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Back of the Napkin, The: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures Hardcover – 3 Sep 2008


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Hardcover, 3 Sep 2008
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: PORTFOLIO (3 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841992
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841999
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 18.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 500,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
What's the most daunting business problem you can picture? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John on 1 Sep 2008
Format: Hardcover
This would have been a handy volume with some good ideas had it been halved in size. Unfortunately the author has made it hard for the reader by surrounding his points with too much verbiage. I looked forward to reading this book, but found wading through the text, which at times seems aimed at 10 year olds, very off-putting. More examples and fewer words would have resulted in a more useful book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. O'RAFFERTY on 1 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I use a lot of training techniques as part of my role. this book starts off very simply and in fact I nearly gave up because it all seemed very obvious. I kept going back to it to consolidate and develop my understanding and found it to be a very powerful tool for focussing and developing ideas.
I am going to use it on some of my clients to see if it makes a difference to my own delivery and support. Great book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Beav on 5 Oct 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book by a friend and looking at it didn't think I'd learn much from it as I consider myself quite a visual thinker already (a black pen person as Dan would call me).

However, the simple concepts and frameworks in the book really improved my skills with noticable results straight away.

I'm making all of my team read the book now!

Buy it, read it, use it. (wish I could have drawn this for you!)
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Aug 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you don't have any idea of how pictures can help you see more dimensions of problems and explain your solutions better, this is a good book to get you started. The book's main drawback is that it doesn't discuss how to integrate stories with pictures to make for more compelling communications. You'll have to learn to do that by reading books about storytelling to supplement this one.

I consider myself to be not very good at creating pictures for either solving problems or communicating solutions. I was disappointed that the book wasn't aimed more at helping people like me who understand the principles but have trouble applying those concepts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. Brown on 16 Nov 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The image scans are terrible quality and you will not be able to read them properly on any device. I immediately tried to get a refund.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MME KARINE LAMBERT D on 19 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent, simple, clever and most helpful to help others catching and memorize.
To be also recommended to teachers, students.... and so many more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maarten de Vries on 13 Nov 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was already a fan of visual thinking (a so-called black pen person), but I still wondered what a book on this topic would look like. Some other reviewers complained that it was too simplistic, but what were they expecting from a book called "On the Back of the Napkin?" On the contrary, I found that it boiled down the complex topics of solving business problems into a couple of useful "tools", such as:

a) How to break down a problem into 6 different aspects, which is actually what our brains do anyway: what/who, how much (how many), where, when, how and, last of all, why;
b) How you can draw a different picture for each aspect, namely a portrait, chart, map, timeline, flowchart and multivariable plot;
c) How you can draw a picture in different ways: Simple vs Elaborate, Qualitative vs quantitative, Vision vs execution, Individual vs compare and Deltas vs as-is situation (SQVID)

I still have to apply these tools in practice, and it may not actually be as easy as it seems to change my current drawing habits, but I do think it will lead me to draw a wider variety of pictures than I was drawing before. I also discovered the website [...], which is worth taking a look at.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dan Beale on 6 Aug 2010
Format: Hardcover
I kind of liked this book at the start, but found it hard to finish. I just got the impression that it was jumping on the bandwagon of books that take common sense ideas and try to make whole book out of them.

In other words, the concepts covered are enough for maybe a feature length article in a magazine. A whole book is stretching it.

Still, it makes you think in new ways, and that's always a good thing.
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