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Mar 17, Amina rated it it was ok. The methods weren't applicable. Forcing them would be a waste of time on my part. What a disappointment. Although it was recommended to me as a friendly way to learn about modeling languages a rather work related topic , its not at all a technical book. Instead it aims to convey its ideas to the general public, demystifying the use of our innate visual thinking.

It seems to me that a good brainstorming session with drawings included brainsketching is much simpler than the methods developed by Dan Roam. Also, the concept of simple drawings as abstractions of complex concepts is not a novelty Understanding Comics by Scott McLoud masterfully explains this , so no breakthrough there as well. The book also dedicates much attention to help avoiding those sleep-inducing presentations, but again it lags behind other works Presentation Zen is a must read. I stick to make it simple and engaging as a rule of thumb.

Drawings can, and certainly are, a useful addition, but not a stand-alone magic formula to keep your audience from taking a nap especially if your presentation is at a rainy Monday morning…. Aug 08, J. Edward rated it really liked it. Given how much time I spend at a whiteboard, I've often contemplated how to more effectively use that tool. A really well drawn diagram, particularly if it's accompanied by both a good analogy and a good example ends up hitting nearly all of the learning styles in a given room.

The Back of the Napkin was recommended to me as a really good book for how to improve whiteboard diagrams. That recommendation wasn't ill-founded. This approach gives a nicely structured system for how to diagram most comm Given how much time I spend at a whiteboard, I've often contemplated how to more effectively use that tool. This approach gives a nicely structured system for how to diagram most common business situations. Fortunately, if you're concerned about your ability to draw, this book should help to alleviate some of those worries. That's because nearly everything he shows could be drawn by a typical elementary school child.

So, "I can't draw" is not a reason to avoid drawing in this kind of context. Jul 25, Brian rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-in , change-and-improvement-books. This was an fantastic book and it should be required reading for anybody in business. The subject is all about visual thinking a very Lean concept but it also provides a great framework for critical thinking. Mixing the two will provide outstanding results. By making things visual, it will be easier to direct conversations to the issue SEEN in front of them not just "stick to what I am talking about".

With visual thinking, you can have h This was an fantastic book and it should be required reading for anybody in business. With visual thinking, you can have hard-to-grasp concepts represented in a way that hopefully keeps you from having to discuss the same concept multiple times. I am all about getting rid of waste in our life! Dan Roam's book provides great instructions and each idea builds on itself. Jul 29, irfan rated it it was amazing. A great read for those who are more visual in our communication with others.

This book does attempt to give a guide of sorts of how one can communicate his or her ideas effectively. The ideas given are fresh, and I do find them directly applicable to those who are either more suited to these kind of communication media, or for those who wants to add a little zing to their presentation. But one aspect that I do find this book lacking is the seemingly technical details that it is trying to force o A great read for those who are more visual in our communication with others. But one aspect that I do find this book lacking is the seemingly technical details that it is trying to force onto the readers.

Arguably, it does get a little weird trying to look at the tabulated template of sorts, but nonetheless, this book, I feel, would be able to give her readers a certain degree of confidence, and knowledge on how to communicate more visually, and more importantly, more effectively. Aug 25, Susan Connell Biggs rated it it was amazing Shelves: work-related. Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas by Dan Roam is an easy read that helps us think about ways that pictures can help us solve problems. It might be helpful for those of us who like to use visual activities as inquiry tools.

Since I'm a visual thinker who often turns to pictures to think things out, this helped me reflect on ways I can further refine my methods. I can imagine it would be helpful for those who don't turn to pictures first, to see how they can be a great way to Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas by Dan Roam is an easy read that helps us think about ways that pictures can help us solve problems. I can imagine it would be helpful for those who don't turn to pictures first, to see how they can be a great way to help illuminate problems and come up with solutions--especially when done collaboratively with others.

