The Gettysburg Approach to Writing and Speaking like a Professional is
based on a course taught to European business executives by the
author, who lives and teaches in Belgium. Philip Yaffe has an interesting
background as an autodidactic, or a self-educated person. Aware
of some insufficiencies in his English education, he taught himself
grammar and worked on increasing his vocabulary and then took journalism
classes to become a more succinct writer.
As the title implies, the methods used are classical in that you
study and mimic excellent models of writing, such as those written
by Lincoln and Shakespeare. One of the appendices is a line-by-line
analysis of The Gettysburg Address as well as a line-by-line study
of Marc Antony's (misspelled by the author as "Anthony's") soliloquy
from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
The first part of the book addresses writing. Developing a thesis
or claim with support, expository vs. creative writing, and writing
professionally are some of the topics covered. The emphasis is
on writing concisely, clearly, and densely. A potpourri of writing
tips and techniques wraps up this section.
Next is a section on oral presentations, starting with a comparison
between writing and speaking. The author also discusses getting
the listeners' attention, use of body language, and effective use
of slides. Some very helpful suggestions for overcoming anxiety
are included as well.
Interestingly, more than half of the 286-page book is appendices,
13 to be exact. These run the gamut of grammar tips, ideas for
engaging your readers, analyses of various writings, conciseness
exercises, and oral presentation exercises.
While the focus of the book does seem to be business and expository
writing, many of the principles will apply to writing and speaking
in general, with much of the instruction useful to students. I
think this book would be most interesting to high schoolers and