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Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work [Kindle Edition]

Dan Roam
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $29.95
Kindle Price: $14.39
You Save: $15.56 (52%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Ever been to so many meetings that you couldn't get your work done? Ever fallen asleep during a bulletpoint presentation? Ever watched the news and ended up knowing less? Welcome to the land of Blah Blah Blah.

The Problem: We talk so much that we don't think very well. Powerful as words are, we fool ourselves when we think our words alone can detect, describe, and defuse the multifaceted problems of today. They can't-and that's bad, because words have become our default thinking tool.

The Solution: This book offers a way out of blah-blah-blah. It's called "Vivid Thinking."

In Dan Roam's first acclaimed book, The Back of the Napkin, he taught readers how to solve problems and sell ideas by drawing simple pictures. Now he proves that Vivid Thinking is even more powerful. This technique combines our verbal and visual minds so that we can think and learn more quickly, teach and inspire our colleagues, and enjoy and share ideas in a whole new way.

The Destination: No more blah-blah-blah. Through Vivid Thinking, we can make the most complicated subjects suddenly crystal clear. Whether trying to understand a Harvard Business School class, or what went down in the Conan versus Leno battle for late-night TV, or what Einstein thought about relativity, Vivid Thinking provides a way to clarify anything.

Through dozens of guided examples, Roam proves that anyone can apply this systematic approach, from leftbrain types who hate to draw to right-brainers who hate to write. This isn't just a book about improving communications, presentations, and ideation; it's about removing the blah-blah- blah from your life for good.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dan Roam is the author of The Back of the Napkin, which was Fast Company's Best Business Book of the Year and BusinessWeek's Innovation and Design Book of the Year. His consulting clients have included Microsoft, Google, Wal-Mart, Boeing, Lucasfilm, The Gap, the U.S. Navy, and the White House Office of Communications. His health-care analysis was named BusinessWeek's Best Presentation of 2009. He lives in San Francisco.


Product Details

  • File Size: 17691 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,698 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Those who have already read one or both of Dan Roam's previous books, The Back of the Napkin and Unfolding the Napkin, will be pleased to know that in his latest book, he develops some of his most valuable insights in much greater depth but also expands the scope of his analysis to include new issues and new challenges as well as new opportunities to communicate more effectively. Of even greater significance, at least to me, he explains with exceptional precision and clarity the interdependence of verbal and visual literacy.

In the first "Napkin" book, Roam suggests to his reader that one of the best ways to answer a question, solve a problem, persuade others, or to achieve another goal is to express its essence. What the French characterize as a precís. For example, formulate it as a simple drawing. You may claim that you have no skills for drawing. That's good news. Why? Roam asserts that less-sophisticated drawings have greater impact because those who see them can more easily identify with stick figures, for example, and focus more readily on the relationships suggested, such as between and among options to be considered, implications and consequences, and cause-and-effect relationships. Simple drawings accelerate both inductive and deductive reasoning.

Then in the second "Napkin" book, he reiterates three key points:

1. There is no more powerful way to discover a new idea than to draw a simple picture.
2. There is no faster way to develop and test an idea than to draw a simple picture.
3. There is no more effective way to share an idea with other people than to draw a simple picture.

In both "Napkin" books, Roam explains how to achieve these objectives by (you guessed it) drawing a series of simple pictures.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking it to the next level November 1, 2011
I have been a fan of Dan Roam's work since I first saw his blog sometime in 2006. Dan has a fantastic way of simplifying things that seem difficult, or even impossible, to the point where they are easy to understand and achieve. In his first book, The Back of the Napkin, he demonstrated in a step-by-step fashion how anyone can use pictures to improve their thinking, solve problems and sell their ideas. In this book he takes it to the next level. He shows you how to not be boring. This may sound like something simple, and when you are talking about simple things maybe it is. But what about when you want to explain something that's complex or potentially confusing? If this is your challenge this book will be especially helpful.

Using a framework he calls Vivid thinking, he shows readers how to both explain and engage people around your ideas, whether they be simple or complex, subtle or sophisticated. The subtitle of the book "what to do when words won't work" belies a subtler truth: neither words nor pictures, by themselves, are enough. It's only by putting them together that we can fully engage audiences, make ourselves understood, and achieve our objectives in life.

