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Presentation Zen Design June 14, 2010

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Books, Presentations, Reviews.
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Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your PresentationsGarr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery should be the standard against which presentation books are measured. One part presentation philosophy, one part aesthetic approach, and all parts downright cool, it makes its case so effortlessly as to make us wonder why we haven’t been making more captivating presentations before. However, with Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations, Reynolds has done himself one better, and may have written the only presentation book you need ever read.

Presentation Zen Design is not so much a follow-up to the original but a more complete threshing out of the ideas that Reynolds touched on in Presentation Zen. In that regard, the first book — good as it is — seems but a teaser to this more holistic treatise on presentation. Indeed, Presentation Zen Design covers a comprehensive set of topics that should be of interest to presentation mavens of today, be it color selection and typography or white space and photography.

Obviously, Reynolds has exquisitely good visual taste and communications savvy. Looking through his sample slide designs (and redesigns) peppered throughout the book is by itself a treat and an education. But it also helps that he is in fact an educator himself, which shows in chapter by chapter that is instructive, illustrative and easy to read. In fact, it is amazing that Presentation Zen Design strikes one as less technical compared to, say, Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology, even in those areas where the two cover the same ground. And as if his own insight weren’t enough, Reynolds also solicits assistance from his equally talented and like minded peers — such as Scott Kelby, Guy Kawasaki, John McWade and (of course) Nancy Duarte to name but a few — to contribute some insights on different aspects of presentation design.

Espousing truly simple principles with which to approach presentations, Presentation Zen Design is perhaps the most complete book of its kind. While an argument can be made that those interested in presentation need look no further than what Reynolds has to offer here, an equally good case can be made that Presentation Zen Design would be a fitting capstone to anyone’s presentation education. Start with Presentation Zen. Move on to slide:ology. Pick any number of presentation books in between. Then graduate to Presentation Zen Design.

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