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327 of 337 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon September 22, 2009
"As soon as you move one step up from the bottom, your effectiveness depends on your ability to reach others through the spoken and written word." Peter Drucker

"Steve Jobs is the most captivating communicator on the world stage," says the author in his opening sentence. The book is divided into three sections: 1)Create the story. 2)Deliver the experience. 3)Refine and rehearse. The material lacks direct input from Jobs, is overly fawning vs. Jobs, and is somewhat repetitive. Nonetheless, given the importance of the topic and the value of the material, the book is well worth reading. The following summarizes some of its suggestions for planning and preparing a presentation.

1)What is the one big idea you want to leave with your audience? It should be short, memorable, and in subject-verb-object sequence.

2)Identify why you're excited about this company/product/feature, etc.

3)Write out the three messages you want the audience to receive, and develop metaphors and analogies in support.

4)Include a demonstration if your product topic lends itself to such. (Eg. pull the product out of your pocket if it is 'pocket-sized.'

5)Invite partners and customers to participate.

6)Include video clips if helpful, but limit to three minutes or less.

7)Answer the "Why should I care?" that's in the audience's mind. Have a passion for creating a better future.

8)Having an enemy (eg. IBM, Microsoft) helps visualize 'the problem' you're solving.

9)Simplify your presentation (and products).

10)Make numbers meaningful - eg. "Stores 1,000 songs," not "5 GB memory."

11)Don't use 'bullet-point' style visuals; instead, use short phrases that accompany your talk, or pictures.

12)Practice, practice, practice - and ask for feedback.
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86 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2009
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs is a book that a speechwriter can love. Gallo quotes from sources such as Nancy Duarte's slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations and Garr Reynolds' Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. He even has a sidebar on JFK speechwriter Ted Sorensen's influence on Barack Obama titled, "What the World's Greatest Speechwriters Know."

The message of this book is that Jobs' extraordinary impact is based on his authenticity and his passion for his company's people and products. Most presenters can't claim to be the CEO of an archetypically cool Silicon Valley company.

Neither can they get away with wearing faded jeans, sneakers and a turtleneck onstage. But simply everyone with a product or service that improves people's lives has a story to tell. Gallo's book explains in detail how Jobs presents his story so that his passion shines through and ignites the audience. It's Gallo's claim that anyone can learn how to deliver an "insanely great" presentations.

The "secrets" that make Jobs so effective onstage include the usual stage tips taught by presentation coaches: Make eye contact with the audience, use vocal variety and know the power of a well-timed pause. But the majority of the book analyzes the structure, rather than the delivery techniques, of major keynotes Jobs has given at Macworld and elsewhere over the years. This makes the book of inestimable value for anyone who needs to understand the nuts and bolts of writing a speech.

Performance piece

When Steve Jobs takes to the stage he often tells dramatic stories, so it's appropriate that the book itself is structured as a three-act play. Act 1 tells how to create the story, Act 2 tells how to deliver it, and Act 3 stresses the importance of rehearsal. Gallo adds "Director's Notes" that summarize each chapter (or scene), and he introduces a cast of supporting characters.

Organizing the book in this way also reinforces the importance of telling a story in three parts; of delivering a speech with three messages. In fact, Gallo concedes, the chapter on the effectiveness of breaking a speech into three "could easily have become the longest in the book."

Speechwriters' playbook

The book is a playbook for writing a great speech. Jobs and his team start scripting a speech long before firing up PowerPoint or, in their case, Keynote software. They settle on an attention-grabbing headline ("The world's thinnest notebook"); then they decide on the three key messages; develop analogies and metaphors; and scope out demonstrations, video clips and cameo guest appearances.

Next they develop the "plot" of the speech, setting up an antagonist (Microsoft or IBM in the early days), dressing up numbers and including plenty of "amazingly zippy" words. Finally, they script a memorable "holy smokes" moment that people will talk about long after the event ends. The slides they eventually create are heavy on images and light on text and bullet points.

Live action video

A book alone will go only so far. If you've never actually seen Jobs present in person, then you haven't experienced the "reality-distortion field" his charisma and eloquence creates in the auditorium. Gallo has this covered.

The book's end notes provide URLs for some of the 47,000 [...] video clips showcasing Jobs and clearly demonstrating the techniques discussed. Viewing the videos compensates for the poor-quality monochrome photos of Jobs onstage-the one disappointment in the book.

Learning from his mistakes

To counteract any feelings of inadequacy you might have after watching Jobs deliver a flawless keynote, do a quick search on YouTube for "Apple Bloopers" and you'll see that, even for Steve Jobs, things don't always go well onstage. Demos fail, screens freeze, and he stumbles over words. But as with any masterful presenter, Jobs remains calm.

