on June 7, 2009
This is an excellent review of contemporary approach to Presentations. Nancy Duarte, prominent for having shaped Al Gore's approach to his climate change materials and leader of a design house, gives an excellent systematic treatment of Presentations, how to use them, when to use them, what presentations should not be. She covers Brainstorming, Layout, Diagrams, Data Presentation, Design principles, animation and more.
This is not an ideal book for the reader looking for a "How-to". Rather, it is aimed at the reader that has done many presentations and is looking for ways to becoming more effective as a presenter and those seeking to connect with audiences in more effective ways than current corporate presentation culture permits.
Two things stand out:
1st - The case studies, though highly condensed, are excellent. I would have liked to have seen more of them and longer ones.
2nd - The essential conundrum of corporate life isn't addressed - namely that we know, as the book states that a great 1 hour presentation should take 60-90 hrs to produce; but more often you have 8-10 hours to put it together. This book doesn't take up that subject but that in no way detracts from the content and effectiveness of the material that is covered.
on October 9, 2008
"Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations", by Nancy Duarte is a book that will change the way you think about your presentations. Almost anybody who has ever had to deliver a presentation would benefit in some way from reading this book.
The structure of the book follows the process that you'll ideally use in the course of developing a presentation, from coming up with the presentation content itself to developing the slides. At every step of the way, Duarte explains not only how you should create your presentations (e.g. how graphs and charts should be presented), but also why your information should be presented that way. Following Duarte's advice results in a slide deck that supports and enhances your presentation, rather than having the deck detract from or (even worse) BE the presentation. The result is a presentation where there is actually a good reason for the existence and content of each slide.
You might be thinking that you're not a designer, so you won't be able to create a presentation as good as some of the examples highlighted in the book, but you don't need to be a designer to improve your presentations. The book does cover some of the fundamentals of design (color theory, fonts, etc.), and does so in an approachable way, so the non-designers in the crowd (which is most of us) will get at least some information about design fundamentals to help you improve your presentations.
A tiny nitpick is that I would have liked to see even more examples of 'good' slides in the book - or even better, more examples of bad slides being turned into good ones. The case studies are great, but many of them are accompanied by an often full-page photo of the presenter. I'd have preferred to see that space given over to more images of the slides.
Overall, I found this to be an excellent book that will easily and immediately reward the time you spend reading it.
on June 19, 2009
This is a great book with a lot of useful information on how to create powerful presentations for different situations and audiences. I like the fact that it show examples from simple presentations and illustrations to those for complex stories. Some of the case studies are particular useful for me because they remind me of some presentations I have created over the years, and now I have realized how wrong they were. There are also details in the book about color matching, 3D object creations, visual effects, and diagram creations. I read the book twice and still getting new ideas from the book. This book is certainly a must for professionals.
The only thing missing, I think, is a quick presentation slide in the book to show people that PowerPoint is not meant for documents.
on January 1, 2010
This book is a fantastic resource for anytime you need to present information visually. I work as an design Art Director and I love the pages that simply show me alternative representations for my usual fall-back diagrams. Anytime I want to show a bar or pie graph, I can consult this book and find something a little more unique or compelling. Great examples for moving away from the usual templates or white pages. I'd also recommend the book, Back Of The Napkin. I will always use these two books together whenever I have numbers that I have to get across to someone else.
on October 24, 2013
Guess what design matters! While Apple figured that out long ago, it's a concept that still escapes many presenters. This book combines good design sense while guiding you through how to structure a story and an excellent talk. Ultimately it's about communicating and engaging with an audience, and saving the world from one more death by Powerpoint data dump. Highly recommended if you speak or present.