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Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures
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Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  321 ratings  ·  27 reviews

An original workbook companion to the acclaimed business bestseller The Back of the Napkin

Dan Roam's The Back of the Napkin, a BusinessWeek bestseller, taught readers the power of brainstorming and communicating with pictures. It presented a new and exciting way to solve all kinds of problems-from the boardroom to the sales floor to the cubicle jungle.

The companion wor...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Portfolio Trade (first published 2009)
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23rd out of 65 books — 90 voters
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Community Reviews

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Stephen
READ DEC 2010

Excellent approach to visual thinking and visual problem solving. This book is a follow-up to the original book and is set up as more of a workbook.

Best ideas are the four "unwritten rules" including: (a) whoever is best able to describe the problem is the person most likely to solve it, (b) we can't solve problems that overwhelm us. To understand what we're seeing, we need to break it into bite-size pieces, (c) problems don't get solved by the smartest, fastest, or strongest; they...more
Vandana
Hi. So for all those out there who gaze at their laptops and computer screen for long number of hours each day, to figure out what those bulk charts, dashboards and tables say about your company profits and losses, this book is your knight in the shining armor! :) All post grads doing MBA,please go through this book and learn better visualization and presentation aspects for your projects and models. Ben Fry sure is the most renowned author for data visualization practices in the world but Dan R...more
Richard Stephenson
I thought it was amazing!

I didn't read his first book about napkin creativity. However, this book was so totally up my alley. I soak in TONS of information and absolutely loved this method of getting down on paper. It's quick, it's not perfect, and it leaves a lot out... but that's what it's for!

And here's another huge thing... the more tools you learn to help you CONSCIOUSLY control which "frame of mind" your in... the better! This is a HUGE skill that all must posses.

Recommended.
Aaron Bolin
Dan Roam is really cool; I really enjoyed this book. Yes, the pictures are kind of corny. Yes, the examples are kind of cartoonish. Yes, the exercises seem like they are from kindergarten. But somehow Roam has taken corny, cartoonish, kindergarten tasks and turned them into something really useful.

I read this book and enjoyed it, but I didn't get the full value of the content until I went back and worked the exercises. Though I don't remember what SQVID stands for or any of the other organizing...more
Nora
The author spends the first 100 pages expaining why pictures are a good idea. He could have made his point much quicker and spent more time explaining his frameworks for drawing pictures, of which there are very many. He makes an analogy with a swiss army knife: his has 18 tools on it, culminating in a 6x5x2 = 60-picture grid of the different drawings you can make, which he calls the "visual thinking codex". The types of pictures he is talking about are: who/what, how much, where, when, how and...more
Eric Wallace
I picked up this book--and in particular the "hands-on" workbook instead of the original The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures--because I am not particularly visual person, but I want to learn to communicate better visually and practice it, too. As such, I found the book quite helpful, but it took me *forever* to get through because, well, it was like "work". (This is quite ironic since I regularly read technical books that are very much related to my job and f...more
Dawid Naude
Loved it! Highly recommend it for anyone who is tired of boring Powerpoints, or consultants who want to understand complex concepts and requirements with a simple model.

Also- it will give you a tool to present to any group and ensure they GET what you're saying. Loved it, excited to implement this every day.
Andrewziegler


This book provides a simple approach to become a more effective communicator.

It was interesting to recognize tactics that were already being implemented at my office. (I am guessing someone from our corporate, if not our office leader, has read this.)

None the less, I found it a valuable read and already find myself using some of its methods.
Faz
It's a 4-day workshop on how to make the steps your own. This one's for everyone who's ever been asked "Can you show me what it looks like?" I find the book especially helpful for presenting stuff in a brown bag lunch session and any other discussions over coffee & without a laptop computer, a white board or one of those blasted tablets.
Sophian
We are not talking about great literature here but set of ideas/techniques on how to present your ideas based on the theory that we are born with the ability to draw but not to write and read.
Kristi
This book was a harder read for me than The Back of the Napkin. I appreciated the exercises, and did force myself to complete them. I think it's a nice companion to The Back of the Napkin.
Ed van der Winden
The only slight drawback to this book is that it is too much like The Back of the Napkin. Still, of you only read this one it is still a book full of five-star ideas and insights.
Mark Grether
Somewhat of a companion book to "The Back of the Napkin". Shows how effective simple symbols are in communicating complex ideas especially for your whiteboard explanations.
John
Better than Back of the Napkin because of the detail and number of examples. Otherwise nothing new. Still, absolutely worth reading and trying to apply to your work.
Manolo Frias
Excellent complement to "The Back of the Napkin". Deeper explanations about the 6x6 method and SQVID with examples and exercises.
Jochen Bünnagel
Dec 26, 2010 Jochen Bünnagel is currently reading it
So far, it mostly reiterates the stuff from "Back of the Napkin" from a more practical perspective. I hope it gets better.
Walt DeGrange
Nice system. I will try and incorporate drawing into my briefs. Should come in very handy for teaching.
Kim
A great workbook for helping teachers sort through visual thinking, representing. I love VR!!
Thomas Kinsfather
A must read for communicators, teachers, pastors, and leaders. Invaluable tools.
Danien
More detailed than the Back of the Napkin but a lot of the same material.
Kathie
Great supplement to Back of the Napkin. You, too, can doodle with purpose.
Bastian
Great methods but I think I won't use them much in the daily business.
Alina
Simple, yet brilliant. I use the principles from this book all the time.
Larry Carter
very good....look forward to reading his later book!
Carla
Visual Thibkers of all stripes will love Dan Roam.
Alka
cute illustrations
Kent Austin
Started 9/5/2011
Christopher Vincent
Christopher Vincent marked it as to-read
Oct 17, 2014
Derek Monteverdi
Derek Monteverdi marked it as to-read
Oct 13, 2014
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The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations Sul retro del tovagliolo. Come risolvere problemi e vendere idee con le immagini

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