This is a great book that teaches you how to frame problems and communicate them better visually. The author goes beyond the "here's the top 3 things to do" lists that I'm accustomed to in most business productivity books. He pulls in various research which breaks down how we process and communicate information which will be a refresh for some and completely new to others. I highly recommended this book for anyone who has to use their brain for a living This is an OK book and can be read very quickly if you know how to speed read. I recommend it to people who need to develop high level consultancy skills.

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It helps you learn how to collect info, structure your thoughts and present business info in a visual form. Jul 31, Manuel Frias rated it it was amazing Shelves: visualization. This is for me the most inspiring book about visual thinking so far. Dan Roam doesn't only explain why we all should solve problems with pictures. He even explains how to do it in an engaging and, of course, visual way. Dec 02, Jon Nguyen rated it did not like it. I thought it was going to be a useful resource on how to use visual thinking and drawing to attack problems, but it was actually not very helpful or informative.

Jan 17, David McClendon, Sr rated it liked it. While I love to read books on my Kindle, I would have to say that charts and most pictures are basically lost when using the Kindle. That being said, I have to say I enjoyed the book. This book takes the reader on a little journey.

Dan Roam shows us how he came up with the concept of using simple, basic, pictures drawn by hand to illustrate the concepts he was wishing to convey to his audiences. Our author gives us several examples of how to illustrate problems and offers some interesting anecdotes to help make his point. I think that The Back of the Napkin would be worthwhile reading, but I suggest reading it in the print version rather than on a book reader. Book Review Policy My policy on book reviews is to give you my honest opinion of the book. From time to time publishers will give me a copy of their book for free for the purpose of me reading the book and writing a review.

The publishers understand when they give me the book that I am under no obligation to write a positive review. If you will look at all my reviews, you will see that there have been occasions when I have written a negative review after having been given a book. I often provide links to books on Amazon. However, I strongly encourage you to check out your local library. Many libraries now offer electronic borrowing for free. I didn't actually finished the book. The book contains details of the framework that I think comes naturally to me. I have that ability to break things down and explain and the book concentrates on that a lot.

So, if you have problem with that the book might help.


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I expected that the book would show a lot of drawing strategies and examples. There are not that many. The only thing I liked was the story in the beginning of the book. Dec 26, Lain rated it liked it Shelves: not-going-to-finish. The concept of this book is teaching everyone -- not just artistic types -- to use images effectively for presentations and persuasion. I think it's extremely difficult to cover this topic thoroughly and effectively in a book format. I would love to attend a live seminar by the author, as seeing him present the concepts in real time would give me a much better handle The concept of this book is teaching everyone -- not just artistic types -- to use images effectively for presentations and persuasion.

I would love to attend a live seminar by the author, as seeing him present the concepts in real time would give me a much better handle on it. But reading about it -- not so much. I got lost about halfway through. The concepts presented were too complicated to understand without a great deal of effort which I simply don't have! I gave up and just flipped through the back half of the book.

View 1 comment. My appreciation for the book grew considerably towards the end. Dan Roam puts a consistent system in place and everything fits carefully together. This becomes very clear in the short last chapter on selling ideas with pictures.

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Reading just the last chapter is in my opinion not to be recommended, because I think that you then miss too much substance to get the point. Obviously all material is well illustrated with nice pictures. I'm wondering whether Dan made them himself. In that case I'd say i My appreciation for the book grew considerably towards the end.

In that case I'd say is very good in napkin art. In fact all books should contain pictures, except novels, of course. May 24, Cassie Buckner rated it really liked it. I thought this book could be organized in a better manner for easier understanding. However the central points of the book are better presented in workshop form than just simply reading about it for optimal retention. Lots to think about. I have been the person with a great visual to present and not known where to begin to explain it effectively.

I have also killed myself and other through bullet points where a chart might have been better. We need to use our god-given gifts of drawing. Heck, ca I thought this book could be organized in a better manner for easier understanding. Heck, cave men did it to record history and communicate messages.

