Public Speaking, Powerpoint, and Presentation Book Reviews

More Gift Ideas for Speakers

There are thousands of public speaking books available.

Some are good. Some are great. Some are horrible.

Our goal is to provide a detailed synopsis to help you decide which books meet your needs to boost your speaking and presentation skills so that you can add them to your personal reading list.

Reviewed Books

Book reviews are a regular feature on Six Minutes. Subscribe to Six Minutes to receive future reviews.


 

Title
Universal Principles of Design
Author
William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler
What is it About
Elegantly written and thought-provoking. Packed with creative ideas for improving your presentations. A classic reference!
Who Should Read It
Speakers who want to learn from related disciplines of design, psychology, and usability, and anyone fascinated to understand the world around them.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences
Author
Nancy Duarte
What is it About
Deliciously beautiful writing and visuals. Superb treatment of audience analysis, message formation, and storytelling.
Who Should Read It
Every speaker should read this book... twice!
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
Author
Roy Peter Clark
What is it About
Best book I've ever read about writing. Applicable to all genres: speech writing, fiction, non-fiction.
Who Should Read It
Everyone who writes, whether speeches, novels, or articles.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations
Author
Nancy Duarte
What is it About
The book on effective visual presentations from the expert whose design firm created the graphics for Al Gore's Oscar-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth.
Who Should Read It
Everyone who wants a classic reference text for presentation design. You'll read this again and again.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History's Greatest Speakers
Author
James Humes
What is it About
21 chapters averaging about 10 pages each. Each chapter introduces one simple speaking technique. Historical and contemporary examples are used throughout.
Who Should Read It
Speakers looking to elevate their speechwriting and delivery from good to great.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Author
Chip Heath and Dan Heath
What is it About
Best-selling business book delivers on its promise to show how to communicate your ideas so that they will be remembered.
Who Should Read It
All speakers with a message that they want the audience to remember. In short, everyone.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Thank You For Arguing
Author
Jay Heinrichs
What is it About
Reveals a collection of time-tested tools which will make you a better speechwriter and a better speaker.
Who Should Read It
All speakers will benefit from understanding the simple, yet not-so-obvious techniques for persuasion and persuasive speechwriting.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
Author
Garr Reynolds
What is it About
Bestseller which teaches presentation design. Emphasizes designing around the message rather than designing around the slides. Includes numerous full-color examples of slides, both good and bad.
Who Should Read It
Every speaker, particularly those who want to break free from the "Death by Powerpoint" mold.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Telling Ain't Training
Author
Harold Stolovitch and Erica Keeps
What is it About
Fantastic resource for trainers with a wealth of theoretical and practical advice. Published by the American Society for Training and Development, this is a best-seller among training professionals.
Who Should Read It
Everyone who trains, educates, or instructs.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Clear and to The Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations
Author
Stephen Kosslyn
What is it About
Well-written book full of practical tips and techniques that can be applied immediately to design your slides more effectively.
Who Should Read It
All speakers who want their visuals to complement and reinforce their message.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides
Author
Garr Reynolds
What is it About
Packed with excellent advice, particularly on delivery skills and audience-centered presenting.
Who Should Read It
Everyone who wants to present more naturally and more effectively.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
The Wealthy Speaker: The Proven Formula for Building Your Successful Speaking Business
Author
Jane Atkinson
What is it About
An insider's view of professional speaking with loads of tips and insights for positioning yourself in the industry.
Who Should Read It
Established speakers ready to take the next step professionally and new speakers who are curious about the possibilities.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures
Author
Dan Roam
What is it About
Insightful and essential lessons for all communicators. Everyone can benefit by improving their visual thinking skills with the help of this book.
Who Should Read It
Smart people who want to improve their visual thinking skills.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Confessions of a Public Speaker
Author
Scott Berkun
What is it About
An irreverent insider's view of public speaking. You'll be both entertained and educated.
Who Should Read It
Any aspiring speaker who seeks honest insights about public speaking.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve, and Inspire Your Audience to Action
Author
Kristin Arnold
What is it About
Non-stop gems for engaging your audience and keeping your presentations alive.
Who Should Read It
Speakers, trainers, facilitators, coaches, and managers.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Better Beginnings: How to Capture Your Audience in 30 Seconds
Author
Carmen Taran
What is it About
One-of-a-kind! An engaging and thorough treatment for one of the most essential public speaking skills -- how to open your speech.
Who Should Read It
Every speaker will benefit from this book, whether you speak with visuals or off the cuff, to investors or children.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Multimedia Learning
Author
Richard E. Mayer
What is it About
An academic review of cognitive research which provides guidelines for the design of visual presentation aids.
Who Should Read It
Teachers, trainers, instructors, and speaking coaches who want to understand the cognitive theory behind modern slide design.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Advanced Presentations by Design: Creating Communication that Drives Action
Author
Andrew Abela
What is it About
A comprehensive approach to planning and designing presentations focused on selling ideas and persuading your audience.
Who Should Read It
All presenters, particularly those who present in a business or scientific context. You will love this book if you like an interactive, workshop-style format.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
You've Got to Be Believed to Be Heard
Author
Bert Decker
What is it About
A comprehensive, general-purpose, introductory public speaking guide.
Who Should Read It
Any novice or intermediate speaker will benefit greatly by reading this book.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion Through the Art of Storytelling
Author
Annette Simmons
What is it About
Makes a strong case of the power of storytelling to influence and inspire, in both public speaking and business communications.
Discusses the different types of stories that every speaker must be able to tell. Weaves numerous stories through the book.
Who Should Read It
(1) Anyone who is not yet convinced how powerful storytelling can be.
(2) Speakers looking to enhance their story repertoire.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking
Author
Dale Carnegie
What is it About
Practical and plain public speaking advice. Covers a wide breadth of topics. This book contains the foundation for the Dale Carnegie speaking courses which have been completed by millions of people.
Who Should Read It
Novice speakers or anyone whose fear of speaking leads them to believe that they cannot excel as a speaker.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Fire Them Up!
Author
Carmine Gallo
What is it About
Focuses not on short term steps (things to do), but on seven qualities of inspiring business communicators (things to embrace). Draws examples from many high-profile corporations, including Apple, Starbucks, Cranium, and many more.
Who Should Read It
Business leaders who want to inspire everyone around them to be successful.
Read our complete review of this book

 
Title
Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field
Author
Ford Harding
What is it About
Practical advice teaching you the things you need to do to build your network, add clients, and increase your revenue.
Who Should Read It
[1] You are (or want to be) a professional speaker seeking to make more money or [2] You are a professional who would like to leverage your speaking skills to grow your business?
Read our complete review of this book

 

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