Presentation Zen (the book)
July 13, 2007
Greetings from the sunny Oregon Coast, which for me is “the other side” of the Pacific Ocean. This part of the world has always been an inspiration for me. I’ve been to many parts of the globe, but the breathtaking, unspoiled nature, and awe-inspiring seascapes found here at the end of the Lewis & Clark trail never fail to remind me of what’s really important in life. Here I am reminded that life is not always about “extraordinary accomplishments” but is instead just as much about finding the extraordinary in the simple and ordinary which we often never see because we fail to slow down. I live in the middle of a metro area of 20 million people on the other side of “the other side” of the Pacific in Osaka. Alone time can be hard to find in Japan. Walking alone on the beaches or hiking in the lush forests here one can find clarity, perspective....and meaning.
Alone time on the Oregon Coast (pic snapped via remote control).
“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone."
— Rollo May
The Oregon Coast is the appropriate place, then, to announce to you that Peachpit Press will be publishing my first book on the topic of presentations. The name of the book is Presentation Zen (we’re still working on the subtitle) and it’s due out in late fall of this year. Several very cool publishers had approached me about writing a book related to the content found in the Presentation Zen blog. I submitted proposals to two and in the end went with Peachpit. I’ve been a loyal reader of many of the Peachpit offerings and just had a really good feeling about them. I’m the author of the book and I am also responsible for all layout and design. The schedule is amazingly tight, so this summer I am spending all my energy on the book, including chronic episodes of self-loathing, doubt, and procrastination. But from what I hear from my friends who have published best-selling books, self-loathing, doubt, and procrastination are quite common among professional authors.
“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
— Thomas Mann
Sunset at 9:05 pm in Cannon Beach.
Great, another book on presentations
Does the world really need yet another book on presentations? There are indeed some good books on presentations out there, but I still think the genre is underserved. Presentation Zen is in full color with many, many visuals and sample slides. The presentation of the book is as important as the content. The book is meant to be a complement to the books that are already in print. It is not a “how to use PowerPoint” book (there are many) nor does the book prescribe a method, a method to be followed A to Z. Instead, Presentation Zen discusses approaches to presentations, approaches that are creative, simple, and highly visual with many real world examples. Just as there are many paths to enlightenment, there are indeed many ways to prepare and design a successful presentation. But regardless of techniques or style or software applications and so on, there are common communication and design principles that insanely great presentations share (simplicity is one of those tenets). There are a billion ways to present poorly, but if we look below the surface we see that good presentations have much in common. The book, like the blog, will look at some of those common principles.
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach...always an inspiration.
You can be a part of it
I need your help. While much of the writing is done, there is still time and room for me to incorporate some of your thoughts, insights, and examples. If you’d like to share your experiences please send me a note. If the material in the blog has been helpful at all for you I’d love to hear how. What specific posts have been most useful (or useless) to you on the PZ blog? What success (or failure) stories do you have in applying the “PZ approach” in your work? Do you have any slides (good or bad) that you can share? Your stories are important to me and I’d like to share them with a wider audience. I will not reprint your name or material in the book or use a slide, etc. without first confirming permission with you. Even if you want to remain anonymous I’d love to hear from you. I read every email I get from the blog and appreciate them greatly (and have learned a lot from them). Look forward to hearing from you.
Writing a book is like having homework every minute of the day
If you are interested in writing a book, listen to what my favorite comedian Lewis Black says (YouTube video) about his experience writing a book in his speech at a book signing event.
I’m off to Silicon Valley now to visit buddies at Apple, Duarte Design, etc. and then to Hawaii alone to work on the book 24/7. There will not be many blog posts until September, but once the book is done I will continue “giving it away” and blogging as usual (I have a ton of topics in the drafts folder). From time to time I’ll post on the progress of the book, etc. Thanks to everyone who stops by Presentations Zen...I appreciate it very much (Domo arigatou gozaimasu!).
Congratulations! Best of luck with this, and if you need reviewers, consider me a volunteer!
Posted by: dwlt | July 13, 2007 at 05:48 AM
Wow, I am really looking forward to your book!
By the way: you mentioned that there are already great books out there covering this topic. Which are your favourite ones?
Posted by: Kutti | July 13, 2007 at 06:47 AM
Best wishes for the book - and for your time on the Oregon coast and Hawaii. I think I'd like Oregon more than Hawaii, actually.... btw, I do "poop" (give it away) frequently. This gets me much attention for my 'expertise' and stretches me in new venues. I often take challenging opportunities...
Posted by: Lauren Muney | July 13, 2007 at 08:17 AM
put me down for a copy for myself, and another dozen or so to hand out to my clients.
Posted by: andrew hollister | July 13, 2007 at 09:13 AM
Great news on the book. I'm ready to make my Amazon pre-order!
Posted by: paul stromgren | July 13, 2007 at 09:36 AM
Both of our sites (www.lifesworkgroup.com)are featured on Pam Slim's, Escape From Cubicle Nation website. I visited her site today and clicked on your webpage.
Great website. I will learn and apply your knowledge.
I sold my interest in a biotechnology company over 2 years and moved from San Diego to Portland, Oregon. Crazy move by some-brilliant move for my family and I.
I'm so glad you are discussing how special the Oregon coastline can be. We fulfilled a dream and purchased an Oregon beach house ourself.
Posted by: Matthew Scott | July 13, 2007 at 09:42 AM
1st time visitor, instant fan. Kick butt with the book.
What's the saying? "The mightiest river starts with a single drop of water." Imagine each keystroke as a rain drop and the sound of typing as the sound of a rain storm. Don't worry what comes out on screen; just enjoy the sound and know the sun comes after it. (end analogies)
Posted by: Shane | July 13, 2007 at 10:00 AM
Congratulations, Garr. I've always enjoyed your blog, and I look forward to recommending your book to clients!
