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A book on presenting numbers from spreadsheets

I sometimes get books in the mail that seem right in my wheelhouse, but actually I have nothing useful to say because I’m not part of the target audience.

An example: the book Painting With Numbers by Randall Bolton on “presenting financials and other numbers so people will understand you.” The author seems well-connected; the book has blurbs from a CEO, a COO, a bank vice-chairman, a former White House chief of staff, and Congressman Tom Campbell. So I assume the author knows something about business communication. But I have no way of evaluating the book. Any given page seems to contain useful information—for example, I just opened to page 73, which is all about not wasting your audience’s time, a principle which I am often emphasizing. Now I flip to page 120, which has “Long-Term Payoff Tip #8: Document Your Work!” Good point. My next flip takes us to page 175, which covers the value of getting audience feedback.

Given that all these randomly-selected pages have good advice, I’m inclined to think the book as a whole is worth reading. But I’m so distant from the book’s usual readers that I really can’t say.

One Comment

  1. Gary says:

    Maybe on p. 42 it tells you to brush after every meal. That’s good advice too.