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A Practical Guide for the Next Generation to Break into Public Speaking

Share Your Story, Stand in Your Worth, Shake Up the Speaking Circuit


THE BREAKTHROUGH SPEAKER shares the lessons I learned transitioning from an unpaid speaker to a paid speaker who is regularly paid $10,000 for 30-minute presentations. Part I: Speak your truth will help you discover your story, craft an anchor to earn credibility, and discover how to align your zone of genius with a top-of-mind hook that organizations care about and are willing to pay for. Part II: Share your truth will give you the marketing tools to spread your message, reach a wider audience, and make your work stand out from the crowd. Part III: Get paid for your truth provides tips for you to break into the corporate speaking industry, stand in your worth, negotiate higher speaking fees, and become a speaker clients love.

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THE QUARTER-LIFE BREAKTHROUGH provides fresh, honest, counterintuitive, and inspiring career advice for anyone stuck in a quarter-life crisis (or third-life crisis) figuring out what to do with their lives. It shares the stories of many twenty- and thirty- somethings who are discovering how to work with purpose (and still pay their rent). With practical exercises and resources, this book is essential reading for career changers and anyone passionate about getting unstuck, pursuing work that matters, and changing the world.


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Praise for The Quarter-Life Breakthrough


“Fresh and engaging, this book will inspire the next generation to lead with purpose.”

—Tony Hsieh, CEO of and New York Times bestselling author of Delivering Happiness


"I wish this book landed on my desk when I hit my quarter life crisis! I could have saved years of frustration. Don't miss your own breakthrough, pick up this book!"

—Jon Acuff, New York Times bestselling author of Do Over


“Smiley’s words speak to the dreamer and doer in each of us by tapping into that true voice that calls from within.”

—Elle Luna, artist and author of The Crossroads of Should and Must


"With wit and candor, Poswolsky shares funny and odd things about himself while at the same time encouraging people who are unsatisfied with their career path to seek out their passion and pursue meaningful work."

—Publishers Weekly


"'The What Color Is Your Parachute? for the millennial generation."

—Aaron Hurst, author of The Purpose Economy and CEO of Imperative


“With his triumphant The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, Millennial Adam Smiley Poswolsky earns his place as a major voice of his generation. Pragmatic, philosophical, passionate, humble, delightfully funny, and infectiously inspiring, Poswolsky is a torchlight for those hungry to craft a more purposeful and rewarding adult life.”

—Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult


"Smart stuff. Smiley moves past simplistic slogans and offers instead practical and nuanced strategies for succeeding in the noble task of crafting a working life that matters."

-Cal Newport, author of Deep Work and So Good They Can't Ignore You


“This awesome book is chock full of smart, practical, relatable, and timely tips for meaning-makers. If you want to make a bigger impact in others’ lives, connect with a community you love, and find greater fulfillment even in an ever-changing career landscape, buy this book. And then re-read it whenever you need to turn a breakdown into a breakthrough.”

—Jenny Blake, author of Pivot and Life After College


“With clear stepping stones, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough is an honest and actionable guide for young people who are eager to see and seize meaningful opportunities.”

—Tina Seelig, Professor of the Practice, Stanford University, and author of What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20


"Our generation never settles for careers they aren't passionate about. The Quarter-Life Breakthrough is the ultimate field guide to living life on your own terms and creating meaning in your work."

-Dan Schawbel, New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0

Praise for The Breakthrough Speaker

"The Breakthrough Speaker is a practical and powerful guide for anyone who wants to build their personal brand and grow their speaking career."

-Dorie Clark, adjunct professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, contributor to Harvard Business Review, author of Entrepreneurial You


“Smiley’s voice is what every speaker needs to face their fear, get onstage, and give their most authentic performance.”

-Amber Rae, author of Choose Wonder Over Worry


“Everybody wins when our networks expand to include a diversity of voices and ideas. Thank you Smiley for sharing your truth and providing a roadmap for others to be heard.”

-J. Kelly Hoey, author of Build Your Dream Network


“A playbook for impact-driven makers, storytellers, and leaders.”

-Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO, GoldieBlox


“Genius book! Smiley’s gifts are pure gold for all of those breakthrough speakers waiting in the wings.”

-Claude Silver, chief heart officer, VaynerMedia


“We need more diversity on stage, and we need more books like this one, which give speakers a toolkit to share their voice with the world.”

-Talia Bender, chief catalyst officer, The Female Quotient


“Crafting a compelling story is tough, making money while doing it on stage doing is even harder. Smiley’s lessons and constructive encouragement in The Breakthrough Speaker are a MUST for anyone, especially women, looking for their own breakthrough on the speaker circuit!”

-Cassidy Blackwell, director of strategic projects for public affairs, Airbnb


“Candid, comprehensive, inspiring, and actionable. A no B.S. guide covering all the things nobody ever shares honestly when it comes to corporate speaking.”

-Vanessa Shaw, founder of Human Side of Tech and The Workplace Lab


“There are so many people whose ideas, messages, and stories should be heard, but who are being held back by lack of access to information or lack of confidence in their value and worth. With this book, Smiley connects the reader not only to everything they’ll need to know to launch their speaking career, but also to the conviction that they can succeed.”

-Emily Anhalt, speaker


"Smiley's voice is a torchlight for a new generation of speakers and influencers." 

-Jessica Minhas, human rights advocate, speaker, founder & CEO, I'll Go First