Hundreds of presentation books are published each year.
Some are bad. Some are good. And some are outstanding!
We want to help you find the outstanding books — books which truly help you build your presentation skills. That’s why we publish book reviews on Six Minutes.
So, when Gonzalo Álvarez invited me to join in a survey of experts to rate a collection of the best presentation books, I was happy to participate.
This article reports the results of this survey: the top 35 books on presentations.
Analysis and Participants
From the analysis summary:
“What do the top presentation experts in the world read?”
They told us. We asked 7 of the top presentation experts in the world to tell us what books most inspired them to be better presenters. Seven judges, including four published authors, provided feedback to a list of books. We present, for your consideration, their ranked list of the top 35 presentation books.
- Survey analysis was performed by Gonzalo Álvarez and Bruce Gabrielle. Their methodology and full results can be found in the embedded document later in this article. Thanks to both of them for leading this effort!
- Judges were:
Summary of the Results
- A word of caution about the full ratings:
- It’s very difficult to quantitatively compare speaking books, particularly when those books excel in very different ways.
- Books were scored according to their presentation focus along several criteria (content, structure, visual design, delivery). The total of the individual scores was used to rank the books overall.
- These totals can be misleading as they reward books with a very broad focus (books that touch on many speaking skills), and penalize books with a narrow focus. As an example, books like Made to Stick or The Story Factor (which are both excellent books which focus almost entirely on storytelling) receive low overall scores.
- 21 books have a content/delivery focus; 14 focus on visuals.
- Each of these two groups are listed in the tables below.
- Most books (31 out of 35) are rated 4 out of 5 stars or higher by amazon.com readers.
- The “Amazon Rating” column in the tables below gives the “stars” ranking and the number of reader reviews.
- Most books (27 out of 35) are priced between $14 and $28. Four books are less than $14, and one book is over $28. Three books are no longer carried by amazon, so no price is given.
- 14 have been reviewed on Six Minutes — more to come.
- Links to these reviews are given in the tables below.
- Most of the remaining 21 books are on my personal wishlist, so it’s quite likely you’ll be seeing reviews for some of them in the future.
Books with a Content/Delivery Focus
|Author||Title||Amazon Rating||Amazon Price||Six|
|Jerry Weissman||Presenting to Win||4.5 (23)||$16.33|
|Henry Boettenger||Moving Mountains||5.0 (8)||n/a|
|Nick Morgan||Give your speech, change the world||4.8 (30)||$18.00|
|Carmine Gallo||The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs||4.4 (92)||$14.74|
|Christopher Witt||Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint||4.8 (18)||$14.98|
|Nancy Duarte||Resonate||4.6 (85)||$19.34||Review|
|Robert R. H. Anholt||Dazzle ‘Em With Style||4.3 (6)||$26.37|
|Michael Alley||The Craft of Scientific Presentations||4.3 (19)||$24.41|
|Garr Reynolds||The Naked Presenter||4.3 (77)||$16.49||Review|
|Andrew Abela||Advanced Presentations by Design||4.8 (12)||$40.63||Review|
|Kristin Arnold||Boring to Bravo||4.9 (14)||$16.46||Review|
|Bert Decker||You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard||4.6 (19)||n/a||Review|
|John Medina||Brain Rules||4.5 (276)||$10.20|
|John C. Maxwell||Everyone Communicates, Few Connect||4.2 (170)||$15.28|
|Chip & Dan Heath||Made to Stick||4.6 (455)||$17.16||Review|
|Dale Carnegie||The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking||4.3 (38)||$7.99||Review|
|Annette Simmons||The Story Factor||4.1 (89)||$11.32||Review|
|Scott Berkun||Confessions of a Public Speaker||4.8 (164)||$11.55||Review|
|Cliff Atkinson||The Backchannel||4.6 (11)||$26.59|
|Barbara Minto||The Pyramid Principle||4.5 (2)||n/a|
|Peter Guber||Tell to Win||4.1 (100)||$16.75|
Books with a Focus on Visuals
|Author||Title||Amazon Rating||Amazon Price||Six|
|Bruce Gabrielle||Speaking PowerPoint||4.9 (20)||$26.95|
|Garr Reynolds||Presentation Zen||4.5 (26)||$19.79||Review|
|Nancy Duarte||Slide:ology||4.4 (130)||$19.52||Review|
|Cliff Atkinson||Beyond Bullet Points||3.7 (11)||$16.74|
|Paul J. Kelly||7-Slide Solution||3.7 (12)||$14.50|
|Garr Reynolds||Presentation Zen Design||4.6 (34)||$20.50|
|Rick Altman||Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck||4.7 (6)||$15.69|
|Stephen M. Kosslyn||Clear and to the Point||3.8 (19)||$18.21||Review|
|Gene Zelazny||Say It With Charts||3.8 (20)||$25.84|
|Dave Paradi||Visual Slide Revolution||n/a||$22.76|
|Dan Roam||The Back of the Napkin||4.1 (33)||$19.77||Review|
|Lidwell, Holden, & Butler||Universal Principles of Design||4.7 (33)||$18.77||Review|
|Robin Williams||The Non-Designer’s Design Book||4.6 (82)||$15.39|
|Stephen Few||Show me the numbers||5.0 (1)||$27.62|
If you do not see the embedded document below, please visit the web version of this article.
How about you? Which are your favorites?
How many of these 35 have you read? Which ones do you like most? Why? Which book(s) would you add to the list?
Please share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.