The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam
(Expanded Edition): Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

77%

23 Critic Reviews

For forward-thinking management types, there is enough content in these pages to drive many a brainstorming session.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

The acclaimed bestseller about visual problem solving-now bigger and better

"There is no more powerful way to prove that we know something well than to draw a simple picture of it. And there is no more powerful way to see hidden solutions than to pick up a pen and draw out the pieces of our problem."

So writes Dan Roam in The Back of the Napkin, the international bestseller that proves that a simple drawing on a humble napkin can be more powerful than the slickest PowerPoint presentation. Drawing on twenty years of experience and the latest discoveries in vision science, Roam teaches readers how to clarify any problem or sell any idea using a simple set of tools.

He reveals that everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, even those who swear they can't draw. And he shows how thinking with pictures can help you discover and develop new ideas, solve problems in unexpected ways, and dramatically improve your ability to share your insights.

Take Herb Kelleher and Rollin King, who figured out how to beat the traditional hub-and-spoke airlines with a bar napkin and a pen. Three dots to represent Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Three arrows to show direct flights. Problem solved, and the picture made it easy to sell Southwest Airlines to investors and customers.

Now with more color, bigger pictures, and additional content, this new edition does an even better job of helping you literally see the world in a new way. Join the teachers, project managers, doctors, engineers, assembly-line workers, pilots, football coaches, marine drill instructors, financial analysts, students, parents, and lawyers who have discovered the power of solving problems with pictures.
 

About Dan Roam

See more books from this Author
DAN ROAM is founder and president of Digital Roam Inc., a management consulting firm that helps businesses solve problems through visual thinking. He has brought his unique approach to clients such as Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Wells Fargo, the United States Navy, HBO, News Corp., and the United States Senate. He lectures around the world for clients and at business conferences. He lives in San Francisco.
 
Published January 1, 2009 by Portfolio Hardcover. 304 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Self Help. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Back of the Napkin
All: 23 | Positive: 21 | Negative: 2

Publishers Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on Dec 03 2008

For forward-thinking management types, there is enough content in these pages to drive many a brainstorming session.

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Examiner

Good
on Dec 02 2010

Throughout Roam’s lively narrative, he provides his reader with a full complement of “tools” and carefully explains how and when to use each.

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The Gospel Coalition

Good
on Nov 17 2008

The mere reading of it, at least for me, has gotten the creative juices flowing–and used rightly, I think this book could help faciliate some good breakthroughs in church, businesses, and ministries.

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The Gospel Coalition

Good
Reviewed by Justin Taylor on Nov 17 2008

Even if this doesn’t at all sound like your “cup of tea,” I’d encourage you to check it out. The mere reading of it, at least for me, has gotten the creative juices flowing.

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Harvard Business Review

Good
on Sep 24 2008

If you're terrified of drawing by hand at a whiteboard, and want some tricks for making as much use as possible from your limited artistic skills, this is the book for you.

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Industrial Renaissance

Good
Reviewed by Albert Suckow on Jan 14 2012

This is a reader-friendly and un-intimidating book that makes a good introduction to drawing for the purpose of communicating and selling ideas.

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All About Presentations

Good
Reviewed by Vivek Singh on Jun 10 2011

The beauty of the book lies in making you realise the power of pictures. The book is a quick read and written in simple English but the concepts will take time to sink in.

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Tim Peter Thinks

Good
Reviewed by Tim Peter on Jul 15 2008

In a world cluttered with communication, Roam offers a simple solution. Clear, concise, and coherent, Roam’s book will make a welcome addition to your business bookshelf.

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Multiply Leadership

Good
Reviewed by Multiply Leadership on Jan 01 2013

Have you ever been faced with a decision? Than you should read this. If you take away just one idea from this book, you will be better equipped to solve problems.

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Terry's Thinking

Good
Reviewed by Terry on Oct 23 2012

It can serve as a useful reference text when you are creating a presentation to sell your ideas or solve a problem. Don’t skip the appendix, it also has some interesting and helpful sections.

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Design Thinking @ Haas

Good
Reviewed by Design Thinking @ Haas on Mar 04 2012

As MBA students, we hear “less is more” when it comes to PowerPoint presentations, or “tell me your elevator pitch” on a fairly regular basis…This book offers a helpful framework for simplifying such communications and making them effective.

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The eLearning Coach

Good
Reviewed by Connie Malamed on Jan 01 2012

So you’ll need to think things through, ponder and maybe even sketch to really get it. That’s how I like it.

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Capitolism Blog

Good
Reviewed by Capitolism Blog on Nov 15 2010

Mr. Roam has produced a fine contribution to problem solving and even to creative thinking in business. His book now has an honored place next to Mr. Tufte’s books in my library as an indispensible resource.

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6 Minutes

Good
Reviewed by Andrew Dlugan on Jun 02 2010

The three things I liked most about The Back of the Napkin are the key insights that had my lightbulbs fireworks lighting up.

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Adelle Frank

Good
Reviewed by Adelle Frank on Apr 09 2010

Subtly-revised diagrams and improved explanation of key brain science concepts make it easier to understand on the first read.

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Lean is Good

Good
Reviewed by Bruce Baker on Dec 28 2009

All told, a worthy read from someone who shares a lot of our lean practitioner paradigms (he might not know it but he does.) Should be interesting for people who value the A3 process.

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Johnny Holland

Good
Reviewed by Johnny Holland on Jul 11 2009

If you think this book is about sketching: it’s not. However, if you’re looking for a book that will help you solve almost any problem, then The Back of The Napkin is the book for you. Yes, ANY problem.

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Braindancing Smorgasbord

Above average
Reviewed by Say Keng Lee on May 03 2009

Tactically, it is a do-it-yourself book. So you have to work with it systematically to get what you need.

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Designer's Review of Books

Good
Reviewed by Andy Polaine on Jan 21 2009

By the end of all this, you have a solid process with which to visually work through problem finding, solving and explaining.

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M62 Visual Communications

Good
Reviewed by M62 Visual Communications on Jan 09 2009

Visualisation – presenting complex ideas visually – is hard. Back of the Napkin presents a framework for visual thinking – a way anyone might be able to approach the task.

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PowerPoint Ninja

Below average
Reviewed by pptninja on Nov 24 2008

Roam uses clunky acronyms for his frameworks and processes, which makes them memorable for the wrong reason. As some other reviewers have noted, nearly a third of the book is devoted to a fictional case study.

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The Marketing Blog

Good
Reviewed by Jay Ehret on Jun 11 2008

This book is more an I expected. I expected to learn how to draw pictures and show my ideas more effectively. What I also learned was a problem-solving process that will improve my writing, planning, presenting, and business.

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Mark Larson

Good
Reviewed by Mark Larson on May 19 2008

Heaven knows it’s refreshingly different from most of the other books in the business section, and there’s some real meat in there.

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Reader Rating for The Back of the Napkin
73%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 252 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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