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The Back of the Napkin

by Dan Roam

Back of the Napkin“The Back of the Napkin” has recently been voted the number 5 best selling business book at Amazon for 2008. Dan Roam is a business consultant and a firm believer in using drawing to solve problems. As Roam says, the purpose of this book is not to be Rembrandt but to learn to think visually. It is enough to be able to telegraph an idea rather than paint the whole picture.

Note: this book does not teach you how to draw. You won’t learn to draw boxes in perspective. However, Roam does encourage you to practice drawing simple shapes such as lines, arrows, people and objects. Roam’s illustrations are simple, powerful and convincing. I especially like the step-by-step drawing examples that show what he drew first, second, etc.

I have the feeling that there soon will be a sequel to the book—a workbook with more examples of how to create simple business graphics. In the workbook, people will hopefully have more opportunities to practice Roam’s master framework, the Visual Thinking Codex. I was happy to find the Visual Thinking Codex for download on the book’s companion website. This is a valuable addition, since most of the drawings in the book are small due to the “napkin” size of the book. He concludes with a clever “Swiss army knife” visual summary.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

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