October 22, 2012

Peer Book Report: Unfolding the Napkin by Dan Roam

Review by Jenny Elfanbaum
October 16th, 2012 

This handbook is a must-see for anyone looking to pitch an idea. With basic geometric shapes and stick figures, Roam presents the tools to solve any problem with simple drawings. The first part of the book is about looking and seeing. When a problem is too big to immediately dive into, the trick is to break it down into smaller, comprehensible parts. His approach is anything but simple, though. It is based on the fact that the brain has 6 different processing pathways for visual information. Certain types of images communicate better with certain pathways-- and the more pathways that are activated, the more ideas can be produced.
Start by taking a large problem and break it down into smaller patterns. Every problem can be studied from 6 different ways- the 6 pathways. By asking questions that engage both the left and right hemisphere of the brain, more pictorial variations of a problem can be created, helping us understand how other people see the world. Depending on the audience, different images may be more effective at conveying the problem. And ultimately, in the business world, whoever can best communicate the problem is most likely to solve it. 

Some topics covered in the Unfolding the Napkin:
  • How to illustrate a complex problem with a simple picture
  • The Six Ways of Seeing, and how to create pictures that address each
  • Creating a visual thinking codex
  • Expanding imagination through SQVID
  • Understanding your audience
  • How to collect data through active looking
  • Applying visual thinking in the workplace

After reading this handbook, I figured I would try out Roam's approach.
 In simple pictures, here’s what you should do next:

After reading this post on the Pratt Success Blog, come on over to the CCPD office and take a look at Unfolding the Napkin in person!

 To see other books in our library, see our collection at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/prattcareer.

1 comment:

  1. This book is a must-have. With how they explained how to fix a problem in simpler way, life will be stress-free. I love how the illustrations were shown, simple pictures but understandable.