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  • Writer's pictureDr. Rajan Philips

Readers' Review 7: Five Stars by Carmine Gallo

‘Five Stars’ is written by Carmine Gallo, the bestselling author of self-development books like ‘Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, and ‘Talk like TED’. It’s a valuable gift for all who believe in enhancing their power of communication, to a higher level. It is packed with insights and nuggets of wisdom on the subject and supported with engaging anecdotes.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2018

Five Stars, by CARMINE GALLO, the bestselling author of self-development books like Talk like TED, and ‘The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs’’ is a great gift for all who aspire to enhance their communication skills. It is packed with insights and nuggets of wisdom on the nuances of spoken and written communication.

With absolute ease and conviction, the author establishes that mastery of the age-old skill of persuasion, helps you to stand out, get ahead, and emerge successful in today’s competitive world. Communication has become an essential tool for success as an innovator, inventor, entrepreneur, or community leader.

It was an easy decision for me to choose this book for review, since effective communication, especially public speaking, is my passion. I believe, everyone would be equally fascinated and professionally benefit by reading it.


The book is a thematically well-structured work. Apart from the introduction and conclusion, the 16 chapters of the book are organised into 3 parts.

Part I titled, ‘WHY GREAT COMMUNICATORS ARE IRREPLACEABLE’ comprises 4 chapters and establishes the irrefutable primacy of powerful and effective communication and validates Aristotle’s thoughts on successful persuasion.

Part II with 5 chapters is: ‘WHO’S EARNED FIVE STARS’. It talks of successful personalities from various spheres- Scientists, Entrepreneurs, Technocrats, and TED Stars.

Part III entitled: ‘HOW TO GET FROM GOOD TO GREAT’ has 7 chapters. Here, Gallo shares valuable tips and techniques to elevate one’s communication skills from ‘good to great. He highlights the key role of emotional appeal, the art of storytelling, memorable quotes, and overcoming the fear of public speaking. The famous inaugural address in January 1960, by John F Kennedy, and the quote: Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” is a superb example.


‘Five Stars’ emerges as a valuable addition to the genre of communication books. It stands out, with its lucid, engaging, and entertaining style and abundance of anecdotes about famous and successful leaders – past and present.

The array of leaders of old includes Aristotle, Galileo, Picasso, Alexander Hamilton, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Churchill. A few outstanding figures of our age are Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, and Sunder Pichai. This blend of the old and the new enhances the credibility of the author’s narrative and demonstrates his extensive and creative research.


The introductory section on the vitality of communication seems too elaborate. Did the writer need to spend so long to persuade his readers?

Gallo has presented plenty of stories and anecdotes to establish key points. However, to convey relatively simple ideas, he need not have used so many none-too-memorable anecdotes and reduced the crispness of the narration.


Overall, the book is an easy-to-read narration of a practical yet adventurous journey into the world of communication. With liberal tips on the art of storytelling, in simple yet evocative language, it provides us with a joyful opportunity to become five-star communicators.

I give “Five Stars ‘a rating of 4.5!


Dr. Rajan Philips has been an ELT Professional for 35+ years in India and abroad and a regular academic presenter. He is currently a Guest Faculty at NUALS, Cochin. His special interests are public speaking, quizzing and freelance writing.

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