slide:ology by Nancy Duarte

A Book Review – by Gregory West, SCUG Editor (

Pro Presentations Taken Apart

Pro Presentations Taken Apart




Nancy Duarte
Published by O’Reilly Media
ISBN-13: 978-0-596-52234-6
US/CAN $34.99

There is nothing worse than a bad presentation. We have all, at one time or another, have been forced to sit and watch a slide show presentation, praying it will improve with time. Unfortunately, the odds are against us.

Sadly, these are professionals giving these presentations; so it must get better, right? Unfortunately, all-too-often these professional presentations go sour and chase instead of attract potential interests. What goes wrong? The answers are on each of the 274 pages of this book..

The introduction clearly points out that this book is not a manual for PowerPoint; it is a book is a “reference book” and it teaches the “why”. The format is a coffee-table design, laying flat for easy reference, with large vivid colour pictures and designs throughout. The book begins giving you a brief history of presentations and why presentations are an important part of companies who “spend millions of dollars on advertising, marketing, and PR to attract and retain customers” and they have a need to create effect presentations to get their message out to prospective clients.

You will find several interesting Case Studies that Durate has created to show how some companies create “World Class Presentations” in simply terms, and quite frankly very easy to create. For example, one Case Study shows how Mark Templeton used communication and story telling “and his innate ability to think visually” in order to make it pay off.

There is a lot of behind-the-scenes psychology in creating presentations and Durate is ubiquitous in providing ongoing information. From the concept of “Creating Ideas, Not Slides”, to “Thinking Like a Designer”, Durate shows how simple it really is to create professional presentations that promote interest using “Visual Elements” and “Creating Movement”. There is are amazing sections on colour psychology and text typesetting styles that go well beyond slide presentations that you may ever read twice as I did. I love the “Dissecting a Font” section where you learn the “personality” of various fonts and why they are used in various forms of presentations to make a point or grab your attention without you realizing it.

As you travel through this book you will look at a presentation with a new sense of vision. And if you have to do a presentation you will not make the mistakes that all-too-many professionals do each and every day throughout the world.

This book is a good read from cover to cover. It can be opened at any chapter where I guarantee you won’t be able to put it back down. It is a great reference book to give you the insight and boost you may need to make your presentation work for you and your audience. I highly recommend this book to not only presenters but also viewers who just may become the best critics out there.

Gregory West is the Editor and Executive Member of the Sarnia Computer Users’ Group. He can be reached at prospector16(at) (

Watch this video for a taste of the book:


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