Management By Napkin

Last Updated Mar 18, 2008 2:28 AM EDT

Just out is Back of the Napkin, a book that looks at business problem-solving by using visual cues. My review copy is sitting here waiting for me to give it a look. My first impression is that "Back of the Napkin" is a little seat-of-the-pants (that's certainly true of the event that inspired the book), but reviews like this one on 800CEOread give it a thumbs-up for its argument that

visual thinking through the use of drawing is one of the most powerful tools for solving problems and selling ideas we have available to us. And selling ideas and problem-solving, I think we can all agree, are essential to business success.v

The book promises that even those of us who draw like a second grader can nonetheless use visual images to solve difficult business problems. We shall see. I am all for visual learning, but suspicious of books about the obvious (and who has not scribbled pictures on a napkin or used their own ability to make an x-y axis on a blackboard instead of using PowerPoint?).

In the meantime, The Principled Innovation blog has a podcast with Napkin author Dan Roam.

  • Michael Fitzgerald

    Michael Fitzgerald writes about innovation and other big ideas in business for publications like the New York Times, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc. and CIO. He’s worked as a writer or editor at Red Herring, ZDNet, TechTV and Computerworld, and has received numerous awards as a writer and editor. Most recently, his piece on the hacker collective the l0pht won the 2008 award for best trade piece from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He was also a 2007 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion.