Five Must Read Books for Presenters

Five Must-Read Presentation Skills Books

When you search for presentation skills books, you will get almost 18,000 results. It is difficult to choose which one to read.

Many of these presentations skills books are very good and will undoubtedly help you improve you presentations. A few of them, however, are absolute gems that should be in every presenter’s bookshelf.

In this post, I review five of my most treasured presentation skills books. Each one has a slightly different focus, ranging from how to add a stories to your presentation to tips for better slide designs.

“Resonate” by Nancy Duarte

This is Nancy Duarte’s first book, although it has been published two years after her “slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations“, which taught presenters how to give more visually appealing presentations.

NancyDuarte - Resonate

In “Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences,” Duarte shows just how important stories are for compelling presentations. She has studied great presenters and their presentations and suddenly it clicked: Those presentations all followed some form of pattern. A pattern that is not just found in great presentations, but also literary work and blockbuster movies. Drawing from this research, Duarte outlines these patterns and gives useful tips on how to add that special something to your presentations.

One of the most profound tips in the book is what Nancy calls the intentional placement of a S.T.A.R. Moment: Something They’ll Always Remember. This moment should be so profound or so dramatic that it becomes what the audience chats about at the water cooler or appears as the headline of a news article. Planting a S.T.A.R. moment in a presentation keeps the conversation going even after it’s over and helps the message go viral.

“Presentation Zen” by Garr Reynolds

Presentation designer and internationally acclaimed communications expert Garr Reynolds, creator of the most popular Web site on presentation design and delivery on the net — — shares his experience in a provocative mix of illumination, inspiration, education, and guidance that will change the way you think about making presentations with PowerPoint or Keynote.

GarrReynolds - PresentationZen

Presentation Zen challenges the conventional wisdom of making “slide presentations” in today’s world and encourages you to think differently and more creatively about the preparation, design, and delivery of your presentations. Garr shares lessons and perspectives that draw upon practical advice from the fields of communication and business. Combining solid principles of design with the tenets of Zen simplicity, this book will help you along the path to simpler, more effective presentations.

“The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” by Carmine Gallo

Apple CEO Steve Jobs’s wildly popular presentations have set a new global gold standard. This step-by-step guide shows you exactly how to use his crowd-pleasing techniques in your own presentations.

Carmine Gallo - Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs is as close as you’ll ever get to having the master presenter himself speak directly in your ear. Communications expert Carmine Gallo has studied and analyzed the very best of Jobs’s performances, offering point-by-point examples, tried-and-true techniques, and proven presentation secrets that work every time. With this revolutionary approach, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to sell your ideas, share your enthusiasm, and wow your audience the Steve Jobs way.

The author, Carmine Gallo, writes a bi-weekly column for and has been a featured contributor to several other major websites including MSNBC,, Always On, AOL and Yahoo Finance. Gallo personally coaches leading executives for keynote speeches, media interviews, product launches, and book tours.

To read my detailed book review, click here.

“Presentation Skills 201” by William R Steele

Presentation Skills 201 is for the good presenter who is determined to get even better. Containing over 70 pieces of detailed advice for higher performance, Presentation Skills 201 can be read from cover-to-cover or used as a reference guide. It includes valuable, easy-to-implement tips for every facet of the presentation process from planning to delivery. It’s all here at an advanced level for high-performing professionals who desire that extra edge by increasing confidence and engaging audiences.

William Steele - Presentation Skills 201

Readers will learn how to increase both the impact and memorability of their presentations. Included with the tips are scores of real-life examples and stories from the author’s over 16 years of helping highly-accomplished presenters find that one more thing that they can do to take it up notch and build their careers by making strong, positive impressions on their presentation audiences.

Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun

Scott Berkun is a former Microsoft executive who turned writer and professional speaker. Confessions is Berkun’s first-hand account of many years of public speaking, teaching, and television appearances.

Berkun - Confessions of a Public Speaker

In the book, he shares his successes, failures, and some frustrating experiences, to help readers with their delivery of their own presentations. Confessions contains practical advice in every chapter of the book. It teaches what to do when things go wrong: whether it is a tough crowd you are facing or technical difficulties you encounter.

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