Presentation Zen (the book)
Office space and the writing process...

Aloha and mahalo for your support!

Thank you to everyone for the amazing emails. I appreciate your support and your comments very much. Some of you have sent some fantastic slides and some of them may just find their way into the book (please keep ’em coming!). In the previous post I mentioned that I will not be blogging much until I am done with all writing and design. All design work must be done sometime in September; the writing needs to be done in August. The book will be published sometime before the end of this year by New Riders (an imprint of Peachpit Press). Many people said they would like me to share the process of writing/designing the book on the blog form time to time or just post some pics. I can do that.

The cutting is the hardest part
The biggest problem I am having right now is the cutting of written material. It is really true what Mark Twain said so many years ago: Writing a very long document is easy, what’s excruciatingly difficult is writing something short, tight, and great. But I want this book to be very visual and practical and be a good blend of inspiration and education; there is no point in repeating the obvious or writing a 300 page manifesto.

In Hawaii this week working (or worrying about working) on the book 24/7. Below are a few pics from Silicon Valley and here in Hawaii.

Silicon Valley


ABOVE: Spent two days sharing ideas with Nancy Duarte (far left), CEO of Duarte Design, the biggest and best presentation design firm on the planet (two of her brilliant, awesome assistants also joined us). Duarte have relocated to their own extremely cool and large building in Mountain View in the heart of the Valley. I could talk to Nancy about design and presentations until the cows come home. Interestingly, I don’t think we ever really talked about PowerPoint or Keynote. We talked about story and message and visual communication, structure, and on and on. I guess this underscores the idea that great presentations and great design are not about tools or technique, they're about ideas and getting messages to stick (more on that later). Oh, and Mark Duarte let me play with his iPhone. I’m hooked. Blown away in fact. Must….have…iPhone….now…..Argh!


Stopped by Guy Kawasaki’s house for some words of wisdom about writing, etc. As always, Guy’s words were inspiring. Thanks Guy! Also met some friends at Apple to get their advice on the book, writing tips, etc. Cupertino and Palo Alto have the best climate; it seems like it is always sunny and 79 degrees.


Snapped these pics while out on a run the first day. I was in search of inspiration or perhaps just finding a healthier way to procrastinate.

Sunrise from the hotel balcony.

And a few minutes later, a rainbow.

Working in the hotel room. Although I have more written material than necessary and several outlines on paper, I still put it up on the wall where I could get a better picture for the flow and feel for the narrative. (A note to myself on the TV: don’t waste time!).

Back out on the beach I stumble across a hula lesson and take this snap.

Back to work, this time on the balcony over looking Waikiki Beach.

Thanks again everone — a hui hou!



Good luck, enjoy the journey.

Mehrdad Rashidfarrukhi

Have you read the Weinberg on Writing?

Weinberg suggests the Fieldstone method which seems very interesting for writing.



We just got back from Oahu a couple days ago. My brother-in-law noted that iPhones were in stock at the Apple shop in Ala Moana and cheaper than the mainland to boot. If you get any downtime, be sure to check it out.


I like very much you way of working... Enjoy!


Thank you for sharing the process. I´m inspired and encouraged. Best wishes from Berlin-Germany

gabriele barni

you are great.

Charles Martineau

All right a book from Garr! Happy to hear that! I'll get it! that's for sure...

One post on your blog that should be included in some kind of extra tips or whatever is the one on "where to get good pictures"! That post was extremely useful to me!

muris kobaslija

The best of luck! I hope the book is as good and inspiring as the blog was (is) for me. A very useful posts for me were comparisons of Jobs' vs. Gates' style of presentation (most scientists go with Gates' style, unfortunately).


Adding to the visual- periodic table I suggest
you should also focus on the 'fonts' - at least few pages dedicated on that - I have some documents on that( got from the net) - if you want i can push it you !


So beautiful scenery in Hawaii...
I always get a lot from your articles,some insights,some improvements of my presentation and others.
Good luck and Enjoy:)

E. I. Sanchez

I really enjoy reading your blog. I'm learning a lot about presentations and design.

I'm looking forward to reading your book.


O. Germain

Hi Garr,

Although I never have had the opportunity to see you presenting live, your blog has inspired me to completely change my slides and story strategy. Although most of what you are saying is very important and well-written, in many cases it has been said in bits and pieces elsewhere (even if most presenters constantly forget it). What makes an amazing difference is that your site actually illustrates dramatically the results. You are therefore certainly right in making your book as visual as possible.
You are also right that your book should not be another "How to Powerpoint". That being said, I would encourage you to be a bit more explicit about how to make those stunning presentations you are making. There is more to it than just having the right story, the right message, the right picture and the right simple text - you have a knack of putting it together that is truly beautiful (and compelling). There is personal talent and experience in it of course, but whatever else you can say about how you make it happen would certainly be appreciated. The design books I have read give great ideas, but are mostly centered around standard printed material, so you end up with developments around the "contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity" line, which often do not apply to a slide show. So blaze new trail, tell us how you do it, beyond the message and the story.

Good luck and I am definitely looking forward to buying that book.

Pamela Slim

What a great update Garr!

It is so fun and inspiring to see the process of you writing your book, including interviews and uplifting connections with inspirational people. (My husband aside, you and Guy are two of my favorite "education motivation" leaders, so I love the pic with you together!)

I can so relate to the need to focus on finishing a book, coupled with the resistance that sometimes comes with doing a very important task. If you have not yet read it, I HIGHLY recommend Steven Pressfield's book "The War of Art" that gets to the root of creative and writer's block unlike anything I have ever read. And if you feel guilty taking time to read, it is very short and concise, so you can't beat yourself up for spending a few hours reading after a hard day's work writing. I guarantee it will inspire you. (Although it feels a bit of an oxymoron associating the words "hard day's writing" with your picture on the deck of your hotel room with your laptop. :)

Keep the faith, and the good work. I am so excited for the book and want you to know that reading about your process turning a blog into a book is helping me with mine!

Go get em!



Looking forward to the book. I continue to push my team to look to you as a mentor on presentations. You provide lots of guidance and inspiration to/for least by buying the book, I won't feel so guilty about the value I get for free from your work on the web! Incredible.
Kind Regards,

Adam Chapman

Looking forward to your book.
I hope you stay focused and dont stuff to much in it because Samuel Clemens is right about the wrighting part and I think cutting of the excess in your story telling (how hard that may be) makes for a better, more compelling story.
You have been aan inspiration to me, thanks!

ps dont forget the pooping part in your book!

with kind regards from the to cold and to damp netherlands


Hello Garr,

in your recent blog entry you wrote that there are "indeed some good books on presentations out there, but I still think the genre is underserved". Would you like to share the titles and authors with us? - I'm really really curious ;-)

And please do write about your writing process and writing experiences as it will be not only very interesting to us, your fans, but also would be a very good word-of-mouth advertising for your book as search engines love weblogs, trackbacks, etc. as we all know.

And if you need some good English-German translator or/and German editors please have a look at my network at my Xing-profile as I can't wait to see your book in a German language edition too ;-)
Remember: German is spoken by approximately 100 to 120 million native speakers and another 20 million non-native speakers.

Have a nice time while writing,

Paul McKey

I am writing a book on Smart Business Design and last October did some research in Honolulu. IN fact I stayed in hte same hotel as you, the Park Shore. I can tell from the photos. However I was on the 18th floor when the earthquake hit at 7:07am. That swimming pool was our tsunami safety pad (it diden't come).
Lessons I learned? Keep a small bag packed with a torch while holidaying in Honolulu!

William Irwin

Those are some Beautifull Pics man. You are sooo lucky. :)

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