Dan also practices what he preaches. The book is absolutely engaging from start to finish, with a cast of characters, pictures, stories and tools that all work together to deliver fresh thinking and real help for anyone who truly wants to improve their communication skills and get their ideas across in such a way that they have real impact in the world.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Limited Practicality! July 6, 2012
Dan Roam presented a great concept using Vivid (Visual + verbal+interdependent) framework and was brought the readers through the framework using two fable characters - a cunning fox and a big picture hummingbird.

After an intriguing introduction, Dan became draggy and the reading became a bore.

Vivid grammar:
A. When I hear a noun, draw a picture.

B. When you hear an adjective of quantity, draw a chart.

C. When you hear a preposition, draw a map.

D. When you hear tense, draw a timeline.

E. When you hear a complex verb, draw a flowchart.

F. When you hear a complex sentence, draw a multivariable plot.

Dan Roam quoted 4 speeches to illustrate the importance of using Vivid framework. I followed his illustration at the outset and agreed wholeheartedly, but were lost with his conclusion that these were well presented in his concluding chapter.

Stellar points:

1. Always lay out a comprehensive, realistic, sustainable, and scalable vision for the bulk of the company.

2. Always made our idea as clear, visceral, and memorable as we can.

3. Know who is coming. Know your audience - use the Vivid LENS (leader v doer, expert v newbie, numeric v emotional, and sympathetic and antagonistic) to decide the details to disclose.

4. There is no faster way to disarm a potentially difficult audience than to show we are aware f their concerns - and the best way to show that is to create the picture that vividly illustrate those concerns. And if our idea really is good and really is vivid, that should be enough to get them on our side.

5. A Vivid idea has everything it needs to go viral: It's simple. It's clear. It's compact.

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Turning words into pictures to make your point - interesting perspective on communicating more effectively.
Published 25 days ago by Robert Horn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good and worth the price!
Published 2 months ago by WENESSO TENGANDE
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting concept but...
got a little boring towards the middle but his main point, using visuals instead of or along with words,
definitely works. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Kathi Lachenauer
3.0 out of 5 stars I was expecting less Blah
I agree with the author about the importance of the images in the presentation of ideas, and a book about it. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dr. Jose Cruz
5.0 out of 5 stars How to visualize words
We tend to use to much words, blah blah.
Dan Roam takes you on a step by step way to choose and to visualize your words. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Pauline le Rutte
3.0 out of 5 stars Is Blah reduced?
If Roam has any evidence of his work being incorporated in an organization which has led to greater success in execution, he should make it a part of the book. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Gary Mullennix
4.0 out of 5 stars A good follow-up to Back of the Napkin book...
I started reading this book right after I finished reading Roam's Back of the Napkin book on using graphics to express your thoughts and ideas. Read more
Published 12 months ago by D. Dalal
5.0 out of 5 stars a great tools to express, share and present ideas.
It is written in a simple way. Giving you great tools for everyday presentations and meetings. Simple, well though, straightforward and clear.
Published 13 months ago by Pablo Ganga
2.0 out of 5 stars Simplistic Snake Oil for Lazy Thinkers
Simplistic practice/exercise/modeling for lazy thinkers. Presents minor stimulation, though structurally rather constrictive (e.g. dualism). Read more
Published 13 months ago by Christian Mulherin
3.0 out of 5 stars good concepts, difficult to implement
Like in Mr. Roam's previous Napkin books, the concepts are excellent, and their presentation very provoking, making one want to use his methods. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Paulo Apsan
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More About the Author

Dan Roam is the author of the international bestsellers "The Back of the Napkin" (Fast Company's Innovation Book of the Year, The London Time's Creativity Book of the Year, and Amazon's Top 5 business book of 2008) and "Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work."

Dan is the founder of The Napkin Academy, the world's first online visual-thinking training program.

Dan has helped leaders at Microsoft, Boeing, eBay, Kraft, Gap, IBM, the US Navy, the United States Senate, and the White House solve complex problems with simple pictures.

Dan and his whiteboard have appeared on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NPR.

Dan's "American Health Care on the Back of a Napkin" was voted by Business Week as the world's best presentation of 2009.


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