Substance + Humor to IMPROVE People, IMPROVE Performance, IMPROVE Productivity ENJOYABLY

Mark Twain Speeches presented by Conor Cunneen, a Chicago based humorous, motivational speaker who has learned from, and delights in the funny, (sometimes inspirational, sometimes poignant) humorous messages from possibly the finest and most famous motivational humorist ever. Conor’s new book – What Mark Twain Learned Me ’bout Public Speakin provides wit and wisdom from the great man to help you craft better speeches and presentations. 600 twain

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BIRTHDAY SPEECH AT JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER 70th BIRTHDAY (A speech that BOMBED!)

This speech was delivered at a dinner hosted by the Atlantic Monthly for the seventieth birthday of John Greenleaf Whittier, at the Hotel Brunswick, Boston, December 17, 1877. Although brilliantly crafted, it did not go well and Twain was roundly criticized for failing to pay due deference to some exalted audience members. Mark_Twain,_Brady-Handy_photo_portrait,_Feb_7,_1871,_cropped This is an occasion peculiarly meet for the digging up of pleasant reminiscences concerning literary folk; therefore I will drop lightly into history myself. Standing here on the shore of the Atlantic and contemplating certain of its largest literary billows, I am reminded of a thing which happened to me thirteen years ago, when I had just succeeded in stirring up a little Nevadian literary puddle myself, whose spume-flakes were beginning to blow thinly Californiaward. I started an inspection tramp through the southern mines of California. I was callow and conceited, and I resolved to try the virtue of my ‘nom de guerre’. I very soon had an opportunity. I knocked at a miner’s lonely log cabin in the foothills of the Sierras just at nightfall. It was snowing at the time. A jaded, melancholy man of fifty, barefooted, opened the door to me. When he heard my ‘nom de guerre’ he looked more dejected than before. He let me in—pretty reluctantly, I thought—and after the customary bacon and beans, black coffee and hot whiskey, I took a pipe. This sorrowful man had not said three words up to this time. Now he spoke up and said, in the voice of one who is secretly suffering, “You’re the fourth—I’m going to move.” “The fourth what?” said I. “The fourth littery man that has been here in twenty-four hours—I’m going to move.” “You don’t tell me!” said I; “who were the others?” “Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Emerson, and Mr. Oliver Wendell Holmes—consound the lot!”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can easily believe I was interested. I supplicated—three hot whiskeys did the rest—and finally the melancholy miner began. Said he:

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