REVIEW: "slide:ology", Nancy Duarte
- BKSLDLGY.RVW 20081127
"slide:ology", Nancy Duarte, 2008, 978-0-596-52234-6, U$34.99/C$34.99
%A Nancy Duarte www.slideology.com
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%G 978-0-596-52234-6 0-596-52234-7
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$34.99/C$34.99 800-998-9938 707-829-0515 nuts@...
%O Audience a- Tech 1 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 274 p.
I've seen a mindmap used for the table of contents before, but this is
the first time I've seen one used for the acknowledgements.
The introduction notes that many people use PowerPoint (which is, when
used properly, an effective tool) but don't know anything about
design. It also promises that the book will be simple to use, with
one idea per spread (two facing pages).
Chapter one proposes the creation of a new "slide ideology," and
promotes the idea of using slides and PowerPoint, stating that you can
do it, no matter what your skill level. Unfortunately, the book
itself weakens this argument. The ideas are not always lucid, and
some of the graphics do not illustrate the related points. It's
rather disheartening to note, right off the bat, that even
professionals can get it wrong. Drawing and sketching is suggested in
chapter two: the reader is exhorted to create ideas, not slides.
Diagrams are discussed in chapter three, but, again, the figures often
fail to display (at least to me) the concepts suggested in the text.
(Which brings to mind a kind of sociological and epistemological
question: are we starting to require a sort of pictorial education; a
kind of "grapheracy;" in some modes of communication?) Chapter four
is about displaying data, and here the figures do illustrate concepts
better than the explanations do, although a fair amount of analysis is
demanded of the reader (or viewer). We are told to "think like a
designer," in chapter five, but wasn't part of the point of the book
to provide some help to those who weren't graphic designers? (There
isn't much in these pages to tell you how to think like a designer.)
Well, maybe that last is not quite fair, because chapter six does give
a few points on the arranging of elements on a slide. However, these
items are not as clear as those provided in chapter four. This
material is extended in chapter seven with respect to colour and text.
Lots of rules are provided; there are seven spreads, or fourteen
pages, devoted to colour theory; but many of the precepts are
difficult for those not trained in the graphic arts. Chapter eight is
very similar, but in regard to images. Some tips about animation are
provided in chapter nine, but the "case studies" are confusing,
possibly because they do not work well in the static environment of
print. The material on templates, in chapter ten, is not supposed to
be instructions on how to use the function in PowerPoint, but the lack
of explanation on the basic template function means the reader must be
well familiar with the feature in order to understand the advice given
in the text.
Chapter eleven gives advice on performing presentations. The
suggestions are good, but they are contradictory. In other words,
there are many ways to present. It might be a good idea to try out
the various recommendations in different presentations, and see which
ones fit you. More abstract thoughts on presenting are provided in
The organization of the book is unusual. While the graphically
oriented may relate well to it, those of more linear thought may find
it annoying. Sometimes a list of factors in a concept makes a
structure for a chapter, and then again, sometimes it doesn't.
I have created my share of slide presentations, and have definitely
survived far too many "death by PowerPoint" harangues. (As Vint Cerf
said, power corrupts, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.) Despite the
fact that many aspects of this book were personally annoying, it
should be a valuable resource that most presenters and slide deck
developers should read. It's not so much a tutorial book as a
collection of reminders, and the vast majority of presenters
desperately need to be reminded of a number of points.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2008 BKSLDLGY.RVW 20081127
====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
The optimist sees the glass as half full.
The pessimist sees the glass as half empty.
The engineer sees that the glass was twice as large as necessary.