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Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery Paperback – January 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (January 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321525655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321525659
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Please don't buy this book! Once people start making better presentations, mine won’t look so good. (But if you truly want to learn what works and how to do it right, Garr is the man to learn from.)"
Seth Godin
Speaker and Blogger
Author, Meatball Sunda e

"Garr is a beacon of hope for frustrated audiences everywhere. His design philosophy and fundamental principles bring life to messages and can invigorate careers. His principles of simplicity are as much a journey of the soul as they are restraint of the mouse."
Nancy Duarte
CEO, Duarte Design

"Presentation Zen is just fantastic. Best of all it's not another recipe book about “how to make slides” — this is about re-imagining how your entire presentation will work together as a persuasive and integrated show, from conception through delivery. Awesome."
Merlin Mann
43folders.com

About the Author

Garr Reynolds is an internationally acclaimed communications expert, and the creator of the most popular Web site on presentation design and delivery on the net: presentationzen.com. A soughtafter speaker and consultant, his clients include many in the Fortune 500. A writer, designer, and musician, he currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Management at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. Garr is a former corporate trainer for Sumitomo Electric, and once worked in Cupertino, California as the Manager for Worldwide User Group Relations at Apple, Inc. A longtime student of the Zen arts and resident of Japan, he currently lives in Osaka where he is Director of Design Matters Japan.

More About the Author

Garr Reynolds is an internationally acclaimed communications expert, and the creator of the most popular Web site on presentation design and delivery on the net: presentationzen.com. A soughtafter speaker and consultant, his clients include many in the Fortune 500. A writer, designer, and musician, he currently holds the position of Associate Professor of Management at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. Garr is a former corporate trainer for Sumitomo Electric, and once worked in Cupertino, California as the Manager for Worldwide User Group Relations at Apple, Inc. A longtime student of the Zen arts and resident of Japan, he currently lives in Osaka where he is Director of Design Matters Japan.

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Customer Reviews

This book will revolutionize the way you present.
puravida
The book is an easy read with good example slides, designs and lots of useful references.
Haluk Cavusoglu
Garr Reynolds new book Presentation Zen is a mastery of style and substance.
TJ Walker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

298 of 307 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is everything that I want my presentations to be when I'm up on stage... Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds. This will make you rethink everything you've known (and likely done) about how a presentation should be designed.

Contents:
Introduction: Presenting in Today's World
Preparation: Creativity, Limitations, and Constraints; Planning Analog; Crafting the Story
Design: Simplicity - Why It Matters; Presentation Design - Principles and Techniques; Sample Slides
Delivery: The Art of Being Completely Present; Connecting With an Audience
The Next Step: The Journey Begins
Photo Credits; Index

There's so much good stuff here that it's hard to figure out where to begin. Reynolds advocates for a departure from the ordinary style of presentation involving PowerPoint. You've all sat through those (or given them)... Pages of slides, chock full of text, gratuitous use of special effects, etc. Presentation Zen is more about simplicity and storytelling. Your slides should support *you*, the speaker. If someone can get all the information from your slides, why do they need you? Your slides should not overwhelm the audience, but should draw their attention to the point that you are making in your talk. Couple this approach with the ability to tell stories rather than recite facts, and you can put together presentations that will be appreciated, remembered, and best of all, acted upon.

He also gets into how best to design appealing and arresting slides. Reynolds uses sites like iStockPhoto to avoid the overused and cheesy clipart that comes part and parcel with PowerPoint.
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162 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C. Saks on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I found Presentation Zen disappointing. It seemed to violate in writing style many of the principles it seeks to correct in slide design, reading more like a meandering conversation over drinks than a well-laid-out, step-by-step primer. For example, the book was frustratingly repetitive, with even the simplest points restated through multiple chapters (really, how many times do you have to suggest using post-it notes?). Some central points came and went quietly in sidebars, and others completely lacked explanation or justification (i.e. the rule for using six words maximum per slide). Every time I thought I was about to discover a new and enlightening concrete principle of visual design with valid reasoning, it seemed the point from the previous chapter was repeated instead. Moreover, exceptions or alternate approaches also weren't considered, such as times when using a whopping seven words on a slide might be useful, or when more complex slide builds and transitions could help an audience grasp a concept. In addition, many of the points made in the book, such as the value of "taking risks," seemed obvious and trite.

Overall, like many tedious slide shows I've endured, I felt the book could have been half as long and made its points with the same clarity, and would have showed more respect for the reader's time. To its credit, it does offer some useful ideas on slide design, and some excellent graphic examples. It's also visually appealing, with beautiful slide reprints, tons of "good" and "bad" examples to learn from, and cleanly-designed pages. Still, I'd trade the appealing design for tighter, more solid, more useful content.
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323 of 372 people found the following review helpful By Fred VINE VOICE on January 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Like many others, I have grown (very) weary of the so-called "death by PowerPoint" culture which saturates the IT sector in which I work. I would gladly substitute every minute of mindless suffering sitting through too many presentations by sales persons and various "engineers" with 150% more time at the Dentist's. Much as I hate visiting my Dentist, at least I'll be healthier afterwards.

Also like many others, I wager, I found out about Presentation Zen the book from Presentation Zen the blog of which I am a fan. I am sorry to report that I am a bigger fan of the blog than I am of the book. First, the good.

The book itself is pleasing with good binding and great color. It's easy to read with clear type and an attractive layout. Chapter heading and sub-headings are clear and the flow of the book's content is harmonious. The reader can tell that good quality work went into the typesetting and publishing--kudos to New Riders.

How about content? Well here a few shortcomings appear and although not enough to dismiss the book outright are enough to cause me wonder. At 230 odd pages, the first impression as I flipped through is how "light" it is, literally and metaphorically. There is a surprising amount of white space and while that's understandable from a design perspective, from a reader's however, it falls short of fulfilling the promise of content a similarly priced book should deliver on.

Focused reading reveals surprisingly little that is original. I stopped counting at 12 the number of books by other authors referenced and quoted from; and while that isn't a crime per se, it's certainly a shortcoming.
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