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Back Of The Napkin Hardcover – Mar 18 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (March 18 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841992
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841999
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 2.7 x 18.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 581 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #335,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The premise behind Roam's book is simple: anybody with a pen and a scrap of paper can use visual thinking to work through complex business ideas. Management consultant and lecturer Roam begins with a watershed moment: asked, at the last minute, to give a talk to top government officials, he sketched a diagram on a napkin. The clarity and power of that image allowed him to communicate directly with his audience. From this starting point, Roam has developed a remarkably comprehensive system of ideas. Everything in the book is broken down into steps, providing the reader with tools and rules to facilitate picture making. There are the four steps of visual thinking, the six ways of seeing and the SQVID– a clumsy acronym for a full brain visual work out designed to focus ideas. Roam occasionally overcomplicates; an extended case study takes up a full third of the book and contains an overload of images that belie the book's central message of simplicity. Nonetheless, for forward-thinking management types, there is enough content in these pages to drive many a brainstorming session. Illus. (Mar 13)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"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.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Super easy read, finished it on a flight from the East Coast to West Coast. It's not a new concept, but a concept not many people are practicing. I wish I can apply this more often in real life. It is a great book for people in sales and consulting.
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Format: Hardcover
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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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
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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