Book Review – The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam

by Michael Zabel

Driving home one evening, I caught the tail end of an interview with author Dan Roam on the radio.  He was talking about his newest book (Blah, Blah, Blah: What to Do When Words Don’t Work) in which he emphasizes that if one truly knows what they are “talking” about, one should be able to visually represent (draw) the idea while simultaneously explaining it.  In The Back of the Napkin, Mr. Roam explores the use of pictures in a business setting (staff meetings, brainstorming sessions, re-branding, market overviews, etc.).  As an illustrator, I found it interesting how self proclaimed non-visual thinkers process their information and how even people who think they can’t draw, are encouraged to give it a try simply by following Dan Roam’s simple S.Q.V.I.D method.  Aside from the author’s own theory are two interesting appendices, one in particular covering the science of visual thinking.  This book is a quick read (a weekend project) and overall it’s refreshing to read a business book emphasizes the importance and benefits of visual communication in professional environments. 

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