Oct 14, Masako Lin added it. Had to read this for work so in this goes into my book count hahahah. While I think the concept is fantastic but the way it's presented ironically is bloated, very theoretical with hardly any practical examples or how-tos and far from simple. Still it's a good concept and I've been employing some of the techniques at work.

I've been told Unfolding the Napkin the workshop version of this book is a far better read if you want to implement Visual Thinking in your work. Mar 25, Richard rated it really liked it. Dan Roam introduces interesting concepts, with scientifically inferred backing and shows how they can be applied. He gives a good guide to visual thinking process we go through naturally. It will give a toolkit I will pull on when visually thinking through problems. Apr 12, David Marr rated it it was amazing.

About halfway through this. This helps identify all the key pieces to making solid products and gives your imagination a kick in the butt. Jan 09, Jeffrey L Barton rated it it was amazing. Very cool concepts for anyone. You need to read this book, it will help you convey what you need to say in a way everyone can understand. Jun 01, Becky rated it really liked it Shelves: to-read-non-fiction. I was surprised by how much I got out of this! Makes a lot of sense from my experience in science and the classroom. Nov 28, Papuna rated it liked it. Interesting read with compelling visual materials, although still a bit above the average read.

Hardly anybody can get good use out of the content unless has to break down complex business problems and give solutions to the clients every fortnight. Guess it is a nice read for people who want to try themselves in a business consulting. More drawing tips I had hoped that The Back of the Napkin would cover more rudimentary drawing tips. For example, what are easy ways to show motion in quick sketches? How can color be used effectively at the flip chart, or should you stick with a single color?

Why We Need to be Visual

How do you show emotion in stick figures? Brent Dykes , PowerPoint Ninja :. Beverly Feldt , Perdido Magazine :. Charts, testimonials, vision, detail—all of these poured out of my pencil. I was hooked. Patrick Sanwikarja , Johnny Holland Magazine :. This book will give you a number of very hands-on tools to improve your visual thinking skills not your drawing skills and be more critical of the pictures you already made.

I think The Back of the Napkin is not so much a must read for designers, but for everyone else — especially people who deal with problem solving on a daily basis.

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Connie Malamed , The eLearning Coach :. Although this book is oriented toward the solving and selling of ideas in business, most of the techniques and concepts can be easily transferred to the general notion of solving problems through visual thinking. The Back of the Napkin is a quick read, and a useful reference book. It will help you become a better presenter by converting your pointless bullet points and vague visuals into meaningful visuals. This article is one of a series of public speaking book reviews featured on Six Minutes.

Subscribe to Six Minutes for free to receive future book reviews. E-Mail hidden. Looking for new ways to translate your ideas or data into visuals? The Art of Visual Thinking. Subscribe - It's Free! Read our permissions policy , privacy policy , or disclosure policy. Contact us. Free Email Newsletter. Six Minutes Speaking and Presentation Skills. Your guide to be a confident and effective speaker. Browse Articles. Reader Response. Blog links: 2.

How Many? He continues through other questions, eventually labeling it the SQVID approach which encourages you to consider the following qualities when communicating with a visual: S imple vs. Elaborate Q uality vs. Quantity V ision vs. Execution I ndividual Attributes vs. Comparison D elta change vs.

Does a visual need to be self-explanatory to be effective? For example, many speakers would benefit from exploring these questions: My final visual is going to be elaborate. Where do I start?

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How should I chunk the drawing, revealing a bit at a time? What advice do you have for narrating the story as you draw? How should you refer back to a previously drawn visual later in the presentation? Or should you? Beverly Feldt , Perdido Magazine : Charts, testimonials, vision, detail—all of these poured out of my pencil.

Patrick Sanwikarja , Johnny Holland Magazine : This book will give you a number of very hands-on tools to improve your visual thinking skills not your drawing skills and be more critical of the pictures you already made. Connie Malamed , The eLearning Coach : Although this book is oriented toward the solving and selling of ideas in business, most of the techniques and concepts can be easily transferred to the general notion of solving problems through visual thinking.