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Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
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Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  11,456 Ratings  ·  390 Reviews
Presentation Zen will help presenters see the process in a way that is different, simpler, more visual, more natural, more effective, and ultimately far more meaningful. Presentations are generally poor because their creators have learned bad habits and lack awareness and knowledge about what makes for a great presentation (and what does not). This book aims to help people ...more
Paperback, 229 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by New Riders Publishing (first published 2007)
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Alexander Fontana
Apr 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
The six aptitudes are:
Design (not only function)
Story (not only argument - Mike Meyers type delivery)
Symphony (not only focus)
Empathy (not only logic)
Play (not only seriousness)
Meaning (not only accumulation)

How to improve immediately:
1. Make slides that reinforce your work not repeat them. -
2. Don't use cheesy images. Instead of four bullets on EPA pollution data just use a picture of dead birds and state the data
3. No dissolves, spins or other t
Lance Greenfield
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lance by: tony greenfield
There are over four thousand reviews of this book on Goodreads, so it is unlikely that I can say anything fresh about the content and style of this superb book, so I am not about to try. I'll just tell you a little story of how it helped me at a most opportune time.

I have been presenting and instructing for well over three decades, and I am still learning something new every day. We should all be open to that and never believe that we hae actually arrived at the perfect state. Strive for perfect
Josh Brown
Mar 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I learned more about presentations from this book than I ever thought possible.

The audience is there to hear you speak, not to read your slides. You should be selling something to them - convincing them of something. If you're just giving them information, why didn't you just send them a document?

Give presentations like Steve Jobs, not Bill Gates. Bill Gates is unremarkable.

Keep the text on slides to a minimum - no more than six words on a slide.

Rather than embedding a small image in the slide,
Oct 15, 2010 rated it liked it
This was quite a good little book, if a bit over long. Which, in itself was quite amusing given that the main message is ‘keep it simple’. I think The Non-Designer's Presentation Book does a better job, but there were things in this one that really worked. His comparisons of cluttered and uncluttered slides on pages 123-125 ought to be enough to give people who spot this in a bookstore an idea of what needs fixing in their presentations.

But overall there is too much guff about things that don’t
Apr 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: pastors, speakers, designers, marketing, EXECUTIVES
Less is more.

Use full screen imagery to convey your point.

Use pleasing color schemes.

Use san-serif fonts.

Those four sentences sum up what Presentation Zen is all about. I know some may say I don't get it. I do. I just don't think all the zen info helped. The author really didn't need to use them to prove his point. Just the comparison of slides was enough.

However, this book did change the way I present my messages and talks to teens as a youth pastor. I believe it is true that people remember mo
Sep 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
I like the idea that slideware is a sufficiently developed form that there's an ecosystem of tools made to make one suck less at its usage. This book dips a toe in the water of improving ones tool usage but there are several things that get in the way.

1) Walls of Text - Many of the words are wasted and several times I'd find that I'd skipped a paragraph, reread it and gain nothing.

2) References to Asian Culture - Many of these asides simply got in the way. I got the constant feeling of "this is
Randy Ingermanson
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was worried that this would be a breezy feel-good book without much content.

No worries. The book turned out to be brilliant. The examples were the most useful part. It's one thing to tell me how to do it. It's another to show me.

I've been doing presentations for a long time, and this book has lit a fire under me to do better. Looking forward to my next teaching gig to see how well it all works out for me.
Xiaofei Guo
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: presentation
This book summarize the key elements of a presentation in a different way from the "craft of scientific presentation". However, many of the principles are overlapped. I find this book one of the must read for presentation along with "the craft of scientific presentation" and "slide:ology".

Chapter 1 Introduction
Presentations in Today’s World

Decoration, for better or worse, is noticeable -- sometimes enjoyable, sometimes irritating, but it is unmistakable there. However, the best designs ar
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Megan by: Shirley
This Friday I'm heading a workshop for 11 librarians in the county, on how to use social media. I am a little bit nervous about this, not because of going up in front of a group of people (I have little fear of this, which is really surprising), but because I'm afraid I won't be able to get my point across, speak loudly enough, or be clear enough for people unfamiliar with new technology. I had written up a standard PowerPoint with bullet points, clipart, and gradient backgrounds, and it all fel ...more
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
For its purpose, this book can't get much better than it is. Garr Reyolds uses plenty of gorgeous photos and example slides to show you how to make a better slide show presentation. But it's more than that. There are touches of self-help -- bits of advice that have as much to do with making yourself a better person as they do with making yourself a better presenter. There are touches of how-to -- tracts that show you where you've gone wrong in the past and why you are on the "Most Wanted List" i ...more
John Mangan
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
After reading this book you'll realize why 99% of presentations you have ever seen have been done all wrong, and it all makes perfect sense. You'll also realize how applications such as "PowerPoint" are misunderstood and misused in most business environments today.

Finally, in retrospect you can easily compare the tips for success in this book with very famous and high impact presentations such as those given by Steve Jobs and other industry leaders.
박은정 Park
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to 박은정 by: Cheol Kang
이 책을 처음 집었을 때는, 프리젠테이션에 대한 '사상'을 담고 있을 줄 알았는데, 사실은 '젠 스타일의' 프리젠테이션에 대한 얘기에 더 가까운듯하다. 모든 프리젠테이션이 젠 스타일이 되어야 하는가에 대해서 나는 저자만큼의 확신은 할 수 없지만 젠 스타일의 프리젠테이션에 관해서만큼은, 아주 명확하고 간결하게 지침들을 전해준다. (아무리 SNR을 높인다고 해도, 학술적인 내용을 그림 하나로 전달하는 일이 언제나 가능한 일일까?) 많은 부분이 뻔하게 느껴질 수 있지만, 이미 아는 것도 언어로 재정의돼서 머릿속에서 한 번의 loop를 더 돌면 생각은 아주 명확해진다. 이 책에서 제일 좋았던 것은 다음과 같다.

