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December 2013

Presentation Zen Design (2nd Edition) now available

Presentation_zen_designThe 2nd Edition of Presentation Zen Design is now on sale on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and directly from Peachpit Publishing (which offers a hardcopy/ full digital bundle) The 1st edition of Presentation Zen Design debuted exactly four years ago as a follow-up to Presentation Zen which was published in 2008 (now in 17 different languages and in its 2nd edition as well). Presentation Zen Design (2nd Edition) focuses on teaching basic design principles and techniques to non-designers. The context is presentation visuals but the principles can be applied more widely to other forms of visual communication. Although I did not write it or design it to be a textbook, the 1st edition has nonetheless been used as a textbook, or supplementary book, in communication-related classes at colleges and universities worldwide. The meaning of the term "2nd edition" actually varies wildly. As was the case with the 2nd edition of Presentation Zen, this 2nd edition is not greatly different than the first and will be of most value to those people who never got the 1st edition. While the book is much the same, I spent virtually everyday for months in the Fall refreshing some of the content — cutting some bits and expanding others — and designing what I think is a better book, and a better looking book as well. It's hard to get the look and feel of a hardcopy so I made this 24-second video of the book using Honda's Roadmovies app, a very popular and free visual tool in Japan.

Presentation Zen Design (2nd Edition) from garr reynolds on Vimeo.

Three professional speakers and two presentation professionals have offered their endorsements on the back (or front) of the book. Here's one:

"In this increasingly competitive global economy, you're only as successful as your ability to persuasively sell your ideas. Garr's presentation design techniques have helped me elevate my own presentation slides and I know they'll help you, too. Garr's book is essential for anyone, in any field, who wants to be more, make more, and have more impact."

— Carmine Gallo, Author, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and Talk Like TED

What's new? Should I get the 2nd Edition?
The chapters are the same in this 2nd edition except one new chapter — "Making an Impact With Video" — was added to the elements section. There are some new samples throughout and a general design refresh. The "samples" chapter was cut down a bit and a few new slide decks added. There is a very cool five-page callout section by Nancy Duarte on something new called "slidedocs" which is very interesting. The contributions by leading visual thinkers remain as they were in the 1st edition. The total number of pages is 288, twenty-four more pages than the 1st edition. The 2nd edition is about 80% the same as the 1st edition. If you already have the 1st edition of Presentation Zen Design, then I do not think you really need this 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is a better, cooler book (with a nicer cover), but please do not get this book thinking it's going to be an overhaul of the 1st edition. If you never did get the 1st edition of Presentation Zen Design, however, then I think you will find value in the book.

This is an iPhone snap of page 242-243. I designed the book in Adobe's latest version of InDesign on a MacBook Air connected to a 27-inch Apple display. This spread shows samples slides and some context from a cool little success story from a local Japanese entrepreneur, Akino Ogata. Her slides were created by designer Keiko Nada.

Thank you!
If you have purchased any of my books over the years, I thank you very much indeed. The support from the book and website readers over the years is most humbling. If you have any questions about this book please let me know. Happy New Year!

Order on Amazon
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Order from Peachpit Press


The story of the Charlie Brown Christmas

CharliebrownxmasA Charlie Brown Christmas is the first animated TV special based on the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles Schulz. Most people reading this have surely heard of the animated short, and many others, like myself, have seen it every year since 1965. The animated story has won many awards including an Emmy and a Peabody. I watch it now with my small children here in Japan, but every time I view it I'm taken back to a time when I watched it perched on my mother's knee or plopped down on the living room floor in front of our RCA Color TV with a remote control the size of an aircraft carrier (at least we never lost it). The show is a classic, but you may not know of its humble and rather improbable beginnings. When you have a chance, take some time to watch this short documentary on the making of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The history surrounding its creation is quite a journey and a great story in itself and there are lessons in there about resilience, perseverance, risk taking, authenticity, storytelling, and of course, creativity. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Trivia bonus
At the two-minute mark of the first scene Snoopy spins Linus and Charlie on the ice sending them both sailing, but we only see Charlie Brown landing and hitting a tree as the title fades in. What happened to Linus? Well, the first season it aired in December of 1965 Coca-Cola was the sponsor so Linus actually bumps into a snow-covered sign that says "brought to you by the people in your town who bottle Coca-Cola" before fading to commercial. After 1965 those few moments were cut since Coke was no longer the sponsor. Thankfully those moments live on in YouTube.

Sir Ken Robinson gives best talk yet at TED Talks Education

Sir_ken_frontCreativity and education expert Sir Ken Robinson delivered two amazingly popular TED Talks prior to 2013. His first talk—presented sans multimedia in the true Sir Ken Robinson style — was made in 2006 and is the most viewed TED talk of all time. His follow-up talk given in 2010 also has been downloaded millions of times. I have seen Sir Ken speak many times and he is always inspiring and engaging, but his latest TED talk, presented at TED Talks Education in April of this year, is my favorite yet. Good presentation is a balance of information, persuasion, and inspiration. Presentations related to leadership must necessarily light a spark and point the way. Sir Ken does not scream or jump up and down but he nonetheless ignites, provokes, and inspires his live audience, and anyone else who cares to listen to his presentation on line, in a meaningful and memorable way. Millions of people have seen his latest talk, but just in case you have not, please set aside about 20 minutes to watch this outstanding, albeit short, talk below.

One of my new favorite TED Talks: Sir Ken Robinson in 2013

Quotables from this great talk
I increasingly speak on the topic of 21st-century education in Japan and abroad so I have a keen interest in Robinson's ideas, and I know you do as well. To help me remember some of Sir Ken's key statements in this talk, I chose several of his statements and put them in slide form below (on I have shared videos related to Finland's great success in education before. Therefore, the passages I chose for inclusion below do not touch on his statements concerning the lessons learned from the Finnish system (you'll have to watch his talk or read the transcripts for those points). The slides are in PDF form and may be downloaded. On slideshare you can easily cut and paste any of the passages (scroll down the page on slideshare.) I hope these simple quotes help you share Sir Ken Robinson's message and get the conversation rolling.