Even if the speeches you write or deliver are not destined for "insane" greatness, they'll be much, much, better for having read Carmine Gallo's insanely great book.
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117 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
If you haven't read Presentation Zen, slide:ology and/or Brain Rules, then maybe you will find some interesting bits in this book. I can't complain about the messages in this book - everyone needs to learn how to be a better presenter. But like many business books, the twelve rules here could have been done in a long article instead of a short book. Then at least the author could have embedded video. There's a lot of fluff or irrelevant content (pictures of Jobs, tables of talk transcripts) that do little but pad the book. I'm a big Apple fan, but large parts of this book reads more like a Jobs love-fest than a presentation how-to.

Steve has a luxury most don't: he controls everything about his presentations and has the resources to present in the manner he finds will best get his message across. The vast majority of us do not have those luxuries. While there are a lot of great rules in the book, unless you are presenting something that is highly visual and have the artistic resources to procure vivid imagery, a lot of the particulars of the keynote's will be irrelevant.

There are simply better books on this topic elsewhere.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2009
Too bad I bought the Kindle version. I love writing in margins and highlighting in yellow.

I'm not just reading this book; I'm devouring it. I'm condensing it to use in my work, especially my writing, but also in my presentations. In fact, I'm going to use this stuff in debates at the conference table during a meeting and blow away the people who torment me. They're doomed to humiliation. Toast, I tell you.

The content:

Create stories. Intro the villain. Talk in threes.

Send in the hero to solve the problem and banish the villain. Above all, always remember (and don't ever forget) people don't care about you, your product, your needs . . . as much as they care about themselves. So don't bore them about you, your mission, your data.

So. Give people personal reasons to read your writing, to listen to your presentation, to buy your product. Let them know why they should care. Make them fear to be left out of your influence. Remember, it's all about them.

All this, and I'm only a third way through the book. Forget about Steven Jobs and computers and PowerPoint. This book transcends all those things to get to the elegant simplicity in how to reach out and recruit people to your side. Already, I've hit upon the secret to why writing works, why it sells and why no writing book I know of has ever attacked the problem from Carmine Gallo's POV. So I'm writing about it (elsewhere). It's not about the writer, not about the written or spoken product, even. It's about the reader, the listener, the customer, the you you should care about recruiting.

More than care, I love, love, love the useful insights of this book. I got a book of my own out of this book that's so powerful because it takes its own advice.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Be passionate.

PS: I'm not Carmine's uncle or anything. I don't know him, can't vouch for him (to borrow a line from Fargo). Not a shill here, just a guy who hasn't run across a book this useful in a long time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2011
When this book came out, it seemed as if everyone was trying to cash in on anything and everything Apple -- knitted iPod holders, custom-designed Macbook sleeves, and of course an orchard-full of books with "i-Something" "Mac," or "Jobs" in their title.

So when Carmine Gallo's "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience" came out, I instantly dismissed it as another glib attempt to turn a quick buck off of the prevailing Mac-mania.

... But I kept hearing from trusted sources, "you have to read this book." As I began to give more presentations professionally, my hunger to know what was current in the literature on public speaking intensified. Finally, seeing a few promotional videos for the book by Gallo himself, who is a communications coach and skilled presenter in his own right, convinced me to make an impulse Kindle buy.

Watch the video for my full impressions, but the quick take is this: Every executive, manager, or anyone else who gives presentations needs to read this. It's tragic how many productive hours are wasted with presentations that fail to inspire, motivate and get results.

Gallo's book provides the antidote for presentations that are boring or confusing, by offering smart tips and examples on how to prepare, refine and deliver your presentation. I like that he fires broadsides at some of the stodgy, stubborn, stiff and formal techniques that I still see some speech coaches advocating -- yuck! Speeches and presentations should be fun or at least engaging for our audiences, not preachy. This book shows you how to make them so.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2012
So, this must be something like the 5th or 6th book I've read on how to be a better presenter. The tips here are good, but tend to be a bit repetitive, and there's one major drawback to this particular book that left me scratching my head, but let's go over the pros and cons...


1) Even though the book revolves around Steve Jobs and his presentation style, numerous examples of other presenters and presentations by other people are given. This is good, as using Steve Jobs as the sole example source would be a bit of a one note symphony.

2) The author breaks up the book and the associated tips for better presentations in a logical way with nice headings that when compiled sort of make a "hit list" of tips for better presenting.

3) Relating the suggestions back to concrete examples of Jobs' various presentations is helpful, and luckily with Steve Jobs almost every presentation he ever gave is archived on the internet for posterity so given enough time, the reader could look them up and watch them "in the flesh" so to speak.


