3 out of 4 stars
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Squelched: Succeeding in Business and Life by Finding Your Voice is an encouraging and inspiring book written by Terry Beard.
Divided into four chapters, the book is a poignant memoir of the author who suffered from glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. It is an account of how the author developed his fear of speaking in public and how he finally and triumphantly found his voice as well as samples of speeches delivered in various venues and letters addressed to the author’s sons.
The author recounts his experiences and the factors that led to his losing his confidence which include poverty and being put down, shunned and pigeonholed by his own family for ‘not being good enough’. Moreover, he writes about being discriminated in school, in church and the community, as well as being bullied, embarrassed, berated, humiliated and discouraged not just once or twice, but too many times. In painful details, the author describes how he was squelched again and again.
Despite those unpleasant experiences, however, Terry Beard managed to be hopeful. With the ultimate goal of escaping poverty, he worked as hard as he could and never gave up on his dream to finish college. He was able to put up his own business, became an entrepreneur, found his voice, learned another language, found his self-worth and wanted to inspire other people.
This is a touching and inspiring book about someone who has been through so much including fatal illness and painful betrayal but remained hopeful, purposeful, determined and conscientious. The author’s experiences are somehow relatable and therefore engaging. Compared with other memoirs that I have read so far, this book sounds a little detached with a matter-of-fact tone which, for me, makes the book enjoyable to read.
While my favorite part of the book is the author’s lavish praise and expression of gratitude for the love of his life, which may inspire envy from other readers, the best part, I think, is the depiction of the author’s steely determination. He exhibits strength of character, immeasurable tenacity and admirable work values. He truly is a very inspiring person. He not only says but shows what ‘It’s never too late’ means.
Apparently, I enjoyed this book a lot. It is very encouraging. However, I found some parts, especially the later ones, repetitive and redundant. Moreover, the timeline is somehow confusing that it is difficult to determine when a particular event happened in the author’s life. Furthermore, though it’s probably due to the author’s enthusiasm and desire to encourage other people, some parts sound more like endorsement of Rotary and Toastmaster than prompting. Finally, there are many noticeable errors within the entire book which are mostly typos (like and the practicing the speech and which is a large as the state of New York).
I, therefore, rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is touching, inspiring and encouraging. I recommend it not only to people who suffer glossophobia but also to readers who enjoy true stories about rising above adversity.
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