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Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft® Office PowerPoint® 2007 to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire [Paperback]

by Cliff Atkinson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 10, 2007 0735623872 978-0735623873 Second Edition

Unlock the amazing story buried in your presentation—and forget boring bullet points forever! Now updated for Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, this widely-acclaimed book includes seven new examples of compelling presentations from board room to classroom. Communications expert Cliff Atkinson guides you, step by step, through his revolutionary three-step method for increasing the impact of your presentations. You’ll discover how to combine classic storytelling techniques with the power of visual media to create a rich, engaging experience. Transform the way you create and deliver your critical message—and quickly bring your ideas to life!


Learn how to distill and shape your best ideas into a crisp and compelling narrative.


Use a storyboard to illustrate your ideas, creating the right blend of message and media.


Move from merely reading your slides to creating a rich, connected experience with your audience—and increase your impact!

CD includes:

  • Cliff’s custom templates—build your story!
  • Quick reference checklists for compelling presentations
  • Complete eBook—plus bonus content!

A Note Regarding the CD or DVD

The print version of this book ships with a CD or DVD. For those customers purchasing one of the digital formats in which this book is available, we are pleased to offer the CD/DVD content as a free download via O'Reilly Media's Digital Distribution services. To download this content, please visit O'Reilly's web site, search for the title of this book to find its catalog page, and click on the link below the cover image (Examples, Companion Content, or Practice Files). Note that while we provide as much of the media content as we are able via free download, we are sometimes limited by licensing restrictions. Please direct any questions or concerns to

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Key Book Benefits:

Goes beyond how-to and features innovative, easy-to-apply techniques to help you clarify, visualize, and present your ideas

-Written by a leading presentation-skills consultant and popular author

-Includes information on graphic design and delivering presentations online

-Features a CD with sample PowerPoint files and graphics--plus bonus resources on a companion Web site

About the Author

Critically praised author and presentation expert Cliff Atkinson is revolutionizing the way people use Microsoft PowerPoint to communicate. He is a popular keynote speaker and consultant—teaching his innovative three-step method to Fortune 500 companies, law firms, government agencies, and business schools.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press; Second Edition edition (October 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735623872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735623873
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cliff Atkinson is an acclaimed writer, popular keynote speaker, and an independent consultant to leading attorneys and Fortune 500 companies. He designed the presentations that helped persuade a jury to award a $253 million verdict to the plaintiff in the nation's first Vioxx trial in 2005, which Fortune magazine called "frighteningly powerful."

Cliff's bestselling book Beyond Bullet Points (published by Microsoft Press) was named a Best Book of 2007 by the editors of, and has been published in three editions and translated into a dozen languages including Chinese, Korean, and Russian. The book expands on a communications approach he has taught internationally at top law firms, government agencies, business schools and corporations, including Sony, Toyota, Del Monte, Nestlé, Nokia, Deloitte, BBDO, The NPD Group, Ipsos, Facebook, Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Intel, Microsoft, GE, the American Bar Association and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal.

Cliff's work has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent System for Effective Presentations November 11, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Beyond Bullet Points is about how to communicate effectively using PowerPoint. You start by defining a single purpose or goal, set a limited number of objectives to achieve that goal, and support those objectives with explanations logically arranged.

Nothing new about that. What's special here is an easy-to-follow system that pretty much guarantees success by forcing you to think about what the audience needs to know, rather than what to put on a slide. It's a very solid approach and much more helpful than, "First, write down your goal."

The process starts with a MS Word template that is so simple, elegant and easy to use that I couldn't resist trying it. Once completed, it becomes a roadmap or specification that guides you in creating or finding images that best support the points you want to get across.

The author has distilled thousands of years of knowledge about effective communication - from Aristotle to recent research by educational psychologists - into a very simple and practical system. And should you for some reason want to delve into original sources, he credits them.

It's much more about content than the software, and assumes a rudimentary knowledge of PowerPoint. It does not include any of those ubiquitous thematic templates with design elements repeated on each slide, and it explains why they should be avoided. It does include a PowerPoint template to help organize and structure your presentation.

On the negative side, though the system is simple and elegant, the book less so. It would benefit from a good editing, paring it down to about a third its size. And its layout and design is less inviting than it might be.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
I recommend "Beyond Bullet Points" in my class all the time. I continually have people coming up to me and asking where my slides came from or how I go about creating them. While I cannot say that I stick to the BBP process strictly, I do use its concepts heavily in my slides. This is why I tell these people ot start with BBP.