1) Most of the tips are things I've read in other books on good presentation giving. While Steve did raise the act of presentation giving to an art, the actual things he did to get there are known and nothing earth shattering, so I can't say I learned much that was new here. If this is the first book you pick up on presenting, then you're likely to find some very good things you can use. If it's not, then the utility is likely to be somewhat diminished.

2) In all honesty, I found the book to be very repetitive. Or maybe it's just that you can only reference the introduction of the iPhone or the original Mac about 3 times before you've used up all of the useful information. I think this is one of those cases where the book could have actually been about half as long as it was and would have been just fine and saved some trees to boot. I sometimes think that authors and publishers shoot for a certain number of pages just so that we all feel like we're getting our money's worth. This might be one of those cases.

3) The largest drawback, and the one that I just can't figure out however, is that Jobs' incredible presentations were always reduced to transcripts in table form instead of shown as actual images, which is just plain confusing and disappointing. I'm not sure if the presentations are copyrighted by Apple and therefore couldn't be reproduced or what, but it certainly detracts from the usefulness of the book. If you think you'd benefit from actual images of examples, and I'm sure you would, then I'd suggest one of Gar Reynolds' books or Nancy Duarte's books, either of which have beautiful color pictures of real presentations as opposed to this book which is 99% text with a few black and white photos and NO images of actual slides from a Jobs presentation. It seemed so crazy to me that I actually thought I must have missed a section with images of slides or something so I actually flipped through the book again. Nope. Eight or so pictures of Jobs holding up a mac or whatever, but NO slide images. NOT ONE. Seems a bit counter to the message to have a book on presentations where one of the major points is to use as little text as possible, but yet which doesn't show actual presentation images, and instead replaces them with bland tables of textual descriptions. I'm sure there's some technical or legal reason for that, but it just seems bizarre and wrong somehow and it just left me feeling like I wanted more.

I mean, all in all, it's not a bad book. The tips and pointers are good, especially if this is your first book on the subject. The information is organized well, it's a quick and easy read, and you couldn't pick a better subject to study for good presentation giving than Steve Jobs. However, if you're a visual learner, then you'd be better off looking elsewhere, and if you've read other books on presentation giving (Beyond Bullet Points, Presentation Zen, Slide:ology, etc.) then you probably won't learn much of anything new here. For me, it reinforced what I'd already learned elsewhere, but didn't add much if any new information. I was left not necessarily dissatisfied, only mildly inspired, and sort of disappointed by the lack of concrete images from Jobs' actual presentations.

3 stars for good information, but I'm taking two away for the lack of real Jobs' presentation images, and I think the book would have been much, much better if it were less textual, and much more graphical (ala. Slide:ology or Presentation Zen.) Granted, those books cost twice as much, but they're also three times as nice to read...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2010
Here's who I think will want to read this book: you do presentations and are a big fan of Steve Jobs. If that's you, then just get the book.

Now if that's not you, it's probably the "big Steve Jobs fan" part and that's what gives me very mixed feelings about this book. The author is, apparently, a huge Steve Jobs fan, which is okay, but if Steve has any presentation `secrets' they're not in this book. I could find no information in the book that indicated that Steve had anything to do with the book, except lend his name to the title. Instead what this book contains is a good analysis of Steve's presentation style and what he does that makes Steve an extraordinary example of how to do specific kinds of presentations very, very successfully.

There's nothing wrong with that approach to the topic, but if you have read Scott Berkun's book (Confessions of a Public Speaker), then you don't need this one because Scott's book is better. Scott claims no `secrets,' but his book has a lot of practical advice and lots of little surprising tidbits you can use in any kind of presentation, not just the product introduction, marketing pitch or keynote speech. Gallo's focus is on those presentation types because that's mostly what Steve does. That means Gallo's book has much less to offer to all the rest of us who do conference-room presentations and, especially, technical presentations.

That said, Gallo's book is well researched and well written. He pulls in material from Garr Reynolds, Nancy Duarte and Dr. Medina (Brain Rules) among others. He provides an entertaining and interesting analysis of the factors that make Steve successful. Unfortunately, some of those factors are investing weeks in the preparation and using a many-person staff. Great advice, but my presentation is due three days from now and the staff is me.

If you read Gallo's book you will learn a lot about how Steve Jobs does it and you'll learn some useful things that apply to every presenter and every presentation. But most of us will learn far more that we can apply by reading others, especially Garr's first book and Berkun's book.

