Book Review | Slide:ology

Title: Slide:ology – The Art & Science of Creating Great Presentations
Author: Nancy Duarte
Year: 2008
Publisher: O’Reilly Media
Pages: 261
Topics Covered:  Visual Storytelling, Communications, PowerPoint Presentations

Have you ever sat through a presentation where the presenter’s slides had so much copy on them that you didn’t know whether to listen to what they were saying or speed read what was in front of you? Have you ever seen a presentation where the presenter just read off their slides and used it as a script or had very complex data visuals that you were left confused of what you were looking at? Nancy Duarte and her team at Duarte have come to save the world of awful presentations through the book, Slide:ology. Slide:ology is a reference book on how to create visually appealing presentations that not only captivate an audience but allow you to communicate your message in the most effective way.  This book is a thorough lesson on design and you will want to have it by your side whenever you open up PowerPoint or Keynote.

What I Learned

When you read this book, you will not be able to help yourself from highlighting and underlining key points that you won’t want to forget. Nancy Duarte breaks down everything you need to know about visual storytelling in Slide:ology. As Nancy states, “presentations all too often reflect the agenda of the presenter rather than build a connection with the audience.” Visual storytelling is an art and if there is anything you should invest your time in, it is to be the best communicator you can be. All too often great messages don’t get told because the presenter does not visually know how to walk their audience through it. The reality is, if a slide contains more than 75 words, it is a document. How many documents have you seen tried to be portrayed as a presentation?

Within Slide:ology, Nancy Duarte walks you through the following:

  • Creating a new slide theology
  • Creating ideas, not slides
  • Creating diagrams
  • Displaying data
  • Thinking like a designer
  • Arranging elements
  • Using Visual Elements: Background, Colour, and Text
  • Using Visual Elements: Images
  • Creating movement
  • Governing with a template
  • Interacting with slides
  • The five theses of the Power of a Presentation

Why You Should Read This Book

Read this book if you are sick of seeing bad presentations and want to do something about it. Elevate your career by allowing Slide:ology to teach you valuable lessons in design. Stop writing paragraphs on your slides. Stop boring your audience. It’s time you change your ways and take your career to another level. You may not need visuals to deliver a great presentation, but if you need to build a deck, don’t you want to design one that will be most visually pleasing to your audience? Go through this book with a fine tooth comb and digest everything it has to teach you.

Favourite Quotes

“Once a manager focused on tactics, he evolved into a leader by becoming a student of communications and learning how to instill vision” – pg. 9

“Data slides are not really about the data. They are about the meaning of the data” – pg. 64

“Strength and clarity determines how well information is conveyed” – pg. 88

Final Thoughts

You will never view another presentation the same way again after reading this book. You will critique a bad presentation when you see it and want to recommend Slide:ology to the presenter. You will be so excited to implement the new tools and techniques that Nancy Duarte shares with you. I only wish that I would have found Slide:ology sooner in my career.

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