It has been a while since I have done a review, so I have been in a bit of a hiatus, but I thought i'd ease back into it with a less technical but more philosophical book, which is why I have opted to review Beyond Bullet Points, by Cliff Atkinson. The intent of the book is to hone in on your powerpoint presentation skills, in order to be concise, targeted and clear when you are out there in a board meeting, or making a pitch. The book is into it's third iteration, after the first one kicked off in 2005, but the differences between the iterations are incremental and minimal. Because of a lot of the tips are best done illustratively in this book, I would go for the e-book as opposed to the black-and-white physical books.
The book goes through each chapter, building on how to convey your message or story in a sensible organised manner, which was especially focused on in chapter four - Planning your first five slides, which aids in constructing your most important section of information in. The book details other useful tips, such as what colours to use, what background to use, when and where to place graphics/icons.
I have certainly been of the belief that presenting is an art, as you know, and not being one to want to read the queue cards religiously, I aspire to be more like the Steve Jobs of presenting, going by what is in your head, being minimalist with the presentation to avoid distracting the audience. This book highlights a lot of the implicit logic in doing so, but structuring an essay into a presentation, and the presentation into something that isn't boring or redundant, is the lesson you will take from reading this book.
The book is clear and logical, and Cliff has done a good job of covering all aspects of presenting, but it would be nice to be able to summarise everything in a page or two at the end, because I'm pretty sure I would forget all of this by the time I have to make my next presentation. Therefore, a reference-style chapter that summarises everything would be recommended. All in all, I am happy with this book, it achieves what it promises to do, and I find Cliff's writing st lye to be enjoyable as a light read (meaning a nontechnical read).
Prior Knowledge: None, this isn't a technical book, but a good business read
My rating :[rating=3.5]
Author: Cliff Atkinson
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Year: April 2011