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Jason L. Mcdonald
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I bought this rather expensive book because of the fantastic reviews from others, and because of Nancy Duarte's reputation. I am so incredibly disappointed in this book... Incredibly disappointed. I teach SEO, Social Media, and AdWords both online and in San Francisco (just Google 'Jason McDonald' to find me), and so presentations are critical to my work. I teach what are pretty boring subjects to pretty busy people and work really hard to make those presentations shine - a sense of humor, a good story, lots of workable analogies, and concrete to-do's for my students.
LEARNING FROM THE BEST?
I am always eager to learn, and improve. What better way than some of the best of the best, Nancy Duarte, for example?
I opened the book, and loved the acknowledgements page - pictures of Nancy and the gang with their heads on little dolls... good explanations of who did what, a positive vibe. I thought - WOW, this will be a great book, as it already mixes visuals and words to be interesting!
Then begins the disappointment. Page upon page of teeny tiny type. With platitudes like 'You can have piles of facts and still fail to resonate. It's not the information itself that's important but the emotional impact of the information.' (pg. 14). You're kidding? You need to have more than facts? Wow! I never in a thousand years would have thought that, Nancy.
Or 'incorporate story.' 'It's become the cultural norm to write presentations as reports instead of stories. but the presentations are reports.' Really? You should tell stories? How about a story of a struggling teacher who read a lot of great reviews on Amazon from your pals, bought your expensive book, and just nearly wept because it was such a waste of money. That's a story. My story of reading this book.
SAYING BUT NOT DOING
The sad, sad, sad fact about Resonate is that Nancy did not take her own advice. There's no story here. No emotion. No narrative, few pictures that mean anything (there are glossy pictures between chapters), but no real effective use of pictures that build upon the text, or text that builds upon the pictures.
Even worse we learn amazing things like Martin Luther King, Jr., was a great speaker and so was Ronald Reagan. I just had no idea until I read Resonate, that the 'I have a dream speech' was really good. And how that relates to the kinds of business PowerPoints and business presentations that we all must make... Nancy disappoints.
THE BRUTAL FACT ABOUT THIS SORT OF BOOK
Now let's be brutally honest. Books like these are often churned out as ways to 'prove' that the author is smart and important, and the author gets his/her best friends in the business to churn out laudatory praise for the book, plus we drop a few names that we've worked for Adobe, Cisco, the Food Network...
So you and I (the mere mortals, the mere common folk who live in the real world of non-Adobe, non-Cisco businesses - the struggling medium to small businesses that don't have that brand affinity)... we buy these books hoping to learn.
What we learn is that connections are everything in this business, and Nancy seems to have them. You (and I) probably don't. But connections and what the Russians call 'blat' do not make a good book. They make for great reviews on Amazon, and probably good book sales, and they substantiate the author as an expert. But that doesn't make the book itself good for you, or me, or any of the common people who seek to learn.
SUGGESTIONS FOR BETTER BOOKS
If you've read this far... You are either a) a friend of Nancy's who is about to flame me on Amazon, or b) a person who really wants to learn how to make better presentations. Let me help you out.
There are two books that are much much better than this, truly sincere books in which the author really does teach us something about presentations and style. First and foremost, Envisioning Information by Tufte. A classic on the presentation of information - the synergy between pictures and words that are the heart of great presentations. Read this book, and go back to Resonate. Tufte's book towers above Nancy's book like the Parthenon towers about dirty, modern, ugly Athens. (That's called an image in one's mind... something entirely lacking from Resonate)...
Number two - The New Rules of Viral Marketing by David Meerman Scott. Just Google it - it's free. It's an amazing e-book that is not only well written, but well presented. And it's full of tips and tricks that can help you (or me) to really succeed at presentations, not just books but PowerPoint.
In fact, I highly recommend all of David Meerman Scott's books, especially Newsjacking. Now there is man who understands writing and persuasion - a person I look to to emulate, and learn from.
THE FLAME WAR BEGINS
I am sure that other reviewers will now gang up on me. Tell me I'm terrible and mean for criticizing Nancy. How dare I critique her book? Let the ad hominem attacks begin. In my defense, I can only say that I went to Harvard (A.B., 1985) and I went to Berkeley (Ph.D., 1992). At Harvard I learned that learning, knowledge and power are the privilege of the chosen few. At Berkeley I learned that education and learning goes to those who make it their own. They can be the poor, the weak, the humble... the people from Oklahoma and not from New York City... the people who live in the East Bay and not the Peninsula.
I am sure that Nancy is a fine person. I am even sure that she is good at actual presentations. But that does not change the fact that this is a terrible book. The person and the argument are not, after all, one and the same.
I love Amazon and I love Amazon reviews - because they are the UC Berkeley of book marketing. The loud, crazy, mess of Sproul Plaza to the organized, pompous solitude of Harvard Yard. So it doesn't bother me in the least when people criticize me, my books, my reviews... Because I have faith that the people who read... read between the lines.
This is not a good book. It is expensive, and worse than that, it doesn't teach you anything about presentations in any real sense. Sorry, to be so blunt, but that's my opinion.