kirkyard is the last resting place of many Edinburgh residents including a Mr Tom Riddle, a famous author used it for help when creating character names.Who was she?
The author of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde didn’t want to be remembered with a statue, but wound up…

The Easter tradition of Paaskekrimmen, how to indulge your reading habit for the lowest cost and 4 book recommendations

I like to do something a little different for special events, so, with Easter coming up, I started researching Easter traditions around the world to see what blog inspiration I could find.  My luck was in and I stumbled upon the Norwegian Easter tradition of Paaskekrimmen.  Interestingly, this is one of the few traditions I know of where it's clear exactly when it began, almost 100 years ago in 1923.  A Norwegian publisher had the bright idea of creating an advert for a crime novel in a way which made it appear like an actual newspaper story (not sure this would be allowed today).  The idea was a big success, so big, in fact that it started a tradition and ever since then, while most of the rest of the world has been out frolicking in the Spring sunshine (or enjoying the longer days at least) Norwegians have spent their Easter tucked up with crime novels (although a lot of them do head out to the countryside to do their reading).  Book publishers, magazines and newspapers all do …