on January 9, 2014
Sunni Brown is leading a revolution that embraces doodling as one of the best enablers of productive thinking.
This book was a must for me. I used to love doodling but somehow those doodles stopped, or got ugly. Did I fall into the trap of taking my life and my self too seriously? After looking into the book description I connected with the term "visual literacy" because of two friends that are teaching that in Boone, NC although I never quite understood how that was academic enough for graduate study. Oh, was I so wrong. With our world being as loaded with images as it is, it's incredibly fascinating and useful to understand how we subconsciously understand and process this information. If harnessed, it's incredibly useful to doodle to process dense information because it encourages the mind to discover different angles and hidden connections.
Other points that I find fascinating are:
- When doodling, you tap into *all four* learning modalities at the same time (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile)
- By looking at the evolution of children's drawing worldwide, she argues that doodling is native to our species
- Her new definition of the doodle is "to make spontaneous marks to help yourself think."
Sunni Brown does an excellent job at promoting respect for the doodle, in both her TED talk and this wonderful book. I highly recommend learning more about this! I think other people who are looking for ways to use doodling in the workplace would like learning about the Synectics method for brainstorming with groups, which is described well in The Practice of Creativity: A Manual for Dynamic Group Problem-Solving.
on January 9, 2014
Empirical evidence suggests that humans are born with the native capacity to think visually. Indeed, the configuration of a human face - the position of eyes and mouth are hard wired in the human brain. Yet once we are schooled, most of us become language-centric in our thoughts and communication, leaving our visual intelligence to be stimulated by entertainment media. Sunni Brown's new book, "The Doodle Revolution", is a welcome wake-up call to reengage these innate visual skills toward immediately practicable communication skills and a richer cognitive existence.
Having fruitfully employed Sunni's "gamestorming" techniques to facilitate ideation in various workshops, I eagerly anticipated "The Doodle Revolution". I hoped it would extend my group facilitation repertoire with visual communication skills. It has turned out to be much more than that.
The first thing I noticed was an exuberant tone and dynamic style that kept me engaged. The next thing I noticed is that the book is filled with, well, doodles! Sunni practices what she preaches and employs her own methods as a communication device in the book, which effectively reinforces the methodology.
In addition to myriad doodles, there are activities and games throughout the book that guide the reader through a developmental process of visual literacy that is quite enjoyable. I also found that although the book follows a logical progression, it is possible to use the early concepts right away, so I could advance at my own pace and still get immediate utility from it. In fact, being able to use the basic concepts right away seems to help build the scaffolding for the more advanced techniques that follow.
One aspect of the book I particularly appreciate is that concepts are conveyed in digestible "nuggets", and while there is certainly an ordering to the book, I enjoyed jumping around and found it easy enough to get pulled into a new section without feeling lost; though it often compelled me to jump back to previous sections to understand related concepts. Tip: If you want to know how "doodling" is defined, turn to page 11 in the book.
Finally, I found that doodling helps improve thinking. The doodle philosophy recognizes that humans have limited information processing capacities and must be selective. Capturing concepts in "infodoodles" helps practice the art of selecting only the most relevant information, which trains us to be more efficient and effective thinkers, even when we aren't doodling. So, while I found the "group infodoodle" to be a compelling device for facilitating and capturing group ideation, there is much more than that to be gained from this book by aspiring visual literates.
In a nutshell, if found this book to be fun, practical, clear, useful, and thought-provoking. Sunni Brown took a deep dive into visual literacy and emerged with an epiphany, which she has shared with the world through this book. If you are receptive, it may change the way you think.
on January 9, 2014
Having myself written a couple books about visual thinking, I am 100% confident saying this: "If you are remotely visual (you are) or want to be (you do), then you simply must read this book."
It is fun to read, full of wonderful pictures, contains visualization models I desperately wish I'd through of (and fully plan to steal), and above all, has real heart.
on March 14, 2014
It is okay...that's it. Too much chatter for a visual format. I expected more clever examples of the skill.
