I bought this book a few years ago, while I was preparing for a presentation but only had a chance to skim over quickly to look for some inspiration. At that time I also bought the book Super Apresentações (Super Presentations), in Portuguese, and decided to invest the reading time on it instead.
After that, I have the opportunity of watching one of Garr's outstanding presentations when I went to present at the Creativity World Forum 2011 in Hasselt, Belgium.
The inspiration from that presentation was long lasting, and last weekend I decided to invest the time to read Presentation Zen Design, and now that I'm done with it, I have to say that I just loved it and it really changed the way I perceive design. Not only presentation design, but any design. Garr makes an outstanding job in introducing all of the most important design aspects, ranging from color concepts to type and from focus to empty space usage.
The way Garr puts Japanese culture in perspective to teach you design and Zen concepts is genial, making you fall in love with it all - Japanese Culture, Zen and Design - and start to look for all these concepts in all the designs you interface with.
One of the greatest concepts I took from the book, teaches you of the importante of empty space and simplicity of your design. As Garr puts it - "It is the empty space, also called negative space or white space, that makes the positive elements of a design stand out". And that is so true!
I highly recommend this book. Actually, I think it should be a crime for anyone to operate any slideware software like PowerPoint or KeyNote without reading this book first. Too much suffering to the eyes are caused by those, like my past self, who lack the design foo and follow the bullet point approach and built-in template schemes for making a boring presentation.
And Finally, the Super Apresentações (Super Presentations) book is in part what Presentation Zen Design achieves, but with less zen and more of the other aspects of a presentation, that includes the preparation of the story, rehearsal, organization of content and finally some hints on design.
The book is in Portuguese, but it is very intuitive and I highly recommend for those who can read it. It can't replace Presentation Zen Design, but it is definitely a great complement.