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Clear and to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations Paperback – August 13, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0195320695 ISBN-10: 0195320697 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195320697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195320695
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"...a world authority on the visual brain ...shows how to use this tool effectively."--Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct and Blank Slate


"I would say that this is one of the most useful books on PowerPoint to ever be printed."--Garr Reynolds at Presentation Zen


"This review may not do justice to the insight and clarity of this excellent book which is easy to read, chock full of examples and filled with illustrations of the principles. It is the best book I have found so far on how to improve presentations--especially in PowerPoint."--Robert Hacker at Sophisticated Finance


"Kosslyn puts PowerPoint users on notice. Read this book, and you will be enlightened. Kosslyn's thorough and engaging treatment is based on broad scientific literature, and on his extensive experience. Besides covering the myriad features that PowerPoint offers, Kosslyn provides great advice on how to connect with an audience, tell a story, work at the right level of information, and come up for air." --Lawrence W. Barsalou, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology, Emory University


About the Author

Stephen M. Kosslyn is the former Chair of the Department of Psychology, currently Dean of Social Science and John Lindsley Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A leading authority on the nature of visual mental imagery and visual communication, he has received numerous honors for his work in this field. His previous books include Image and Mind, Wet Mind: The New Cognitive Neuroscience (with Koenig), and Psychology: The Brain, the Person, the World (with Rosenberg).

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Customer Reviews

This book is filled with probably 50 pages of such examples since each do and dont takes up a full page (sometimes two).
eduardo
Grounded in theories of visual cognition, the book uses actual slides to illustrate the key principles underlying effective powerpoint presentatins.
C. Ni Chuinn
I have tried reading other books (Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck, for example), but have found little use in them.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent guide to the visual design of presentation slides (PowerPoint or otherwise). Kosslyn explain his 8 principles, and then provides guidelines for various aspects of presentations, such as text, sound, graphs, and other visuals. At the end of each chapter, he ties the guidelines in that chapter to basic principles that underlie them.

However, Kosslyn is an expert on visual perception, not an expert on learning. Therefore, take his suggestions on non-visual aspects of presentations with a grain of salt. For example, he endorses reading your slides aloud, which he says "gives the viewers two chances to understand and remember them". In fact, reading and hearing the same information *reduces* retention of information. For more details, see Multimedia Learning.

If you buy only one book to improve your presentations, I suggest that you get Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire (Bpg-Other). However, "Clear and to the Point" is an excellent additional resource.
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful By eduardo on December 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is filled with very basic advice - much of which is very intiutive. For example, there are a lot of Do's and Dont's. Some of the do's and dont's:

dont vary bullets arbitrarily (one bullet is round, second is a ~, third is #, fourth is >).

dont present one giant list of items on a slide, do categorize them

dont make the subheading of your title slide more salient (visible, eye catching) than the heading. do make the heading more salient than subheading.

dont vary color in your presentation purely for decoration, do vary for emphasis

don't use underline, do use bold italics, etc.

This book is filled with probably 50 pages of such examples since each do and dont takes up a full page (sometimes two).

the 8 principles are also very simple things you would learn from watching a few well done presentations online such as talking at the right level, not trying to cram too much in people's heads at once, keeping focused on what you want people to get out of the presentation, etc.

If you are new to presentations, this is a good book for you. If you are familiar with giving presentations, you're better off trying a different book.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Green on March 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
The idea seems good -- eight principles for compelling PowerPoint presentations. But the execution is neither clear nor to the point. For example, chapter 2, the first chapter of substance, lists eight recommendations for overall structure, five recomendations for building the introduction, ten recommendations for the body of the presentation, three recommendations for the wrap-up, and five recommendations for delivery (that's 31 recommendations in all), before returning to the eight psychological principles. And that, as I said, is only chapter 2. Other chapters are similarly ungainly.

In addition, as other reviewers point out, many of the suggestions are barely worth the paper they're printed on. For example, "start with a bang" or "face the audience."

In short, this is a book that will overwhelm novice presenters and bore experienced ones. Find another.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kristina Lamour on June 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Finally!, a book that engages visual communication practice with cognitive
neuroscience and psychology research. Too often these areas live separately
and as a graphic designer professor, I find the Kosslyn's content invaluable.
As producers of visual communication, students should know what is going
on in the mind of their users. I plan on adding Clear and to the Point to my
course reading list.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have recently been preparing to give presentations during academic job interviews and although I've given countless ppt presentations, I still felt ineffective in my use of the medium. I have tried reading other books (Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck, for example), but have found little use in them. This book, though based on visual processing research, is presented clearly and concisely. Kosslyn describes and gives clear examples of the 8 principles, but goes a step further by exemplifying them in the way the book is organized.

Certainly I was aware of some of the general "don'ts" in ppt such as not varying the font greatly throughout the presentation. However, this book helped me understand why I shouldn't do this. By knowing the why behind the rule, I can know use this knowledge more flexibly.

Some have indicated in their reviews that the information in this book was "basic." It may seem so, but given the fact that I have seen these 8 principles violated even in the most sophisticated and experienced presenters, I would invoke the old saying that common sense is not all that common. Perhaps people needed to understand why they should follow these principles to be convinced.

Finally, I appreciated Kosslyn's treatment of Tufte's argument that PowerPoint should never be used. Kosslyn makes that case that PowerPoint can be a powerful way to convey complex ideas, if used properly. Now that I know the 8 principles, I am confident that my presentations will be "clear and to the point."
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