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The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures Hardcover – 2 Jun 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Marshall Cavendish (2 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0462099474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0462099477
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2.2 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 360,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"BusinessWeek"'s best innovation book of the year A "Fast Company" best business book of the year The ("London") "Times" business creativity book of the year "A must read for younger generation managers." -"BusinessWeek" "Roam shows that even the most analytical right-brainers can work better by thinking visually." -"Newsweek" "[Roam] shows you how to create simple drawings...that are simple but effective tools in breaking down complex notions and letting you share an idea across cultures and levels of expertise with aplomb." -"Fast Company" "As painful as it is for any writer to admit, a picture "is" worth a thousand words. That's why I learned so much from this book. With style and wit, Dan Roam has provided a smart, practical primer on the power of visual thinking." -Daniel H. Pink, author of "A Whole New Mind" "Inspiring! It teaches you a new way of thinking in a few hours-what more could you ask from a book?" -Dan Heath, author of "Made to Stick" "This book is a must read for managers and business leaders. Visual thinking frees your mind to solve problems in unique and effective ways." -Temple Grandin, author of "Thinking in Pictures" "If you observe the way people read or listen to things in the early 21st century, you realize that there aren't many of us left with a linear attention span. Visual information is much more interesting than verbal information. So if you want to make a point, do it with images, pictures or graphics...Dan Roam is the first visual consultant for the customer. And the message sticks." -Roger Black, Media design leader, author of "Websites That Work" "Simplicity. This is Dan Roam's message in "The Back of the Napkin." We all dread business meetings with their mountains of documents and the endless bulleted power points. Roam cuts through all that to demonstrate how the use of simple drawings-executed while the audience watches-c --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dan Roam is the president of Digital Roam Inc., a consultancy firm that helps businesses solve complex problems. His clients include Google, eBay, HBO, and News Corp. He lectures around the world and lives in San Francisco.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John on 1 Sept. 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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8 of 8 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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5 of 5 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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3 of 3 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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18 of 20 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan Beale on 6 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mani on 24 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book has been an eye opener for me as I loathe to making sketches. However, the author Dan Roam gently and cleverly takes one through the motions and by the middle of the book one gets a lot of confidence in making simple sketches to explain the problems. In fact, I bought this book, within two days, after I was presented with the book 'unfolding the napkin' by the same author, Brilliant books to own and refer and instils confidence in oneself, not only in explaining with simple sketches but also to distillate major problems to simple easily understandable segments and then be able to see clearly solutions, which were very elusive most of the times due to perceiving in conventional ways.

As for Amazon, the ordering, delivery and after sales service were very good and impressive. They are only 'an email away' for advice and help. Wonderful company to deal with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Glover on 25 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
I thought this book was easy to read and follow. The examples are interesting and the ideas and concepts can be used in many areas. I've been able to apply the core concepts in my role (software testing) with positive outcomes. Recently I misplaced the book and lost it... I have re-ordered a new one to refresh my memory as it's that good.
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