Well, I just picked up my copy of the 2007 version of BBP last week and wow! This is what it should have always been. It was good before, but the difference between the original BBP and the 2007 versions is as big as the difference between PowerPoint 2003 and PowerPoint 2007. Cliff has provided much more in the way of research-based findings that support the BBP methodology. He has also, I feel, done a much better job of explaining the whole process.

If you are totally new to BBP, you will understand the process and the reason it works much better with this new version that those of us who are old timers now. If you've used the first book or were even turned off by the first book, I highly recommend taking a look at this one. I don't believe you'll regret it.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible guide for creating PowerPoints January 3, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book converted me from an anti-PowerPoint extremist to a true believer. Why? Because all my traditional - and well accepted - ideas about putting together PowerPoints were wrong. Atkinson's BBP system is far better. He starts by explaining some basics about how we learn. What he says makes sense and is backed up by research. Traditional PowerPoint presentations violate most or all of these basics by trying to convey too much, too quickly. Atkinson shows how to break up ideas into digestible and memorable pieces with the proper use of templates, text, and images. But before getting into those specifics, he details his system for creating your overall PowerPoint story. Again, his suggestions run counter to conventional practice. For instance, in BBP, everything starts with the Slide Sorter View. Like most people, I guess, I'd start with the Normal View and start pounding out slides. Wrong! With BBP, you craft your story logically and systematically using storytelling methods that are tried and true. The heart of BBP is in storyboarding, which Atkinson likens to the art of storyboarding a film. The result of using BBP is a presentation that is coherent and persuasive.

Atkinson provides the theory and all the "how-to" details for building a presentation using his templates, PowerPoint 2007, and various other Microsoft products. If you don't use the 2007 version of PowerPoint, many of the "how-to" procedures won't apply. The book is still worth reading if only for an understanding of BPP principles and techniques.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars simple but useful January 17, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For a book that is about presenting information concisely, there are a lot of unnecessary words and pages, but perhaps that's necessary to make a book out of it. Nonetheless, the information is useful, and my presentations are much better as a result of following his advice. His focus on making your main points fit into a two line title has made my verbiage much more effective, and it's kind of a fun challenge. I've modified his approach significantly to fit my needs, but without having read the book I'd still be back with overly long and kind of boring PP presentations.

If you are only going to buy one book, tho, I'd probably recommend Presenting to Win [ASIN:B000OHZG9Y Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story]] instead.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Author Paid By the Page? Unnecessary long and complicated
Well this book, probably covers everything you need to know about creating a compelling powerpoint or keynote presentation. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Thomas Syvertsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Practical Guide
Great practical presentation guide, simple to use and to understand for learning presentation techniques. Would recommend it to everyone beginners and experts.
Published 6 months ago by Alessa
5.0 out of 5 stars Power point to out do your competition
I am not as well versed with PowerPoint as I am with Excel and Word, but there are some excellent points here. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Carl G. Koplin
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Bullet Point, an excellent experience
From my experience at school, I was struggling in understanding many lectures presentations, and I was having problems in understanding what my teacher wants to say. Read more
Published 21 months ago by alaa sabrah
5.0 out of 5 stars Power-point...
While I am still in the process of reading this book, I can attest to the fact that it is quit thorough and applicable to my daily work. Read more
Published on January 16, 2012 by A. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful
I ordered this book for help with a big presentation I needed to give. It made preparation easy and the presentation was a hit. I got a bonus! Read more
Published on April 11, 2011 by Kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Ending Death by PowerPoint
Beyond Bullet Points provides a very solid methodology to easily create a presentation that will not only prevent death by powerpoint, but will also get your audience engaged. Read more
Published on December 22, 2010 by L. Scott
2.0 out of 5 stars A lot of words...
For a book that is supposed to be beyond bullet points it uses a lot of words. I could not get through it. Read more
Published on December 13, 2010 by William Buchko
2.0 out of 5 stars couldn't get into it
I bought this book as a textbook for a graduate school class, and just couldn't get into it. Maybe it's really useful, I just couldn't get myself to sit down and actually read it.
Published on October 2, 2010 by biethan
2.0 out of 5 stars Not enough pictures
I was disappointed in the book. Having experienced a webcast several years ago, I was so looking forward to the book. Read more
Published on May 31, 2010 by Hello Diddy
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