Good Old Books: The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie

A few days ago, I suggested that you might want to consider public speaking as a way to gain customers, clients or subscribers if your business is a local one.

In keeping with my continuing feature of providing downloads of “good old books” that are still relevant today, I have a fine candidate related to public speaking: “The Art of Public Speaking,” by J. Berg Esenwein and Dale Carnegie. He spelled his name Carnagey at the time, but it’s the same Dale Carnegie that later wrote about winning friends and influencing people.

“The Art of Public Speaking,” originally was sold as a correspondence course. And it actually provides good ideas and training that is still used for preparing speakers.

Download it:

Tricks of the Trade: Two Essential Tips for Speed Reading

Have you read my old article “Double Your Reading Speed Now?” If not, you might want to try it out for tips on faster reading techniques. The suggestions below are ways to enhance your practice of speed reading techniques you already know.

However, I want to point out that these tips will work without the use of any special speed reading techniques. In fact, the two tips below are a natural way of increasing reading speed. No expensive coursework required.

1. Practice your reading techniques on simple material and gradually increase the complexity.

It’s difficult enough to learn techniques of hand pacing and word grouping and other systems for building reading speed. If you’re going build new skills, at least do it on easy material.

And, when I say easy or simple material, I mean stuff like children’s literature. You could even start with Little Golden Books. Really. I had a friend who took a speed reading course from one of the best-known providers (many years ago), and at that time, this is exactly what they recommended. I tried it with quite a number of students when I was teaching Psychology of Learning, and it worked quite well.

Of course, you wouldn’t want to use very simple stuff for very long. You should increase the reading difficulty level at least every week or so until you find the best level for you. When your ability to use the techniques is well-established, you can start applying them to more and more complex material.

2. Read a lot. The more you read, the faster you get.

You need to actually like to read to get faster. So read fiction, especially in your favorite genre. Unlike non-fiction, most moder fictions is designed to be read quickly. Popular authors know that one of the things that makes them popular is they have a nice, easy flow.

Lots of folks get public domain downloads of books from the internet and print them to read. After all, why spend extra money on books for practice? But, many classics are harder because they were written in a time when few people could or did read. Most readers were well-educated intellectuals. So, if you’re going to use public domain classics while building your reading speed, read something like Sherlock Holmes stories. They were written to be popular.

People who read fast naturally have built their skills exactly by following the two methods I’ve suggested here. They started with a love of reading, usually at a young age. They read as much of their favorite reading matter as time would allow, gradually increasing the range and complexity of what they read. Eventually they could read anything — as long as they had the basis for understanding the material — at a speed well above average.

The good news is that you don’t have to start at an early age to become a natural speed reader. You can simply start with the same materials you would have used at an earlier age and build quickly to matter that is more appropriate to your age and education. As you may imagine, you won’t have to put in the years that people who got it “organically” did. Just a matter of weeks.

In the long run, though, you’ll still have to do a great deal of reading to keep up the speed and continue to build it. Use it or lose it.

“Good Old Books” download: “The Optimistic Life” and “Every Man a King”

The New Thought Movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries had a great impact on self-help and personal achievement writers and speakers throughout the 20th century. If you study New Age writers, you’ll find its influence there. Furthermore, if you pay attention, you’ll find plenty of early 21st century writers on success and achievement espousing New Thought ideas.

Start with nothing and pull yourself up by your bootstraps? New Thought. Positive attitude wins the day? New Thought. Change your life with affirmations? New Thought. Find your passion to find your best work? New Thought. Reiterations of “sound mind in a sound body?” New Thought. Why not? These are also much older ideas and ideals. New Thought added new spiritual twists on them. But that was the culture of the day.

So, if you read the original New Thought writers, you might think them a little preachy. You might think them a little na├»ve. Yet, you’ll find the roots of much of our current self-help and entrepreneurial success literature in them.

I’ve been reading some of New Thought writer Orison Swett Marden, in search of a good “old book download” for you. He was the founder of the publication “Success Magazine,” and seemed to be a logical choice.

While I find a lot of his writing too much like following the mind of someone with ADHD, I have found a couple of his books that I think most people can benefit from.

“The Optimistic Life, Or in the Cheering Up Business” is a bit on the Pollyanna-ish side, but is a good demonstration of early works in positive thinking and in the idea of “laughter as the best medicine.” Not to mention that it does have many ideas that have been validated by later science. Even if it does have comments that are a bit too “cute.” I think you’ll find it a lot more cheerful that watching the current news on TV.

“Every Man a King; or, Might in Mind-Mastery,” is one of Marden’s more straight-forward and practical behavior-oriented books. The advance of science since his time has shown that what he wrote is considerably more complicated than his simple descriptions. Nevertheless, a great deal of his thinking can still be found in current self-help, success and personal achievement literature.

As you read, remember that he was a self-made success who worked his way through Harvard(!) to earn an M.D. degree as well as a degree in law. He also studied public speaking and theology. You can see the influences of his studies in his various writings.

If you want more books by Marden, go search on