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February 2010

Jamie Oliver calls for all-out assault on our ignorance of food

Jamie_oliver_ted This brand new talk by Jamie Oliver ("The Naked Chef") at TED 2010 is one I highly recommend you watch. This topic is very dear to my own heart as chronic poor eating habits were a strong contributing factor in my father's premature death when I was a child. You may have noticed that a few slides I have used in my books and seminars feature OECD data on obesity rates across the globe. In developed countries, the increasing rates in obesity has been dramatic. Japan has a relatively low obesity rate compared to the USA, but it is unfortunately growing as younger generations have developed a taste for fast foods and refined, packaged meals. I agree with Oliver: we need an all-out assault on our ignorance of food. Watch the 20-minute talk below or on the TED site.

I liked this talk because the message is vitally important. I tend to give people a break for little imperfections in delivery style so long as their points are clear and their passion evident and sincere. Ideally, I would liked to have seen more visual displays of data to back up a few of the claims he made, and it would have been better if he did not pace as much or turn his back on the audience as much to look at the visual behind him. These are things you and I need to be concerned with in our talks, but given his celebrity and the venue, I think his talk was overall quite effective. I was fired up and inspired after this talk, but with me he's speaking to the choir. Still, there's nothing wrong with preaching to the choir from time to time. You can't change the world by yourself; you need the choir to go out there and fight the battles too.

Oliver shows the amount of sugar one child will have just from school milk in five years of elementary school — a wheelbarrow full of sugar cubes.

Causesofdeath One thing I liked is that Oliver made a strong point with the aid of a simple bar chart at the beginning. We spend our lives being paranoid about things like murder, says, Oliver "'s on the front page of every paper, CNN — [yet] look at "homicide" — at the bottom, for God's sake!" This was a strong point that surely made some people pause. We worry about the well-being of our kids — Are the streets safe? Are there enough police on the streets? and so on — all the while our youth are munching on Turkey Twizzlers and downing cans of sugary beverages.

Some may say that Oliver's delivery was a bit over the top or a little disjointed, but I think this was a great, raw, naked presentation. He got people's attention, he stated the problem, and he offered some solutions all while engaging his audience.

The wish
“I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.” — Jamie Oliver

6-min TED talk by Dean Ornish on the world's killer diet
Presenting a case for healthy food (PZ post)

Presentation Zen Design (the book)

Wagasa07 The Presentation Zen Design book has been available from online retailers for about 5-6 weeks now, and the book is just now starting to show up on the shelves of book stores. A big note of gratitude and appreciation to those of you who purchased the book, especially those of you who took the time to write a review or write me a personal note. Thank you. It's been lovely to hear from so many people around the world. I realize money is tight these days, so the fact that you would spend cash on a book that I wrote and designed is quite humbling indeed. 本当にありがとうございます! The PZD book has a few more pages than the PZ book and focuses on basic graphic design principles and techniques that students and professionals can incorporate into their own work. The context is the design of slides, but the lessons can be applied to other forms of visual communication such as web design, etc. You can see the table of contents here on the Safari site, and a free chapter is available here on the publisher's website (under "sample content").

This is a pic of the covers as prepared in InDesign before going to print. Another endorsement from a remarkable cool cat will appear on the cover (above the title) in the 2nd printing of the book.

A lot of great people made wonderful contributions to the book including Stephen Few, Maureen Stone, John McWade, Scott Kelby, Nancy Duarte, and many others including the amazing pros at Peach Pit Press in Berkeley, California back in the USA. Below is a video message from my friend Nancy Duarte (who is busy at TED this week) singing the praises for the new PZD book (literally). This video appeared about a month ago on the Slideology blog.

PZD around the world

The Presentation Zen Design book has already been picked up for translation in eight languages other than English. The work on German, Korean, and Japanese versions is well underway. I'll let you know about other versions as details emerge.

You may ask why write books, especially traditional paper books? It's a good question. But this note I received from
on Facebook from Julia Myslina in Russia speaks to why paper books still matter:
Dear Garr,
I've recently read Presentation Zen and would like to thank you for such a beautiful, inspiring and deep book. I used to read presentation zen blog from time to time, but the books in paper format always bring totally different experience, much more powerful. I'm very happy to know more and more like-minded people who bring beauty and meaning to this world. People like you. With big respect from snowy Russia.
- Julia

The Naked Presenter
Ofuro_balcony I've just begun work on another book for Peach Pit Press which focuses on delivery called The Naked Presenter. The key concept in delivery is naturalness and transparency. One of the key questions I will wrestle with is how we can best present with visuals and various forms of multimedia and yet do so in a visceral, human, and natural way that engages people both emotionally and intellectually. (Here's a post on the naked idea from five years ago.)

Right, that's enough talking about my books. Now I can get back to doing what I love to do most, which is researching and sharing information with you for free on My life is going to change drastically in 3-4 weeks from now (in a good way I hope), but I vow to once again share as much information as I can on a regular basis. Thanks again for all of your help and support and doing your part to change the world in your own way.
Your work is greatly appreciated.

Note: I am not attending TED in Long Beach this week so that I can be closer to home here in Japan, for reasons I think Nancy alludes to in her post on the book. Looking forward to an incredible TEDxTokyo in May, however.