Friday, December 21, 2012

Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

I'm interrupting my Top 20 countdown to catch up on some more recent books that I've completed. Among them is Garr Reynold's Presentation Zen, his book about . . . you guessed it: presentations! 

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter)

Actually, it's a fine book. Its main goal is to prevent Death by Powerpoint, perhaps the No. 1 health threat to the educated classes. Consider how many boring presentations you've been forced to sit through, presentations that, as delivered, ruin the ability to convey any useful information that the presenter may have to convey. Reynolds, a native of the U.S.  now residing in Japan, aims to help correct this threat to our sanity and welll-being. He does so through this book and his other writings. Reynolds uses the Zen aesthetic of minimalism to demonstrate to us how presentations don't need to bore us with too many words and too many bullet points. If you're a careful writer or speaker, none of his ideas should prove alien to you: brevity, clarity, and simiplicity are you're watchwords anyway. Nevertheless, it's good to have reminders, plus the aid of his eye for the visual. As a wordy guy myself, his pointers about using the visual for maximum effect--and we live in an increasingly visual world--are well worth the time, effort, and cost of the book. 

If you ever give a presentation, I highly recommend that you read this book before giving your next talk. I'll wager that both you and your audience will emerge the happier for your having done so.