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Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work Hardcover – November 1, 2011


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Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work + The Back of the Napkin (Expanded Edition): Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures + Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844594
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 8.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Visit www.danroam.com

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. www.napkinacademy.com

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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Customer Reviews

This may sound like something simple, and when you are talking about simple things maybe it is.
David W. Gray
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.
D. Dalal
In his last book, Back of the Napkin, Roam explained how pictures are a better way to solve problems creatively and communicate ideas.
bronx book nerd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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 37 people found the following review helpful By David W. Gray on November 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ho Kheong Tan on July 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.

6.
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