Book reviews

My Favorite Books About Presentations and Speaking

My Favorite Books on Presentations and Speaking

I’m often asked to recommend books on various topics, and as a result I’ve compiled an extensive list, which I will share in stages in upcoming posts. It’s tough to winnow down the list to a half-dozen for each topic, and I expect each list will change over time as new books are written or I get suggestions for others I haven’t read.

Advanced Presentations by Design, Andrew Abela

I put this at the top of my list of presentation books because it’s practical and it’s the best-supported by research. I especially like his method for differentiating between “boardroom” slides and “ballroom” slides.

Perfect Pitch, Jon Steele

This is an excellent book about making compelling sales presentations. Steele comes from the advertising world and has extensive real-world experience. The chapter on how London won the 2012 Olympics is worth the price of the book.

Thank You for Arguing, Jay Heinrichs

Heinrichs does a great job of making classical rhetoric relevant to our world today. You don’t have to memorize the technical names of the rhetorical devices to appreciate their effectiveness. This book is erudite, funny, and practical.

Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln, James Humes

Humes gives 21 excellent suggestions for improving your speeches, drawing from some of the great communicators in history. An excellent book if you want to be a speaker and not just a presenter.

Jacked Up, Bill Lane

You have to put up with a bit of hero worship to get through this book, but it’s worthwhile. It gives great insight into what impresses top executives when you present to them, and should convince you to put the long hours into preparation.

Made to Stick, Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Why do urban legends persist even when they’re shown to be false? This book dissects what makes messages memorable. I will read anything the Heath brothers write, because of their very entertaining style. Plus, for a knowledge-hound like me, the Notes pages are a gold mine of additional reading suggestions.

I welcome any suggestions for titles to add to this list.

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