1. 언행일치가 된다. (ex: 예제를 활용해서 스토리텔링을 하는 것)
2. 좋은 예와 좋지 않은 예를 대비해주면서 보여주기 때문에, 말하는 바를 명확히 파악하기 쉽다.

좋은 책을 추천해준 철에게 감사를!
Andrew Neuendorf
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I want to throw everything else away and shave my head and follow the teachings of this book and tattoo my favorite PowerPoint slide on my face, which would be a single brush stroke on a white background, arcing like a swan's neck. (My body is the white background...I am white)
Samuel Titěra
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
čtěte v angličtině, český překlad je velmi špatný
Apr 18, 2011 marked it as to-read
Loved the book - I still don't always do as he says (I still use the cursed bullet points too much :-)), but it affected how I present and speak.
Adrian Luben
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
very good place to start in order to perfect your presentation skills..
Omar Halabieh
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "If we desire to communicate with more clarity, integrity, beauty, and intelligence, then we must move beyond what is considered to be "normal" to something different and far more effective. The principles I am most mindful of through every step of the presentation process are restraint, simplicity, and naturalness: Restraint in preparation. Simplicity in design. Naturalness in delivery. All of which, in the end, lead t
Krishna Kumar
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reynolds wants to write about good PowerPoint presentation, and he does a very good job at it. He explains the poor ways in which business people (including Bill Gates) currently use PowerPoint, and how much better it can be, citing the example of Steve Jobs, among others. He shows us some very good examples of PowerPoint presentations that he and other people (independently) have prepared. The book also contains examples of poor slides and how they can be improved. Reynolds draws upon the knowl ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
If you have ever had to give a presentation - in education or in business - this is a very good resource to stop the 'death by power point' that we have all experienced as participants of a presentation. You know, slide after slide of hard to read charts, tables, text that the presenter reads from, etc. BORING!

The author primarily emphasizes a philosophy of a great presentation but he also gives many concrete examples and 'how to's ' to implement a presentation of any subject area that engages t
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book will change all of my powerpoints in the future. I can't wait to share these ideas with students to make their presentations better too. While this book is written for people in the business world, I have sat through plenty of bad powerpoint presentations in education, including some of my students' presentations. No more templates and bullet points.
Clifford Luebben
The very aesthetic of the book is refreshing. This combined with an approachable writing style made for a very enjoyable read while actually learning some very practical points about visual presentations.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Look at this book before doing another PowerPoint presentation or other visual display. The best part, is there were so many comparisons - bad slide, good slide and you could really see the principles being taught.
Adam Sipos
May 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: career
This is about Zen and Japan, with very minimal useful information. The author's other (red) book is the one I thought this was going to be: practical tips on presentation design for non-designers.
 Christy  S
I bought this amazing book in a book fair.
I love art and design, and I've always found most presenter's PowerPoint to be quite dull. After reading Reynolds' book about presentation design and delivery, I became more aware of my own and other people's way of presentation. I've realised some of the mistakes I've always been making (and many of the people around me), and gradually learn to understand the key elements to make a presentation intriguing.
I like how Reynolds chronologically shows the p
Tord Helsingeng
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very useful. The only problem is that I now have to rework all my presentations...
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Einfache Ideen mit wuchtigem Effekt
Zunächst war ich etwas kritisch dem Buch gegenüber, das ich aus einer Laune heraus angefangen habe zu lesen. Ich hatte von meiner Firma bereits vor einigen Jahren eine Schulung erhalten, wie man präsentiert, und dachte, ja, was gibts da noch groß zu lernen.

Ach ja, es ist immer wieder faszinierend, zu erleben, wie dumm und naiv man früher war. Dieses Buch hat meine Sicht auf Präsentationen völlig verändert. Alles, was in dieser alten Firmenschulung gesagt wurde,
Barry Davis
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Subtitled, “Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery,” the author of this exceptional book is a writer, designer and musician who lives and works in Japan. Drawing upon zen principles throughout the book, each of the three key chapters (Preparation, Design and Delivery) is full of practical insights and examples of the primary principles for enhancing the reader’s ability to make their points powerfully and concisely. Multiple topics close with an “In Sum” page that repeats the key princ ...more
Colleen Vincent
Death to PowerPoint! Or at least to the old way of using PowerPoint-using too much text with the same boring clip art and banners. Step-up your PowerPoint presentation slides with the design tips and examples found in this book because Presentation Zen lifts presentation design to an art. There are plenty of design tips and illustrations to engage and inspire the reader. The premise of the book is that the content of your slides should accompany the story you're telling with well-thought out pic ...more
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent book! One to keep on hand at the office for each time you are asked to do a presentation. The numerous before-and-after examples of Powerpoint slides were incredibly helpful.

It's not strictly a visual design book, but there is just the right amount of design information to empower the traditionally-trained Powerpoint presenter to improve his slides and presentations in the most important ways. In particular, he discusses composition, contrast, signal to noise ratio on the screen, ne
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Best-selling author and popular speaker Garr Reynolds is back in this newly revised edition of his classic, best-selling book, Presentation Zen, in which he showed readers there is a better way to reach the audience through simplicity and storytelling, and gave them the tools to confidently design and deliver successful presentations.

In this new edition, Garr gives his readers new, fresh examples to draw inspiration from, with a whole new chapter for those who present on more technical a
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