The Last Word: Talmage Boston on How Being a Litigator and Historian Go Hand in Hand

“Iron sharpens iron.”

Talmage Boston
Author, Historian, Speaker, and Partner at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton
.…on how being a commercial litigator and a historian go hand in hand, via Texas Bar Journal.

Talmage Boston

Dallas-based commercial litigator Boston has another avocation as an historian, and writes that his dual discipline “has made me a better lawyer and vice versa, since both callings require the same skills”—meaning researching, writing and rewriting, interviewing and interrogating, and public speaking.

His latest book, “How the Best Did It: Leadership Lessons From our Top Presidents,” was published on April 2 and is available on Amazon. 

On Saturday, Amazon released its bestseller lists for the week, and in its “New Releases” list, “How the Best Did It” came in at No. 14, “only one behind Fareed Zakaria,” Boston wrote on LinkedIn. On Amazon’s “Movers & Shakers” list, the book came in at No. 2. Last week, Boston was interviewed about his latest book by Bret Baier on Fox News.

“Over my 45-year legal career, I’ve made hundreds of oral arguments to judges and juries,” Boston writes in his Texas Bar Journal article. “Those who heard them had the same desire: “Don’t waste my time with repetitious thoughts and superfluous words. To make it easier for me to pay attention and grasp what you’re saying, use short words, apt metaphors, and some pizzazz.”

He does the same honing in his books, which have also included “Raising the Bar: The Crucial Role of the Lawyer in Society” and “Cross-Examining History: A Lawyer Gets Answers from the Experts about Our Presidents.”

“It takes me at least 15 drafts before I’m satisfied with my work’s clarity and completeness and know that all unnecessary words are gone,” Boston writes in TBJ. “The more one writes with this level of discipline, the better the final product. Thus, my turning out a stream of op-ed pieces, book reviews, and history books over the last 30-plus years in addition to my many briefs and pleadings has definitely improved my legal writing.”

You can read Boston’s full TBJ article here.

Book Cover for “How the Best Did It.”

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