Book Review: Beyond Bullet Points

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On the face of it, Beyond Bullet Points has a lot of things going against it. First, it is a book about PowerPoint. Buy a book about a program most people hate? Second, it’s published by Microsoft Press. One would think it would be entirely propaganda.

Most PowerPoint Presentations are simply horrible. I’ve been driven to the “bullet point” presentation style and hate it. Thinking I would have nothing to lose, I bought Beyond Bullet Points.

Am I glad I did.

Cliff Atkinson takes the normal approach to creating a PowerPoint presentation and turns it on its head. The book, no kidding, is practically a page turner. How can this be?

Before doing anything with a PowerPoint deck, the book takes you through how people learn, especially how they learn a lot – like when you do your presentation. Through this research on how people learn, you finally understand why bullet points in a presentation really do turn you off. Yet, we do them anyway.

After explaining the research, the book then goes through the basic structure of a presentation – and it is the classic story structure. Building this structure out – in Word, of course, since this is a Microsoft publication! – then allows translation of your key points into the presentation.

Following the story structure and then implementing the simple steps to create the work in PowerPoint would be enough to buy the book. But Beyond Bullet Points then takes you through building a complete presentation following the structured plan.

The book even comes with its own CD that gives you the templates to follow using Office 2007.

If Bill Gates had followed the advice in this book – if most of Microsoft followed the advice in this book – presentations would be much more meaningful across the board.

Cube Rules Rating: 5 of 5 cubes

Beyond Bullet Points is a classic way to present information the right way. If you do presentations, you need to follow the process outlined in this book.

Photo by p_a_h

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