The Book is Finished!

The book is officially done. I finished editing it last week  when I was on “vacation” and it’s at the printers as of 3pm yesterday. I can’t tweak it or refine it anymore. It will be printed with all remaining flaws still on its pages. Today I’m relieved only until Monday when I dig into building the seminar curriculum. The book writing process was more demanding than I ever imagined. I’d built a company timeline 6 years ago and had dreamed of having a book written by end of 2007. It’s easy to have a dream but then abandon it if no one else seems interested or values it with you. So when Michael Moon joined my firm two years ago, he gave me the encouragement and the wind in my wings to begin to plan and write.

The best part about the process is that it forced me to become a better planner and writer–I found my voice (I think). I didn’t do a good job capturing pictures of my creative process but trust me, it was a chaotic and visual process. There are a few moments that stand out. One was my trip to Vegas where I locked myself in a room for five straight days and only left once for one massage. The room was a mess. There were pages taped on the wall, sticky notes, paper cut-outs and most of the room was rearranged by the time I left. I mind-mapped the entire book structure.

When back at the office, I pasted it up on the wall to collaborate with others around the structure, pull samples and sketch ideas that support the message.

The book was actually first built (sloppily) in PowerPoint and was always pasted up on a wall somewhere; either at my house or the office. I don’t know InDesign or page layout programs so I used PowerPoint as a place to collect my words and pictures.

I’m not showing it to you full size because it’s fugly. PowerPoint was used for collecting the ideas, words and pictures only, not for arranging or designing them. Our critiques of the design also happened in printed form. My Creative Director who art directed the piece (Diandra Macias) and Designer (Michaela Kastlova) printed each major round of design  and we pasted them up and pored over them. Even the cover design became better and better with each round of input.

This project wasn’t written in a vacuum. It wouldn’t be what it was without the encouragement and insights of the Duarte team.

Really great design takes a commitment to a vision, collaboration with others who love the vision, enormous tenacity and a firm commitment to doing the best job possible no matter what. Don’t compromise.

Nancy Duarte


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  • Whui Mei

    Congratulations for ‘finishing’ the book! It’ll never be perfect enough for you but it’s a learning process and you’ll get better at your next book if you choose to write another. I’m really looking forward to getting it ever since I read about it on but that has to wait until the end of August when I go to the US for holidays; hopefully it’s not sold out by then!

  • Lertad

    Nancy, I hope you know how inspiring your work is. I’ve come to realize how passionate I am about the art and science of communication, and this book looks like it will certainly help hit the nail on the head.

    Entertaining work that exercises both left brain and right brain thinking and helps spread world-changing ideas? Count me in!

  • any idea when Amazon will start to ship the pre-orders?

    I can’t wait to get the book!

  • Robert Craig

    Nancy…can’t wait for this book! Sorry to hear about the Amazon pre-order snafu, but we’ll all still manage to still get our copies (we pre-order types tend to be raving fans!)

    Any idea when we might see the book hitting the streets?

  • Art Johnson

    Seems I had a similar message from Amazon when I pre-ordered PRESENTATION ZEN. You should be happy to know that we ALL want the book NOW.

  • Art Johnson

    Ha! No sooner did I send the previous message than I received an email from advising me of an estimated arrival date of 8/19. Don’t know whether that means they get it on 8/19 or I do.

  • Amazon has shipped my copy! Let’s hope the Italian mail system does not lose it!

  • Pierre M

    Got it! Reading it. Looks good. Smells of new book. Mmmm. Got here because some “supporting content” should be here but I haven’t found it… I’ll try later.

    Q: With the exception of the movie “Inconvenient Truth”, what’s the best way to find Al Gore’s/Duate Design’s presentation?

  • Mats

    ordered it today! I cant wait!!

  • MB

    I ordered the book some days ago from ( France) who just sent me a message saying slide:ology is difficult to get . I guess the book is selling well !
    I’ll probably have to wait a couple of weeks .Patience is a virtue. In the meantime I’ll re-read “presentation zen” and “the back of the napkin”

  • I received the book today.
    It looks fantastic, it will be a pleasure. And it smells like new.

  • Best book on slide design, ever!!!

  • Just received a copy across the Atlantic last week. Congratulations a wonderful book.

  • MB

    I just got the ( gorgeous) book from I just skimmed through the book at the moment, and I’d just point out this :
    page 10, presentation is smartly described as a “three legged stool” :
    * message
    * visual story
    * delivery

    However the book structure does not reflect this :
    Chapter 2 ( “creating ideas, not slides”) is about the first leg (message), chapters 3 through 12 deal mostly with “visual story”, but there is no chapter devoted clearly to the “deliver leg”.

    Well, just my two cents. Going back to read this brilliant book ( it smells good too by the way)

  • You’re right MB, the book loosely follows the 3-legged stool structure but this book really focuses solely on Visual Story. Book 2 and 3 from Duarte will focus on the other 2.

  • Alex

    I am struuuuuugling to get a copy in France!!

    If it is the only way, I volunteer to translate it in French for a free copy 😉

    I have finished PresentationZen (before being edited in French) and can’t wait for this one, that sounds like “chapter two: advanced practice”

  • juan manuel

    i got it!. it’s a great book. it’s a good cause.
    spred the love. free the world of BAD presentations!!

  • Matthew Tanis

    Love the book – it’s helped me out a lot. An inspiration for any who has a chance to read or even glance through it. Are you publishing any other materials any time soon? Love to get my hands on them.

  • Awesome stuff. Thanks a lot for posting this. Can’t believe I didn’t visit this blog earlier. You guys have some amazing stuff going on here! Keep up the good work.