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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire (Bpg-Other)
Publisher: Microsoft Press
Authors: Cliff Atkinson
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
A good framework for authoring, but does it scale down?

Can you really deliver a PowerPoint presentation without having any bullet points in the deck? This book does a good job of convincing that this is possible. However, I believe that the book's greater contribution is pointing out that most people structure presentations as a dump of data rather than taking into account their audience and the goal of their presentation -- why are people there? What do you want them to do or believe after you're done presenting? Even if you disagree with Cliff's convincing points on removing bullets from your decks, you should take to heart his framework for developing concepts and decks.

The running example is of a presentation for a proposal to approve some drug or another for the executive board of a company. While I'm sure there are lots of presentations done for boards, at the company I work most presentations are to groups of peer first-level managers and individual contributors about technical areas, product overviews, or change initiatives. The second most common are those to upper management on the status of a project or requests for resources. None of those are easily transformed into the marketing presentation, as they contain lots of data to present, sequences of actions that need to be taken, lists of stakeholders to be affected, etc. I could see how you can remove bullet points from certain types of presentations, but he didn't do a great job of convincing me that was true of all presentations.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Essential C++
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Stanley B. Lippman
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Very good

This crash course in C++ covers all of the important aspects of the language in around 250 pages. The book touches on most of the standard language and even some STL. Also, it uses the standard C++ library which a lot of older books on C++ fail to use. Without the standard library, C++ is just another C. However, when you use the standard library, the distinctions between the two languages is clear.
This book is very good when used in conjunction with Lippman's other book, "The C++ Primer," which is hands-down the best and most readable book about C++. However, "The C++ Primer" is more in-depth and almost 1300 pages, so this book is much more attractive for those who don't have a lot of time to dedicate to learning C++ the old fashion way. One warning about this book, however, is that if you don't know how to program in at least one other programming language besides C++, then this may not be the book for you. This book is very fast paced and spends all of it's time going over syntax rather then sematics. But for the experienced programmer, there is no faster way to learn the essentials of C++.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: AutoCAD 2004 for Dummies
Publisher: For Dummies
Authors: Mark Middlebrook
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
Save your money

My copy ended up in the trash. There are so many typos, grammatical errors and mismatches between the examples and the software, that I should have returned it for a refund. It reads like a rough draft of what could be a book. And to the good people at "Dummies", PLEASE use a proofreader next time.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Microsoft® Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA
Publisher: Wiley
Authors: John Walkenbach
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Excellent Practical Excel resource!

Excellent book by a guy who literally lives and breathes with Excel VBA. The result is a book with lots of useful tips. It's not a generic rehash written by a Hired Gun (93% of the computer books), who learn the subject matter as they compose a book. Also touches on embedded OLE object programming and editing the code in the workbook programmatically. Hopefully will augment this parts in future editions. No matter what else you have on Excel VBA, definetly add this one to your arsenal.