Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures” as Want to Read:
Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  856 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Book by Roam, Dan
Paperback, 286 pages
Published December 29th 2009 by Portfolio (first published 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Unfolding the Napkin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Unfolding the Napkin

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  856 ratings  ·  38 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing

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
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.

Drew Graham
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: me
Any problem can be solved with simple illustrations, no matter your level of artistic ability (or lack thereof), and this book explains how with real-world applications and plenty of exercises.

Dan Roam apparently has taken his philosophies on the road with great results, revolutionizing how businesses relate sometimes complex ideas in very simple ways, while at the same time using basic and timeless methods. This is a handbook, like a do-it-yourself workshop, that takes you through the four days
Aaron Bolin
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: presentation
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
Jan 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: not-owned
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
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Thai Duc
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing book. It enlightens me with a new approach to the problem-solving skill. I immediately apply the tools to my writing skill, my daily job as a Software Architect. It helps me better explaining the boring topic or hard to understand. You know the software stuff are not that fun.
If you are struggling with understanding complex stuff, this book is for you. You will see things in totally different perspective.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: od
I found the first half of the book more helpful and easier to follow than the second half, but I still think this is more useful for how you communicate visually than how you actually do the solving -- my brain did not understand a lot of this naturally. (Red pen!) Still, it helped me get out of my comfort zone by exploring some different ways to show rather than tell concepts I'm trying to convey.
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dawid Naude
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it

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.
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Break the problem into 50 visual pieces is a good way to see the problems from different points of view. Its an exercise worth doing when you are stuck on ideas. Another method to generate 5*5*2 possibilities .
Walt DeGrange
Dec 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Nice system. I will try and incorporate drawing into my briefs. Should come in very handy for teaching.
Manuel Frias
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: visualization
Excellent complement to "The Back of the Napkin". Deeper explanations about the 6x6 method and SQVID with examples and exercises.
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I hated this book. I retained nothing from reading. It was not engaging to me.
If it weren't for class, I'd not've touched it.
Mark Grether
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Visual Thibkers of all stripes will love Dan Roam.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Simple, yet brilliant. I use the principles from this book all the time.
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teacher-books
A great workbook for helping teachers sort through visual thinking, representing. I love VR!!
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great supplement to Back of the Napkin. You, too, can doodle with purpose.
Thomas Kinsfather
Jul 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A must read for communicators, teachers, pastors, and leaders. Invaluable tools.
Feb 22, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Albert Hong
Basically the same concepts as the original book which I liked, with a bit more practical ideas. I'm still not there knowing how to apply it, so hasn't fully sunk in yet.
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 30, 2010 rated it liked it
More detailed than the Back of the Napkin but a lot of the same material.
Larry Carter
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
very good....look forward to reading his later book!
Ed van der Winden
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Loved it. Pretty much love everything.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Visual Teams: Graphic Tools for Commitment, Innovation, & High Performance
  • Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations
  • Rapid Problem Solving With Post-it Notes
  • Indexed
  • Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences
  • Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rule-breakers, and Changemakers
  • Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact
  • The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace
  • Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking
  • The Systems Thinking Playbook: Exercises to Stretch and Build Learning and Systems Thinking Capabilities
  • Visual Thinking: For Design
  • The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking
  • Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds
  • Innovation Games: Creating Breakthrough Products Through Collaborative Play: Creating Breakthrough Products and Services
  • Lend Me Your Ears: All you need to know about making speeches and presentations
  • The Art of Explanation - Making Your Ideas, Products and Services Easier to Understand
  • Design for How People Learn
  • Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented Techniques
See similar books…