It remains a "lecture" for the auditory rather than a treat for the visual learning style.
on October 29, 2014
The presentation of the book clearly shows that Brown knows how to organize information in an entertaining, friendly way. She uses a lot of "infographics" so that the reader wouldn't have to trudge along reading huge blocks of texts and the doodle examples in her book are simple enough to encourage one that he/she can doodle herself.
The first part of the book is about the importance of doodling and its communicative power in the workplace or any creative venture. The second half is basically a crash course in drawing, going over tools such as shapes, lines, shading, etc. I didn't really need the latter half because I've been drawing and illustrating for a while, but I did like the rationale for a visual basis of communication in the beginning of the book. I'd recommend this book to people who generally don't draw or think that drawing can be productive in any manner.
on January 27, 2014
Once, in a business meeting, the boss called out a colleague for doodling "when he should have been listening." As a doodler myself, I knew my colleague WAS listening, probably more intently than anyone else in the room but the boss was too stupid to know that. I always knew I was right and this book confirms my hunch about doodling. First thing I did after this book was to go out an get a giant sketch book and now all day long I doodle contently as I speak with clients and potential clients on the phone.
I developed a love-hate relationship with this book. Love because there is a lot of good information here on the value of visual communication as well as very useful techniques to achieve this. For example, the 12 devices of visual display, which lists 12 basic ways of communicating visually, like fonts and word pictures, to name two, and the Diagram Legend, which shows three ways to present organized visual information - systems, process and comparisons - are invaluable. Some of the other techniques and ideas are not original and are really part of what I consider other management disciplines, like project planning, for example. The problems in the writing are twofold: 1) Brown goes excessively overboard in promoting her techniques as a "revolution". In doing so, she goes so far as to call music a "doodle", in other words, ironically, just about anything that is not in words can be counted a doodle. I suppose passing gas can qualify; 2) The other problem is the tone of her writing. In her effort to make this a light and enthusiastic read, she writes sometimes in an almost infantile manner, using words and terms like "capische", "eye candy", "awesome", "freaked", "gazillion", etc. Sometimes it felt like listening to a gossip session of a gaggle of high school girls - gag me with a spoon. This talking down to the reader was very frustrating (and ironic) as was the format of this book that seeks to teach how to transfer information visually and easily. This category of visualization education books, like Dan Roam's "Blah, Blah, Blah" and Lee LeFever's the Art of Explanation, are in a larger page format, making the text harder to read as it is extended over a much wider page. Had Brown cut out the cutesy writing I think her book would have been easier to read and therefore achieved its goal consistent with the techniques it teaches.
on January 9, 2014
Sunni Brown's writing is fun, irreverent but ultimately to the point.
I find it refreshing to see Sunni carefully articulate how doodling can help you think more clearly and solve problems by embracing visual thinking. I loved The Doodle Revolution and would encourage anyone doing creative work to grab a copy ASAP.
on July 23, 2014
I was going to buy this book and meanwhile saw it at my library. It's awfully text-heavy for a book about "doodling," it's as if she was paid by the word: 200+ pages that should have been condensed into about 60. Her ideas are OK but a much better, clearer, more concise, and more enthusiastically illustrated book on the subject is "Thinking With A Pencil," by Henning Nelms -- http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Pencil-Henning-Nelms/dp/0898150523/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406163026&sr=1-1&keywords=thinking+with+a+pencil+nelms&dpPl=1
The Nelms book is a classic, and yes, it's a bit different, but to my experience far more useful -- as a learning aid, as a reference tool, and as an enjoyable read. "The Doodle Revolution" is "meh" at best.
on January 9, 2014
[Disclosure: Sunni is an old friend and one of my illustrations appears in the book, so yes, I am biased.].
Sunni did a superb job of showing us why thinking visually is not just the domain of artists and designers, but of anyone who wants to succeed in business. *You can't do it unless you can see it first.*
This is an amazing labor of love that came out of her famous TED talk. Well done, Sunni, you hit the ball out of the park.