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Book Review: "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs"

Sang Tang
Sang Tang|October 21, 2009 4:00 PM

In "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs," Carmine Gallo provides a framework for you to deliver a keynote like Steve does. The book provides both an Al Michaels and John Madden perspective of Jobs's keynotes: a play-by-play account of events married with analytical insight.

While rich in detailing the stylistics of Jobs's presentations and the empirical evidence supporting it -- for example, limiting bullet points on slides, using simple language, and using the rule of threes to enhance a narrative -- the most captivating portion of the book is how it details Steve Jobs's preparation for his keynotes. Yes, even Steve Jobs, like the rest of us, must prepare for his preparations presentations.

And prepare he does, which is evident in the stories of Paul Vais. An executive at Jobs's former company NeXT (that Apple later acquired, which brought Jobs back into the Apple fold), Vais recalled that "every slide was written like a piece of poetry...[and that] Steve would labor over the presentation. We'd try to orchestrate and choreograph everything and make it more alive than it really is." However, Gallo says that "making your presentation 'more alive' takes practice. Once you accept this simple principle, your presentations will stand out in a sea of mediocrity."

Gallo's book follows many of the "Jobsian" presentation mantras he preaches. Like a Steve Jobs keynote, the book is simple to read and provides an easy-to-follow roadmap for a reference-minded reader. The one thing that most readers will walk away with is that Steve Jobs's on-stage presence evinces a style similar to that of Apple's products when they're on the stage of the showroom floor or marketed on Apple's website. As a result, as much as it serves as a Steve Jobs presentation guidebook, "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs" in many ways is a Steve Jobs biography.

"The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs" is available at many booksellers, including Borders, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.