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

3.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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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: 474,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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 the Paperback edition.

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.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bored me rigid. I draw for a living and leap naturally to my pencil (and eraser) to explain things. I never tried to analyse this and find what comes naturally is best and that sketching does not need to be beautiful or artistic to convey the point. Roam launches into a cascade of over-analysed garble, presumably to make a complex book from a simple subject and hence a living. My advice is relax with a nice simple old style pencil and it will come to you. The only thing that Roam is right about is that drawings are often better than words so I reckon I've written enough.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's something really useful in here but the authors proficiency with pictures is let down by his written explanations.
Scenarios where various approaches should be used aren't well enough explained, particularly the nuances of which variety of his varIous SQVIDs should be used.
Frustrating as it does feel like there is something useful that I'm missing out on.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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