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Presentations

Most of my friends and customers don't know that I have an MBA from the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. I spent three very intense years studying entrepreneurship and service operations from some amazing minds UCI lured away from some pretty heavy-hitting business schools. One of my favorite activities in business school was presenting.  I had never used PowerPoint prior to b-school, but I immediately found that creating a story with visuals and cues to help an audience think differently, or achieve an "aha" moment, was something I was crazy passionate about.

So when Apple first came out with Keynote 1.0 in 2003, the year I graduated, I went completely nuts. It was awesome. In fact, if you do a search on my computer for presentations, you'll see everything prior to 2003 in PowerPoint, and everything moving forward over the next 11 years is in Keynote.  It's like a asteroid crashed into my Mac and all the PowerPoints ended up extinct, found only in the file-fossil record.

I also remember how absolutely awful all of the business school workshops on presenting were. MBA students almost seemed to compete for who could get the most words and bullet points on a presentation slide. Not much has changed in eleven years. Presentations in business and in business school are still generally awful. I believe employees and customer prospects alike are constantly tortured by their managers and salespeople as a result. This really needs to change.

Which brings me to David Sparks. David's a good friend and I'm a fan of his blog and his books.   And now he's written Presentations, a book that not only deserves the great reviews it's receiving in the iBooks store, but I believe it should be required reading for every new MBA candidate entering business school, not to mention every JD candidate heading into law school.  

David's done an amazing job covering the technologies and tools for presenting, from Keynote to PowerPoint, but he's also provided expert advice on how to pull a really effective presentation together, and how to pull yourself together the day of the presentation.  I've always found it rather sad to see anyone about to give a presentation looking hopeless when the equipment doesn't work, looking desperate for an IT guy.  I would recommend David's book to anyone who wants to become self-sufficient when it comes to setting up, and even a bit of a MacGyver when necessary.

You can read David's blog over at MacSparky and find more of this books there an on the iBooks store.  You can also buy the PDF version on his web site directly, which doesn't have a lot of the whizz-bang rich media, but is a great alternative if you're not an Apple iBooks user.

Thanks for such an awesome book David!