The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam
Dan Roam is someone who makes his living by drawing pictures. No, he is not a painter or an artist. But what he does is draw simple pictures for the corporate world, and helps them see their problems, situations in perspective using visual thinking. He narrates an interesting story of how he himself got inducted into visual thinking technique when forced to go and talk to a client about something that he had no clue about.
My overall impression, the book does not talk about anything in specific. He talks about 5 W and 1 H technique to draw pictures, which is a technique that has been beaten to death by all kinds of creative people and obviously is not original. All he is saying is when you try to solve a problem and ask the questions why, what, where, who, when and how, instead of putting your answers in words, put them down in pictures and that may bring you more clarity in thinking, or may help you communicate better, specially when you have a language barrier.
He introduces one more small technique called SQVID, which is again not really new, but is well packaged. In the end he takes a case study of a software company which is losing sales to competition and hence needs to re-work its product design. Again, there is nothing new that I could gather from the case.Now the message that he does manage to send across is that ‘Everyone can draw’. Lots of people tend to think that they can not draw, which is not really true. He gives examples of people who thought so, only to discover otherwise.
It’s a small fast read book, with lots and lots of visuals, so you can just swipe past the book. If you enjoy reading all the new fad books that come every year, especially fromAmerica, you may like it. But otherwise, you can easily give it a skip.