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How to Speak How to Listen

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How to Speak How to Listen


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Every educated person should understand how to speak and listen skillfully.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples
  • Inspiring


In 1940, intellectual, philosopher and academic Mortimer J. Adler wrote How to Read a Book, described by Amazon as a “living classic.” Forty years later, he wrote this accompanying volume on speaking and listening, offering the impressive depth of knowledge, intellectual rigor and scholarly panache that distinguished his first book. Adler is well known for popularizing the Western intellectual tradition and making it accessible. A noted public educator, he chaired the board of editors at Encyclopedia Britannica and helped create the Great Books of the Western World program. getAbstract recommends Adler’s personal communications guidebook as thoughtful fare full of worthwhile lessons on how to speak and listen in sharper, more useful ways.


Mortimer J. Adler

Noted intellectual, academic and philosopher Mortimer J. Adler (1902-2001) taught at Columbia University and the University of Chicago. During the late 1930s, Percy Strauss, chairman of R.H. Macy and Company, offered Adler six times his professorial salary to work for Macy’s in New York. Adler stayed in academia, where he developed his theories on speaking and listening.

Adler did suggest ways to make Macy’s business conferences more efficient, thus reducing their frequency and saving executives’ time and trouble. More effective conferences meant more efficient operations and greater profits. Meetings are communication forums where people speak and listen to each other. Whatever your organization’s work and purpose are, if you improve your internal and external communications, you will improve your operations and your bottom line.

Speaking and Listening

Human communication involves language: writing, reading, speaking and listening. Reading instruction takes place during the elementary phase of education. Writing instruction continues in high school and college. When it comes to speaking – except for the occasional courses on public ...

About the Author

Mortimer Jerome Adler (1902-2001) was an American philosopher and educator. The author of How to Read a Book, he contributed often to Catholic philosophical and educational journals.

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    Y. B. 2 years ago
    very wide
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    A. C. 3 years ago
    Very interesting
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    M. B. 6 years ago
    Excellent Soft Skills for today's industry.