Posted by: Lisa Braithwaite | July 13, 2007 at 10:04 AM
Congratulations Garr - Presentation Zen has really helped me change the way I approach presentations and I'm grateful to you for sharing your wisdom. I look forward to the book.
Posted by: annette clancy | July 13, 2007 at 05:41 PM
Congratulations, I recognize your feelings after writing my PhD (in Europe you really produce a book). Your book will be great and I will email you some thoughts.
Posted by: Ianus Keller | July 13, 2007 at 05:51 PM
I have always enjoyed your site and being a publick speaking coach I found it very useful. It was interesting that I heard from your blog about the italian (Montemagno) presentation on blog at SMAU ... and I am italian!
My favourite book, that I quite often refer in my training, is You are the message by R. Aisles .... well maybe in a short time is going to be PZ? :)
Posted by: Paolo Pelloni | July 13, 2007 at 06:06 PM
Wonderful news! Congratulation and I cannot wait for what I am sure will be an incredible book. Thank you for you generosity and time with this blog.
Posted by: Jason Kitcat | July 13, 2007 at 06:15 PM
Posted by: L. | July 13, 2007 at 09:36 PM
Hey, good news about the book, I'll be ordering it once it's released, all the best.
Posted by: MrNice | July 13, 2007 at 10:44 PM
I'm going to monitor Amazon about this news!
Rio Grande do Sul State
Posted by: Roberto Cohen | July 14, 2007 at 05:11 AM
1. Welcome back to Oregon, for a brief time. It's a great place to return to from roaming - all the green and fresh air.
2. Very excited about the book. I'll consider and look through some notes and see if there's anything I have worth contributing. Your work has made a tremendous impact on mine, and I'm very grateful.
3. No blogging until September: not even... casual blogging? Like, hey, I went surfing today and it made me feel kinda zen? Come on, man, that's a long time in internet years! =) It'd be nice to get occasional updates, even if it's just, "yeah, still writing the book, it's going to be awesome, keep up the zen-like patience, ok?".
Posted by: Allan W. | July 14, 2007 at 06:27 AM
Congratulations! You'll love writing the book - once it is done :)
Posted by: Jamin | July 14, 2007 at 11:33 AM
wishing you all the best
i saw this innovative - table, which a practical managers can use - pls check the link - you can also have a easy use table - which a person can pin-it-up on his work wall
Posted by: raj | July 14, 2007 at 02:18 PM
Good luck with the book Garr!
Most of the posts on the basics were enlightning to me and the Popular Posts bar on your blog has most of them.
Posted by: dharana | July 14, 2007 at 10:54 PM
As a biologist, I can identify with the thoughts by "Ted the MD" you posted a while back, and keep hoping you'll do more posts about scientific presentations. It'd be wonderful if your book had some examples of technical presentations, in addition to the more business-style slides you tend towards. Your advice is very relevant to my peers, and I very often find myself in lab meeting or a conference wishing they'd take advantage of it!
Best of luck with the book -- I enjoy reading your blog!
Posted by: Noah | July 14, 2007 at 11:01 PM
Congratulations! I have been a longtime reader though have never commented. I really love your blog and look forward to the book. Enjoi your time in Hawaii - and hope you take some more amazing pics and share! :)
Posted by: Preeti | July 15, 2007 at 02:05 AM
Cool! Can't wait to read it.
Posted by: Diego Rodriguez | July 16, 2007 at 09:25 AM
Congratulations on the book.
I know exactly how excited you feel right now and how depressed you may be after a few hours in front of a white sheet of paper (at least, that's what it was like for me...).
Anyway as an author I would advise to just write and ignore the small voice in your head that says: "no that's not the right idea / timing / flow of thoughts / ...". You are not going to like your first version, but you're gonna need it to make a second, and a third,... until you like it.
Keep a small notebook and a pen with you day-and-night because the best ideas will strike you when you least expect them... and don't fool yourself that you will remember them.
I learn from your post that your deadlines are tight, and the only thing I can say is that it is the best for your creation (but not for your family life).
Finally, a suggestion: you could continue using your blog in order to 'test' some ideas or metaphors that you intend to use.
All the best and count on my support when your world falls apart (aka writer's block).
Posted by: Luc Galoppin | July 17, 2007 at 06:44 AM
Congragulations! I look forward to your book...
and thanks for sharing all the wonderful stuff on PZ.
Posted by: Parag Shah | July 17, 2007 at 03:47 PM
So, when can we preorder it? =)
Posted by: Sacha Chua | July 22, 2007 at 02:58 AM
Congrats! Am very much looking forward to it!
Posted by: Brock Tice | July 23, 2007 at 07:57 AM
Good luck...looking forward to the book...I would love to be the first one to read the book and review it...will that entitle me to a free book....
Posted by: andhapp | July 23, 2007 at 10:20 AM
couldn't get my e-mails to go through for some reason, so I'm leaving this as a comment:
Congratulations on the book. I'm familiar with your work primarily from Presentation Zen.
I would be happy to provide some slides. Actually, why don't we do this: take an inventory of the what slides you may want to use, and I will send you high quality screengrabs of what you request.
All my presentations can be found here:
Also, would it be possible to include a link to my blog as part of the credit?
Logic + Emotion
Let me know what slides you need and I'll get on it. I'll also be happy to help promote the book on my blog, so if you ever want to do a QA let me know.
Posted by: David Armano | August 23, 2007 at 01:35 AM
Dear Garr, I have finally received your book now here in Germany. Thanks a lot for your contribution to the world of business and presentations. You did a great job and I am recommending this book to many people dealing with your topic. Thank you!
Posted by: Joachim Simon | March 03, 2008 at 06:27 AM