Book Review – Slide:ology


This is one of the books that started it all! Well, at least for me…

When I first became interested in presentation design, this was one of the first books that my mentors had me read. This is a must read for anyone interested in presentation design (and that should be all of us).

This book, written by Nancy Duarte, was my first introduction into the process of thinking visually, and also “how” to create slides that fit design principles. In it, she gives a brief history of visual aids, and makes a compelling argument for presenters to raise the “stakes” on their presentations. The majority of the book outlines the process of creating presentations and actually gets into the key ideas of creating slides with sections like “creating diagrams,” “displaying data,” and “using visual elements.” The book also uses case studies of various people, projects, and presentations to highlight the key ideas.

One of the few weaknesses of this book is that it doesn’t cover design for medical education. This book is more geared towards marketing and selling ideas. In it’s defense, there are very few that are geared towards design for medical education. Our needs in medical education are obviously different. Selling and idea versus promoting learning are much different goals. The same principles apply, but must be tailored to the audience and goals. 

With that said, this is still a must read for anyone serious about presentation design in any field. I find myself referring to it often. Below are some excerpts from the book. Enjoy!

Manifesto: The Five Theses of the Power of a Presentation

  1. Treat Your Audience as King
  2. Spread Ideas and Move People
  3. Help Them See What You Are Saying
  4. Practice Design, Not Decoration
  5. Cultivate Healthy Relationships

Quotes from the book:

“Presentation software is the first application broadly adopted by professionals that requires people to think visually. Unfortunately, most people never make the jump from verbal expression…”

“Simplicity is the essence of clear communication.”

“To communicate your data effectively, you first must articulate the conclusions you want your audience to adopt.”

“Effective slide design hinges on mastery of 3 things: Arrangement, Visual Elements, and Movement.”


Duarte, N. 2008. Slideology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations. O’Reilly Media.

3 thoughts on “Book Review – Slide:ology

  1. Thanks so much for the review, Tyson! Glad you find it useful even if it’s not exactly tailored to your industry. Sounds like you’re doing a great job of mapping the principles to your needs. Thanks for your support!

    • THE Nancy Duarte?!? I am honored that you would visit my blog. I am actually planning to take one of your classes in September. Hopefully, I will get to meet you in person. Right now, I have to be satisfied with telling all of my other dorky educator friends that Nancy Duarte wrote a reply on my blog!

  2. Pingback: Book Review – Presentation Zen | Presentation Design for Medical Educators

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