Book Review: Don’t Drop the MIC: The Power of Your Words Can Change the World
by T. D. Jakes
Publication Date: Apr 20, 2021
List Price: $26.00
Format: Hardcover, 464 pages
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Parent Company: Hachette Livre
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Book Reviewed by Denolyn Carroll
In Don’t Drop the Mic, renowned pastor, orator, and #1 New York Times bestselling author Bishop T. D. Jakes puts a new spin on the notion of the boastful dropping of the mic—a show of triumph over a well delivered speech or performance. As he notes in his introduction, “The Voice of Hope,”
Thinking of my overall concept for this book, I was taken by the duality and paradox of what it means to “drop the mic.” On the one hand, having a mic-drop moment conveys the powerful, resonant impact virtually every communicator desires to have with his or her audience. While you may not literally drop the mic after you speak at the city council meeting, school fundraiser, board of director’s retreat, or church event, you definitely want to make the most of those opportunities when you’re required to impart a message. You want to leave listeners impressed and inspired, informed and intrigued by what you have shared. On the other hand, dropping the mic can also mean fumbling those same opportunities, either out of fear, a lack of experience, unfamiliarity with your audience, a lack of preparation, or other barriers…
And so, after many requests “for advice, counsel, and wisdom on how to communicate effectively,” and at the urging of his friend Dr. Frank Thomas, a seminary professor and pastor, Bishop Jakes—a passionate, soul-stirring, highly sought-after ace communicator who regularly addresses a variety of audiences—shares his expertise to guide readers in developing and honing their own skills:
My desire is to help you make the most of your mic, whatever it may be, and connect with those receiving your message. Along the way I hope you will realize the unparalleled power of successful communication even as you practice it more productively, passionately, and potently.
Expounding on the power of words, as evidenced during the ongoing global pandemic and the frenzy of social and political upheavals that have caused us to quake at our core, Bishop Jakes asserts, “Communication is as vital to human existence as air, water, food, and shelter…As long as we can speak, we have hope.” Whatever our mode of communication, we are asked not to muffle the message we have been chosen to deliver. Rather, Bishop Jakes entreats us to hold onto the mic when given the opportunity to speak out—and to keep speaking until our message is heard: “Accept the mic on the platform you’ve been given,” he urges. “Your voice is needed. Don’t drop the mic!”
In keeping with an effective guide and teaching tool, the structure of the book is clear and precise. Each of its five captioned parts includes an introduction that leads into the section’s three chapters. And each chapter has an opening quote from the likes of Alice Walker, Aristotle, Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, Bruce Springsteen, and Stephen Covey. Throughout parts 1-4, Bishop Jakes shares the influences and the experiences (good and bad) that have made him the prolific speaker he is today.
Part 5 is introduced by Bishop Jakes but authored by Dr. Frank Thomas. Bishop Jakes reminds readers “…the prompting of Dr. Frank Thomas served as the catalyst for this book…” He adds, “I realized that maximum impact would be achieved with the rhetorical analysis only Frank could provide.” Indeed, Thomas’ insights in “The Meal in the Message” underscore the layered influences on the Bishop’s profound and impactful communication skills. The book closes with an appendix by Thomas that dissects one of Bishop Jakes’ sermons, I Didn’t Know I Was Me”—further illustrating the Bishop’s oratorial dexterity. What could have been an awkward segue ends up being a great example of the effectiveness of structural integrity. From the outset, the reader is made aware of Thomas’ influence on and role in the book. His voice melds with Bishop Jakes’, and the section maintains the overall makeup of the previous four.
In chapters ranging from “Preach but Don’t Preach,” “Find the Joint!” to “Every Shot is the Only One You Have,” “Learn the Grammar of Body Language,” “The Pregnant Pause,” and “Keep Your Cool When the Mic is Hot,” Don’t Drop the Mic delivers on diversity and depth. Packed with insights on the importance of proper communication, sage advice, tips, mentions of other influential communicators over time, and undergirded by biblical references, the book is authenticated by Bishop Jakes’ unique character and persona present throughout its pages. In fact, to some extent, in terms of language and Jakesian cadences, it reads like a sermon on communication.
Some of Bishop Jakes’ guidelines are highlighted by at times funny but always powerful and relatable parallels. For example, in Chapter 2, “Own the Fear Factor,” he notes,
With communication, the old adage of “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” becomes “Nothing ventured, something lost”…For when we allow others to speak for us, when we step away from the mic thrust in front of us by circumstances, then we relinquish power and defer our dreams…If you are not willing to face whatever fears and apprehensions you may have about communicating in public, then you lose out and those around you lose out as well.
Following this admonition, he references the Bible story of David and Goliath, then clarifies the story’s relevance to our present-day realities. “Despite the centuries separating us in time…giants still exist today,” he asserts. “They go by names like Prejudice, Racism, Brutality, Inequality, and Oppression.” Later he adds, “Like David, you use what you know and sling your message! And let your words land where they land.”
It’s been said, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” With this addition to his list of notable published works, Bishop Jakes offers readers tools to help them “grow where [their] talent leads [them].”