You may have heard of “back of the napkin” thinking where some people are talking at a diner. One pulls out a (hopefully paper) napkin and draws something to explain a point.

Supposedly according to myth, President Reagan’s economic policy known as the Laffer Curve or “Trickle Down Economics” was drawn on the back of a napkin and to this day explains the economic theory of some politicians.

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Drawing out thoughts helps us think through a problem. Maybe we won’t set government policy, but maybe we will understand something better or help our organization solve a problem or raise funds.

This book has been around for a while. I’ve heard the author interviewed on several podcasts. I’ve read a little in the past. I recommend this book. Written with wit and insight, it will help you think.

I also use a form of drawing when I take notes during presentations or interviews (like I’ll be doing this afternoon about an Internet of Things survey). I’ll jot down a thought and then use lines or circles to connect thoughts.

By the way, I use pen and a notebook. I love the Uniball Signo Micro 207 pen. It is inexpensive and writes first time, every time with a smooth line. Studies show people writing by hand have better retention than those taking notes on a computer. Plus, it’s hard to draw connecting lines on a computer.

I also recommend learning to use mind maps. Better than traditional outlining for organizing a longer paper.

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