Speech coach Samara Bay ’02 says the sound of power is changing. In her new book, Permission to Speak: How to Change What Power Sounds Like, Starting with You, Bay offers a toolkit for how to approach your own speaking opportunities without all the “shoulds” we’ve picked up. It’s especially for women, immigrants, people of color, and anyone who’s felt different because of how they speak, or who’s felt stuck chasing an impossible standard of how to sound authoritative. It’s for anyone interested in exploring voice biases and what’s possible beyond them. With her book out this month, PAW asked Bay to recommend three more books about power and purpose, and she chose these.
The Art of Gathering
By Priya Parker
Parker puts the question of purpose back at the center of our gatherings — why we all come together for birthdays or office team-building, what we’re really getting at when we design an event and want bodies in space (or even on Zoom). When I help people reimagine public speaking, I’m always considering Priya’s precepts. How and in what way will speaking to this group deepen its purpose, and our own?
By Elizabeth Lesser
In Cassandra Speaks, Lesser pulls at the threads of power in such a gorgeous, nuanced way. What cultural stories do we take for granted, that are in truth ripe for a rethink? How do we get heard in a public literally not made for many of us, with its millennia-long celebration of other types of leadership? It’s a call to flex power a new way, and a manifesto for why we must.
The Body Is Not An Apology
By Sonya Renee Taylor
Taylor gets at the heart of our hearts: How we love ourselves enough to take up space. My book is, in a way, the out loud version of this question — so we make sure that the voice isn’t an apology either.