This book is best read after Mortimer Adler’s companion piece, How to Read a Book, which outlines the responsibilities and strategies needed to successfully engage in reading and writing. Similarly, in How to Speak, How to Listen Adler offers the same practical and direct approach to the reciprocal processes of speaking and listening. Adler focuses on building his own ethos throughout the book through a comprehensive overview of the art of rhetoric using real life examples and references to others’ work.
Adler takes us through the entire process, beginning with our deficits: communication pitfalls, educational gaps, and hubris. He distinguishes between different types of speeches, such as what he calls the “Sales Talk” or lectures in order to strategize for varied motivations for speaking. These chapters of the book are detailed and user-friendly for those in educational fields and beyond. This book is not about pedagogy; it is intended to be an academic instruction manual for the masses. Adler establishes this objective early on.
At the end of the book, Adler emphasizes the reciprocity of speaking and listening by connecting communication to our collective sense of humanity. He sees this as particularly important in an increasingly digital world where communication feels one-sided and is delivered less often through personal interaction. Building, maintaining, and honing these skills is essential to our happiness. We need them to participate in all levels of community: international, national, regional, and local politics. Also as we get older, communication becomes an increasingly necessary tool for bonding and creating relationships with others. However, at the end, Adler tells us why these things really matter: speaking and listening are essential to learning, and the lifelong acquisition of knowledge, friendship, and discovery is imperative to engage in the world. Life does not mean much in a vacuum. How to Speak, How to Listen is about the reciprocity of human connection to a world that seems disconnected.
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (April 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780684846477
- ISBN-13: 978-0684846477
- ASIN: 0684846470
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
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- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10.291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)