The 10 1/2 Commandments of Visual Thinking

by Waikit Chung on June 16, 2009

The ability to solve business problems with pictures helps you to see and communicate complex issues and ideas more clearly and efficiently.

Dan Roam shares a ‘lost’ chapter from his book ‘The Back Of The Napkin: Solving Problems And Selling Ideas With Pictures‘.


Dan describes and visualizes the following guidelines on visual thinking in his ‘lost chapter’ :

1. Any problem can be solved with a picture.

2. Everyone starts by saying, “I can’t draw, but…”

3. Avoid drawing on the linen.

4. To start, draw a circle and give it a name.

5. Select the best picture type from the “Basic Six”
(Who/What, How Much, Where, When, How, Why).

6. Anthropomorphize everything.

7. Take advantage of every mental trigger you can.
(a.k.a. Use “pre-cognitive” attributes.)

8. Doodle aloud—and erase even louder.

9. Don’t draw what’s out there, draw what’s in here.
(a.k.a. The sky is blue, except when I think it isn’t.)

10. Draw a conclusion.

101/2. Don’t lie (not to yourself, not to your audience, and most of all not to your picture).

You can download the missing chapter in PDF format here.

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