The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within, Second Edition 2nd Edition
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- Item Weight : 4.8 ounces
- Paperback : 32 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0961392169
- ISBN-13 : 978-0961392161
- Product Dimensions : 8.5 x 0.1 x 10.5 inches
- Publisher : Graphics Pr; 2nd Edition (January 1, 2006)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #290,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In this brief, wisely written short essay Tufte shows how powerpoint presentations can and have destroyed good ideas.
How important points concerning the safety of the Challenger astronauts were know, how they were hidden from decision makers and how responsiblilities were avoided.
The representation of the Gettysburg address is magnificent.
His simple recommendations on how to make more effective presentations avoiding powerpoint and encouraging analyses and learning are a great reminder of our capabilities.
Tufte is responsible for changing how I teach. I used to like lecture with PowerPoint notes (or, when I got more advanced, notes written in the Beamer class of LaTeX). It always bothered me that my students thought the class was just the slides on the screen and my talking or not was irrelevant. I was even more disturbed on tests when there was no understanding.
My problem wasn't so much the medium but my use of it, and that is Tufte's point about PowerPoint. It does make a fine support. It can show simple diagrams, unfamiliar terms, and pictures.
What it does NOT do is present dense information well. This is better absorbed by reading or by doing something. And (in my profession) what student really enjoys listening to the teacher summarize information that the student could read and summarize himself. Much better to have a guided activity that reviews or uses the information.
Now I do recognize that Tufte's focus was not on education. But the principle is the same: talks are for summaries. For detailed information I need to be able to read, re-read, go back, flip forward, and take notes. In a talk, a summary of the highlights or a plan of action is best because this can actually be absorbed.
The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within, Second Edition by Edward R. Tufte makes me wonder:
- can you make a point in list format?
- why are we in such a hurry to get to our point?
- is Tufte making a statement by referring to PowerPoint as PP in his text?
- why do we think style is more communicative than substance?
Reasons to get and read this book:
- you'll never want to make a class presentation using PowerPoint again, even if it is required you do so
- if you never noticed irritating blips, beeps, background color and distracting graphics...you will after reading the book
- it will give you cause to sit back and really talk for a while about what you think, rather than give visual bites (the PowerPoint version of sound bites)
Although the author does make some valid points about the corporate culture pervading the information design afforded by a PP presentation, that is pretty much all this book offers. Perhaps in a non-academic environment this might be more earth shattering, but I find that the issue with PP is not so much the software - we all know it is designed for a corporate audience expecting punchlines and buzzwords. What is needed are well trained presenters who have training in technical communication so that they know when to override PP's design choices and make their own decisions about data representation.
Yes, it is true that one cannot include a 20 X 5 cell table and that pulling out pieces of it to fit on a slide reduces the overall resolution of the data being presented. But. Giving a presentation should never be about pretending that statistics are always truth. Just because one's data came out of a longer table does not mean that longer table didn't come out of a still longer one and so on. The point being that the error happens when either the speaker or the audience member accepts slide data as "Truth" rather than support for some other claim. A citation should be given and folks can follow up on their own. Or, as Tufte rightly suggests, a more detailed handout can accompany a presentation.
But, is that message worth buying this otherwise snarky indictment of what this person perceives to be the corporate erosion of science and engineering? It is up to you. For me, I won't be using this in class again.
Top reviews from other countries
Seine These: Powerpoint zwingt den Präsentierenden in einen gewissen Stil, der dem Denken und dem Verständnis abträglich ist. Anstatt sich auf die zur Verfügung stehenden Informationen zu konzentrieren, geht es nur noch um die Form. Tufte gelingt es, anhand von vielen Beispielen aufzuzeigen, dass Powerpoint oft eine starke Botschaft nur schwächt. Highlight ist meiner Meinung nach eine Umsetzung der berühmten "Gettyburg Address" von Abraham Lincoln als Powerpoint-Präsentation. Hier wird dann auch dem eingefleischten Präsentierer klar, dass er etwas überdenken muss.
Dabei schließt Tufte nicht den Gebraucht von Powerpoint per se aus. Es geht ihm nur darum, aufzuzeigen, dass Powerpoint nicht immer das Mittel der Wahl sein sollte. Das Buch zeigt somit folgerichtig nicht gutes Design von Präsentationen, sondern schlechtes. Wer mit diesem Denkanstoß leben kann und sich vom Vorschlag, von Powerpoint mal die Finger zu lassen, nicht zu sehr auf den Schlips getreten fühlt, wird mit einem netten, kleinen Büchlein belohnt.
Leider etwas dünn was die alternativen angeht. Ich hätte mir vielleicht auch noch eine Betrachtung gewünscht wie Powerpoint slides besser gestaltet werden könnten. Die Fundamentalopposition ist da nicht so hilfreich