Monday, October 22, 2018

Review: Would You Rather Be in the Coffin Than Give the Eulogy by Jan Hurst-Nicholson

Genre: Non-Fiction


“The ability to speak in public is probably the most rewarding skill you will ever learn. It will not only improve your career prospects, but will also boost your self-confidence at social functions (you may never become the life and soul of the party, but at least you won't have to remain a wallflower!)

Have you ever:

·         Been nervous about a promotion because it involved public speaking?

·         Been afraid to speak up in meetings?

·         Turned down an invitation to speak at your garden club or similar (or choked horribly in the attempt)?

·         Been unsure about proposing a toast, or introducing and thanking a speaker?

Then you will benefit from the tips and guidelines in this book. Self-confidence comes from knowing the correct way of doing things - and how to avoid the pitfalls.”


A native of the UK who now lives in South Africa, Jan Hurst-Nicholson is the award-winning author of numerous books in multiple genres. You can read about them, as well as more about Jan by visiting her website.


The title of this book comes from the punchline of a Jerry Seinfeld joke. It’s his reaction to hearing that studies have found most people fear public speaking more than death. It’s true that most of us fear public speaking. Yet most of us have situations where we need to do this. Some of those situations, say explaining something in your team meeting at work, aren’t even what most of us view as public speaking, but they require some of the same skills, and many of us react the same. Whether at work, in social and family situations, or to help meet our commitments in church and community groups, public speaking skills are something we could all benefit from obtaining.

This book aims to be an extensive reference to help obtain those skills. It has sections that have hints for preparing and delivering a speech. Another section focuses on different kinds of speaking situations with discussion on the unique aspects to be aware of and prepared for in each.

The author mentions spending 35 years as the member of a club that was focused on learning public speaking skills. It’s apparent she’s learned a lot and that knowledge is reflected in this book.

If the book falls short, it is because building public speaking skills exclusively by reading is tough. The opportunity to practice speaking and obtain knowledgeable feedback as part of a club or group, as Ms Hurst-Nicholson did, is the other part of the equation for many people. I’m surprised the author didn’t at least briefly outline the advantages of this and include some suggestions on how to find such a club. (Many clubs are associated with Toastmasters International. That and your favorite search engine will get you headed the right direction.) To be fair, there are a couple sentences as part of the last paragraph of actual content in the book that mention the potential of finding a club, but given the emphasis and location, I suspect it won’t register with most readers. My advice is to do both. Buy the book. Join a club.

Buy now from:            Amazon US        Amazon UK


Uses UK spelling conventions.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four Stars

Reviewed by: BigAl

Approximate word count: 25-30,000 words

No comments: