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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you can make a simple drawing of it, you can probably do it.
Note: The review that follows is of the Expanded Edition, published in 2009.

I read the original (published in 2008) and then this second edition with increasing admiration. As I began to work my way through Dan Roam's lively narrative, I was reminded of an incident years ago when a prominent venture capitalist found himself trapped by a young entrepreneur at a...
Published on Dec 2 2010 by Robert Morris

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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Back of a Napkin
This book is awful - don't buy it!
Chapter after chapter I kept waiting for it to enlighten me....it never did!
Don't waste your money - try something else.
Published on Nov. 16 2008 by Vancouver Reader


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you can make a simple drawing of it, you can probably do it., Dec 2 2010
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
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Note: The review that follows is of the Expanded Edition, published in 2009.

I read the original (published in 2008) and then this second edition with increasing admiration. As I began to work my way through Dan Roam's lively narrative, I was reminded of an incident years ago when a prominent venture capitalist found himself trapped by a young entrepreneur at a cocktail party. "This is my lucky day! I have been trying to get to see you for months! I have a great investment for you!" The VC asked if the young man had a business card. "You bet!" and offered one. "No, please, here's what I want you to do. Explain on the back of the card why I should be interested." Astonished, the young man replied, "That's impossible!" In response, the VC said, "Then I have no interest."

In essence, this anecdote suggests Roam's key insight: To answer a question, to solve a problem, to persuade others, or to achieve another goal, formulate it as a simple drawing. You may claim that you have no skills for drawing. That's good news. Why? Roam asserts that less-sophisticated drawings have greater impact because those who see them can more easily identify with stick figures, for example, and focus more readily on the relationships suggested, such as between and among options to be considered, implications and consequences, and cause-and-effect. Simple drawings accelerate both inductive and deductive reasoning.

There is another reason that, in my opinion, is more important than any other: If the objective of the drawing is to simplify a situation (e.g. question, problem, opportunity, peril) by focusing on what is most important, a simple drawing is most appropriate. Roam agrees with Albert Einstein: "Make everything as simple as possible...but no simpler."

Throughout Roam's lively narrative, he provides his reader with a full complement of "tools" and carefully explains how and when to use each. They include:

o The six problem "clumps" (i.e. who and what, how much, when, where, how, and why)
o Why "the hand is mightier than the mouse"
o Self-assessment exercises (e.g. Pages 26-27)
o A four-step guide to visual thinking
o "How to Look Better: Four Rules to Live By"
o "The Six Way of Seeing"
o "The Six Ways We See"
o What S-Q-V-I-D stands for and how to use it effectively
o The five S-Q-V-I-D questions "in action"
o "Whiteboard Workshop"

Roam provides all this (and much more) in the first six of 16 chapters, then in Appendix A he identifies and discusses what he characterizes as "The Ten (and a Half) Commandments of Visual Thinking." Again as he has throughout the previous material, he stresses the importance of mastering the basic skills of visual thinking and then apply them effectively guided and informed by these core principles:

1, There is no more powerful way to discover a new idea than to draw a simple picture.

2. There is no faster way to develop and test an idea than to draw a simple picture.

3. There is no more effective way to share an idea with other people than to draw a simple picture.

In this book and in its sequel, Unfolding the Napkin, Dan Roam explains how to achieve these objectives by (you guessed it) drawing a series of simple pictures. Bravo!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great information, March 17 2014
By 
K. Schwende - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Back Of The Napkin (Hardcover)
I really liked how this book was written and presented. It's an easy read, but don't let that fool you. It is packed full of great tips and relevant information.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, Sept. 24 2013
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Excellent Book. It was a pleasure to read and to add to my resources. Quick delivery, thanks amazon for making this book available.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh approach on something old: looking and seeing, Feb. 1 2012
We can look, see, draw, imagine. Since a long time. But how can you improve it so you can brainstorm efficiently in a meeting, or sell your ideas? This book really helps for that.
I personally enjoy using a whiteboard to write ideas and brainstorming (I'm a black pen). But no matter your relationship with the whiteboard, you'll find something for you inside the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really handy reference to have around, Jan. 1 2010
By 
Mr. Ram Kanda (Ottawa, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Back Of The Napkin (Hardcover)
I'm very glad I bought this book. It breaks down the collection and delivery of information into categories 'almost a cheat sheet ' showing how to represent them all visually. I always consult this book, along with Slide:ology whenever I have to do any presentations. Real Leaders Don't Use Powerpoint is great for helping with the verbal part of the presentations.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Solid Introduction to Illustrating Problems and Solutions, Aug. 1 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Back Of The Napkin (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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4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Back of a Napkin, Nov. 16 2008
This review is from: Back Of The Napkin (Hardcover)
This book is awful - don't buy it!
Chapter after chapter I kept waiting for it to enlighten me....it never did!
Don't waste your money - try something else.
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Back Of The Napkin
Back Of The Napkin by Dan Roam (Hardcover - March 18 2008)
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