Bottom line: on the plus side it's well written and entertaining, but there are better books out there if you are looking for pragmatic help doing the kinds of presentations most of us do.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2012
My daughter bought this for me for Christmas and I wish she had saved her money. To give the feel for the paucity of content in this book, I read it in about three hours during a family get-away weekend. I've given hundreds of presentations in my life. I admired Jobs skills in presentation but if I expected to learn them here ... well I didn't. The entire book could have been summarized in ten pages. I can learn more about Job's style watching a YouTube video than reading this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2011
Over the weekend I read through The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. While not all of it was completely applicable to pastors (as Jobs didn't have to do a presentation or sermon once a week), there was a lot of nuggets in there for any leader or communicator.

The author, Carmine Gallo shared 18 things that Jobs did in his presentations that every communicator needs to do. Here are a few that jumped out to me personally as applicable for pastors.

Plan in analog. Before starting to write a sermon or presentation, know where it will go. Don't start with pictures, slides, graphics, notes or handouts. Research, plan, know the goal and then write it.

Answer the question that matters most. According to Gallo, when people listen to a presentation they have one question, "Why should I care?" While that is not the only question a pastor should answer in a sermon, I believe Gallo is right in that, if you don't answer this question it will be hard to keep their attention when you get to Jesus.

Create twitter-like headlines. This has been written about by Dave Ferguson in The Big Idea and Andy Stanley in Communicating for a Change. Have one main idea you are trying to get across, not 3 or 5 points. One thing, hammer it over and over.

Make it look effortless. Preaching is hard work, it is weighty. But, when you stand up to preach, you should be so prepared that it looks effortless. You should know your topic, be ready, confessed your sins to God, preach with a right heart that it just flows out of you.

Here are a few other things that jumped out:

-Jobs didn't sell products, he sold the dream of a better future.
-Jobs explained the why before the how.
-The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
-Your brain craves meaning before details.
-In a presentation, start with the big picture - the problem - before filling in the details (your solution).
-Always answer, "Why do you need this?"
-Ideas are more easily remembered when associated with a picture.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Let's face it, few (if any) of those who read this book will then be "insanely great in front of any audience." That's not why Carmine Gallo wrote it. Rather, his purpose is to help his readers to present their ideas to anyone, anywhere, anytime "with the power of believing in themselves and in their story." Obviously, there are valuable lessons to be learned from what Steve Jobs does and how he does it. He brings so many resources to bear on each presentation. They include (1) a thorough understanding of the given subject, (2) a passionate interest in it, (3) rigorous and extensive preparation, (4) total self-confidence and physical presence that command attention, (5) brilliant insights that are thoroughly developed, and (6) sharp focus on what is most interesting and most important to the audience...and on nothing else. I have seen Jobs in action several times and can attest to the power and impact of what he says and how he says it.

Note: Visit [...] and upload his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. Once you've seen and heard it, you will never forget it. You will also want to share it with recent school and college graduates.

Gallo cites a few tips early in his narrative. They may seem simple but don't be fooled. All of the greatest public speakers will tell you that it took them many years (about 10,000 hours) of deliberate practice to master them.

1. "Plan in Analog": Think of the presentation as a story that has a setting, a plot, characters, conflicts, increasing tensions because of unsolved problems and/or unanswered questions, a climax, and a brief concluding lesson.

2. "Answer the One Question That Matters Most": Those in the audience are asking the same question, "Why should I care." Disregard this question and you will lose the audience almost immediately.

3. "Develop a Messianic Sense of Purpose": Gallo notes that Jobs was worth more than $100 million by the time he was 25 and it didn't natter to him at all. That wasn't what he was about. "Understanding this one fact will help you unlock the secret behind Jobs's extraordinary charisma."

4. "Create Twitter-like Headlines": Develop headlines into 140-character sentences. Less is more.

5. "Draw a Road Map": Jobs effectively uses the most powerful principle of persuasion, The Rule of Three (i.e. three new products, three objectives, three barriers. three parts, three new features).

6. "Introduce the Antagonist": In each of Jobs's greatest presentations, he introduces a common enemy against which everyone unites, becomes emotionally engaged, prepares to do battle, agrees to make sacrifices, etc.

Note: It could be waste, a foreign country, the New York Yankees ("the Evil Empire"), a product, a competitor. Whatever.

7. "Reveal the Conquering hero": At each presentation, Jobs introduces a hero that the audience can rally around. It could be a person, a product, a goal, or a destination.

As I suggested earlier, few (if any) of those who read this book will then be "insanely great in front of any audience." However, there are valuable lessons to be learned from what Steve Jobs does and how he does it. I commend Carmine Gallo on his brilliant organization and presentation of so much material. As perhaps he would agree, much of his success as a writer is explained by how much he has learned from "an insanely great" role model.
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