Gabe Zichermann writes with this refreshing unpretentiousness, explaining things in bell-clear, concise, and deliberately simplistic prose. He’s not interested in flaunting considerable credentials, or going up and over for the reader to feel like he’s worthy of their trust. He simply explains the concepts, provides the stats, provides the examples, and makes it all fun, informative, and entertaining in terms of house-style presentational quality in the process. He’s not the expert in the room lecturing to the wide audience, he’s the motivational leader or instructor – proverbially clapping you on the back and rooting you on in a decidedly one-on-one sense.


“No matter how raw your skills, you can give a TED Talk. even if you’re an immigrant and/or this isn’t your first language, you can still pitch and raise a ton of money for your ideas. And even if you’re pretty junior in your company, you can lead meetings that will set you apart from your peers. You will be able to command the audience’s attention, influence their emotions, and do that in a unique way that gives your distinctive ideas and style the oxygen they really need,” writes Zichermann, in a key passage of The A-Ha! Method: Communicating Powerfully in a Time of Distraction. He also writes, “The first time many professionals start thinking about improving their communication skills is when they’ve been invited to speak, pitch, or lead a meeting that is high stakes.

Because ‘public speaking’ is so stressful and fraught at the beginning, it makes sense that many of us avoid it for as long as possible. Perhaps you’re staring down the barrel of a hard deadline or interested in self-improvement and leveling up your career. You’ve probably observed by now that most successful entrepreneurs have to pitch, most executives have to give talks, and the fastest career trajectories are the province of those who get up in front of others and lead. But what may seem like fearlessly confident communication in our role models is almost always the product of a ton of behind-the-scenes work on both substance and style.”

Naturally, the methodology the book and Zichermann promote is the titular A-Ha Method – a series of steps and implementations to guarantee maximum successful output of one’s communicative expression. In a world where the average attention-span is continually shortening because of the impact of digitization, social media, severe alteration of traditional social interactions, and a statistically growing sense of narcissism and pro-socialized, anti-social traits, being able to immerse near-instantaneously is key.


Zichermann humanistically shows one how to do this with his book, and with a bit of flash to boot. “In retrospect, it might seem like I had a strategy—but I didn’t. I just wanted the company to be successful and identified that these were opportunities for us to get in front of decision makers and establish our credibility. it was public speaking as a sales strategy,” he writes. “I put a full court press on getting keynote-style speaking opportunities, and as I started to do them—getting better each time—more and more invitations were extended to me. Over the course of a couple of years, I went from asking for speaking slots at key industry events to being invited to them. And I went from the guy calling reporters to pitch them on ideas to the guy reporters called when they had questions about our industry.”

Garth Thomas