My new book is coming Nov. 1, 2011. It's got an epic cast of characters from business, science, politics, music, technology, books, and comedy. (See the full cast list here.)
Let me give you the quick, strictly no blah-blah-blah summary:
Ever been to so many meetings that you couldn’t get your work done? Ever fallen asleep during a bullet-point presentation? Ever watched the news and ended up knowing less? Welcome to the land of
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 my first book, The Back of the Napkin, I showed readers how to solve problems and sell ideas by drawing simple pictures. Now I prove 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: We never have to look at blah-blah-blah the same way.
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, I show that anyone can apply the systematic “Vivid” approach, from left-brained 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.
There are two kinds of documentary films: those that show us something new, and those that show us new ways of looking at the old.
Ron Galloway creates films of the second type. Ron makes films that explore the more mundane realities of of modern life, like Wal-Mart, health care, and PowerPoint; things that are so familiar that we tend not to see them at all.
But we should. 1) Wal-Mart is big beyond comprehension. 2) Health care is (still) a mess. 3) Every single week TWO MILLION PowerPoints are presented.
I'm not sure which of those three is scarier, but I'm leaning towards the two million.
So is Ron. He recently asked me to appear in his newest film on that subject. Rethinking PowerPoint is a feature-length documentary exploring how to use the world's most pervasive business communications tool... better.
Here in black & white is an excerpt from my portion where I talk about:
Last week at SXSW in Austin I had the chance to debut my new book concepts. SXSW had been nice enough to invite me back for a third time in a row, so I thought I'd share all new material. (I know the comparison is a stretch, but I felt like a comedian testing out new jokes with a friendly audience.)
I called my talk "Blah Blah Blah: What to do When Words Don't Work" and I was really happy with the response: the audience Twittered like mad and it was all good as far as I could see.
Teehan+Lax shot this great clip of my concluding 5 minutes: my whirlwind tour through the entire 32,000 year history of humans and pictures. Check it out:
A couple weeks ago I met with potential clients at an investment bank in New York. President Obama had just announced that he was going to levy a $120 billion fee on Wall Street Banks to recoup money lost in the initial $700 billion TARP bailout.
The bankers were understandably upset. After all, they'd already paid back their share of TARP, but now they were being told they'd have to pay back money that had been paid to OTHER organizations. Huh? I'll admit that angry as I was about the crazy Wall Street bonuses I was hearing about, that still didn't make a lot of sense.
I mean, I get that we taxpayers bailed out the banks, but the banks paid back everything they'd been loaned, plus interest. So why the lingering anger from DC?
Then I drew the pictures and (as always) when we stop talking and start looking, things have a tendency to become real clear real fast. See the full story in this clip I just recorded for BNET / CBS Interactive...
Anybody wondering about my sources? Read the Wall Street Journal, January 13 & 15, 2010.
My March 4-5 "Back of the Napkin" Training Conference in San Francisco has sold out. Thank you everyone who signed up; I'm looking forward to meeting you all in a couple weeks.
If you missed this conference, I will be holding similar two-day conferences in June in San Francisco and September in New York. Please register here if you'd like to receive early announcements on dates and registration.
Over the past two years, I've had the opportunity to share live my "back of the napkin" visual thinking approach with somewhere around 10,000 people in 20 states. (That's not including dozens of webinars reaching a dozen countries.)
Now for the first time, I'm offering my full two-day training conference to the public. This is the full version of the same workshop I've delivered to Microsoft, eBay, Boeing, Gap, Kraft, Frito-Lay, Cisco, the US Navy, and the United States Senate.
To make sure that everyone attending is guaranteed meaningful individual attention and effective team exercises, I'm limiting attendance to this first session to 40 people. 30 seats filled up in the last two weeks, so 10 openings remain.
For more details on what we'll be covering, who should attend, and what materials I provide (copies of both my new books, a personal whiteboard, etc.), please check out this overview I posted on Slideshare.
If you enjoyed drawing on The Back of the Napkin, I think you'll really enjoy Unfolding it. It's not just the sequel, it's a remarkably different reading, seeing, and drawing experience; a complete do-it-yourself 4-day visual thinking seminar in a book.
With your help, we can make it another bestseller -- and another rallying cry to solving problems with pictures!
Unfolding the Napkin is now available at all brick-and-mortar bookstores and online here:
Delta airlines flight attendant Jewel Van Valin found a unique way to help passengers relax on long flights following the bleak days of 9-11. She gave them crayons and asked them to draw.
She found that the mood of passengers changed dramatically when they put crayon to paper. She's kept the drawing in flight tradition going ever since and now has 3,000 sketches created by her passengers. The Palm Springs Air Museum now has a show of Jewel's passengers' visual thinking.
Photographer Ricky Mia has taken excellent photos of Jewel and her passengers at work. He also links to this brief video documentary about Jewel.
The lesson for me? I spend most of my time showing businesspeople (who KNOW they can't draw) that creating simple pictures is an incredibly powerful way to discover ideas. Jewel's approach demonstrates one of the most important hidden aspects of this approach: when people think with a pen in hand, they relax. And when people relax they are able to think more openly than when stressed.
See those smiling passengers -- many of whom would rather be anyplace other than on an airplane? Now imagine what happens when you have a conference room full of smiling managers. Ideas flow. Decisions get made. Pictures work.