Writing and public speaking require entirely different skills, and there are any number of people capable of writing soaring prose who would cower before a live audience, just as there are magnificent public speakers who can’t write worth a damn.
That’s probably the thing about Jonathan Safran Foer that impresses me most: he’s not only mastered both fiction and non-fiction writing, he’s also outstanding speaking at length in front of an audience. When his book Eating Animals first came out, I was very impressed by his initial appearances on television. But since then, he’s only gotten better. I think this talk from September, filmed in front of a roomful of Google employees, may be his best to date.
When I do one-on-one advocacy, I always keep in mind that it’s not about my diet or your diet, it’s about an industry that abuses nearly every animal it comes into contact with and then lies about these abuses. And luckily, it’s easy to pull back financial support of this industry while maintaining a delicious and incredibly healthful diet.
Jonathan Safran Foer clearly gets this, and is wonderful at keeping a conversation centered upon these points. Additionally, time and again, he patiently returns to these points when the listener strays to less relevant subjects. If you’re looking to become more persuasive to others on the subject of food choices, I can’t imagine a better investment of your time than watching this one hour talk. Link.