Book Review: Complete Speaker’s and Toastmaster’s Library by Jacob M. Braude
Public speaking is a valuable skill. You may be called upon to say a few words at a friend’s or relative’s wedding. You might have to give a presentation at work. You might even aspire to doing Youtube videos. But it’s also a skill many of us use infrequently at best. It can be difficult to even determine how to start, let alone compose the rest of the speech.
One of the quick methods of starting a speech off right is using a joke, anecdote, quote or proverb to get the audience in the mood for the remainder of your speech. And it was to help out the speaker who doesn’t have an instant recall of vast pools of quotes and stories that Mr. Braude compiled this library back in 1965.
“The trouble with being punctual is that there’s nobody there to appreciate it.”
It’s a boxed set of eight slim volumes.
- Proverbs, Epigrams, Aphorisms, Sayings and Bon Mots
- Speech Openers and Closers
- Remarks of Famous People
- Origins and Firsts
- Rhyme and Verse–To Help Make a Point
- Definitions and Toasts
- Business and Professional Pointmakers
- Human Interest Stories
Within each volume, the items are sorted by category, such as “Ingenuity” or “Happiness.”
The good: It really is helpful to have at hand a quickly searchable database of bits to shore up your speeches. The quality is overall high, and quite a few can just be used on their own to wow your friends.
The less good: Judge Braude first put out a book of quotes and aphorisms in 1955, after a quarter-century on the Illinois State bench. As a result, his material is now badly dated. A good quarter of the material involves ethnic- or gender-based humor that is in dubious taste in modern times, or people who were famous in the mid-20th Century but will be unknown to younger audiences. The aspiring speaker will need to comb through carefully and avoid using the less palatable jests.
Different editions of Mr. Braude’s books were issued until the early 1990s, so the frugal shopper should be able to find one inexpensively, but the 1965 eight-volume edition with slipcase would look exceptionally nice on your bookshelf. Recommended to Toastmasters and aspiring public speakers.
And now, let’s have an aspirational example of public speaking!