How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid: The Faulty Causality, Sloppy Logic, Decontextualized Data, and Seductive Showmanship That Have Taken Over Our Thinking

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Overview


With over 500 million users worldwide, Microsoft’s PowerPoint software has become the ubiquitous tool for nearly all forms of public presentation—in schools, government agencies, the military, and, of course, offices everywhere. In this revealing and powerfully argued book, author Franck Frommer shows us that PowerPoint’s celebrated ease and efficiency actually mask a profoundly disturbing but little-understood transformation in human communication.

Using fascinating examples ...

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How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid: The Faulty Causality, Sloppy Logic, Decontextualized Data, and Seductive Showmanship That Have Taken Over Our Thinking

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Overview


With over 500 million users worldwide, Microsoft’s PowerPoint software has become the ubiquitous tool for nearly all forms of public presentation—in schools, government agencies, the military, and, of course, offices everywhere. In this revealing and powerfully argued book, author Franck Frommer shows us that PowerPoint’s celebrated ease and efficiency actually mask a profoundly disturbing but little-understood transformation in human communication.

Using fascinating examples (including the most famous PowerPoint presentation of all: Colin Powell’s indictment of Iraq before the United Nations), Frommer systematically deconstructs the slides, bulleted lists, and flashy graphics we all now take for granted. He shows how PowerPoint has promoted a new, slippery “grammar,” where faulty causality, sloppy logic, decontextualized data, and seductive showmanship have replaced the traditional tools of persuasion and argument.

How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid includes a fascinating mini-history of PowerPoint’s emergence, as well as a sobering and surprising account of its reach into the most unsuspecting nooks of work, life, and education. For anyone concerned with the corruption of language, the dumbing-down of society, or the unchecked expansion of “efficiency” in our culture, here is a book that will become a rallying cry for turning the tide.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

An original and brilliant study . . . Frommer’s call to resist the “powerpointization” of our souls carries in it the lucidity of a new social critique.
Les Inrockuptibles

To the executive who never dozed off after lunch in an atmosphere subdued by a PowerPoint meeting, who never experienced the desperation of trying to summarize
an entire year’s work in ten slides and fifty bullet points: throw the first projector at
Franck Frommer.
Le Monde

In an in-depth study, Franck Frommer has unearthed a new killer of brain cells.
Télérama

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595587022
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 565,872
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author


Franck Frommer worked as a journalist for a dozen years before joining an international company where he worked in the area of communications and the web. The author of a biography of Jean-Patrick Manchette, he lives in Paris. George Holoch has translated more than twenty books, including Eric Hazan's Notes on the Occupation and Alain Deneault's Offshore (both from The New Press). He lives in Hinesburg, Vermont.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A bit dry and academic, but very applicable for all PPT users

    The title alone should draw in most seasoned users of PowerPoint, but the overall concept should sell itself to all presenters -- it's time to revamp all of our electronic presentations! Going into this book, I found out that all my fears were true - we all try to impress waaaay too much when we create presentations. We cram too much information onto a slide. We worry about transition wipes and font colors and background designs more than we worry about our content. We take all the content/material in our heads and try to cram it onto 8x11 "slides" (interesting how a photographic term, considering the demise of analog photography and slide projectors, describes the base unit in PowerPoint).

    Luckily, Mr. Frommer does a good job at unearthing all of the bad (and good) of PowerPoint, taking you through a history of presentations (including 3M's work on producing the old-style transparencies of yore), into the creation of PowerPoint itself (very interesting), and onto the overuse and misuse of it for every possible kind of presentation. Although the overall book feels very academic (as in created by an academic), I think the point gets across well -- PowerPoint may be making us stupid.

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  • Posted September 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Franck Frommer, an expert in the field of communications, has wr

    Franck Frommer, an expert in the field of communications, has written a passionate book about – of all the unexpected topics – PowerPoint. He recognizes the program’s usefulness, technical excellence, flexibility and pervasive applicability, even as he criticizes its impact on the way people perceive, transmit and think about information. Part of his concern is that the program’s popular utility makes it ubiquitous and, thus, problematic. Though he may take his dismay a bit far when he holds PowerPoint solely responsible for the “dumbing down” of society, Frommer makes an interesting argument about the program’s effect. If you think PowerPoint – or any computer program – is totally harmless, think again. Frommer walks the reader through the history of PowerPoint and demonstrates how “PowerPoint thinking” has infiltrated business, education and government. He gets a little steamed up, and, while he doesn’t really tell you how to use this tool more effectively, he does offer an original line of thought. getAbstract suggests this book to business managers, human resources directors and communications personnel. You’ll still need PowerPoint to do all the things it is good at, and you’ll still use it, but you’ll think about it differently.

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