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on 1 August 2009
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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on 1 September 2008
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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on 5 October 2009
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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on 13 November 2011
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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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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on 6 August 2010
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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on 24 December 2011
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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on 25 February 2014
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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on 24 May 2013
It's a great concept and the book explains everything you need to know about what it is but I felt it lacked a bit on the how to to achieve it. I suppose that is the unfolding the napkin book. The first half of this book deals with the whole concept and the second have walks through an example case so it shows examples of some parts of the framework but does not have examples for them all.

Shortly after starting to read this book, I managed to sketch out a solution to a client issue and everyone understood what I wanted them to. That was just because the book encouraged me to try it out and it was before I really understood the framework and toolkit.

It's written well and now I've finished it, I cannot wait for a new problem to arise that I can solve with pictures.
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on 16 November 2013
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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