The Doodle Revolution: A book review by Bob Morris

Doodle RevolutionThe Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently
Sunni Brown
Portfolio/Penguin Group (2014)

How to make spontaneous marks (with your mind and body) to help yourself think with greater precision and clarity

In this entertaining as well as informative volume, Sunni Brown explains why doodling should be viewed as “one of the most powerful, practical and pleasurable tools available to empower members of the business, creative, and knowledge communities.” Better yet, she explains how almost anyone can — and should – master the skills needed to “unlock the power to think differently.”

Any initiative whose objective is personal growth and/or professional development is a journey of discovery, an on-going process. This is what Brown has in mind when suggesting that her book offers “a journey to visual literacy, and you may choose your entry point using the arc below [on Page xiv]. It’s important to note that this journey isn’t concerned with whether you’re smitten with doodling or vehemently opposed. Either way, the path will offer you something of value.”

I commend Brown on her skillful use of various reader-friendly devices that include dozens of “Doodle Moments” (notes recorded as key points), “Doodle Zones” (for mental wandering), “Doodle Spaces,” “Doodle Games,” and self-diagnostic assessments. These devices help to achieve two separate but related goals: facilitate, indeed expedite reader interaction with material and reflection on its relevance, and allow the reader to create with guidance and rigor a “book within a book.” If Brown had not included these devices, I would have strongly recommended a companion journal within which to document essential details of the reader’s intellectual journey, accompanied by illustrations.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Brown’s coverage.

o Three Doodlers: Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Nikola Tesla (Pages 13-15)
o The 3Ps [Power, Performance, and Pleasure] from the Doodle (17)
o Immersive Learning: Learning through Multiple Modes (21-25)
o The Basic Doodle Assessment (44-45)
o Observations of Stick Figures (53-57)
o Three Lies: A Destructive Force on Earth (71-72)
o Troublesome beliefs (73-77)
o Enter the Infodoodle: 12 Devices That Form the Basis of Revolutionary Visual Displays (83-100)
o Infodoodling: The Art of Subtraction (101-106)
o 14 Tips for Doodling Auditory Content in Real Time (115-119)
o The Pragmatist’s Razor (120-121)
o Infodoodling: Structuring Information (124-127)
o Group Infodoodling: Transforming the Way People Work (147-151)
o How This Chapter Works: Overview (152)
o A Visual Explanation of the Mind Map (154-158)
o Visual Storytelling How-To (171-173)
o Group Infodoodle #4: Heuristic Ideation Technique/HIT (180-185)
o Feed-Forward Meeting (200-206) based on Nancy Duarte’s framework
o Taking It Back to Work (217-220)

I realize that no brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that Sunni Brown provides. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of her book. Those who share my admiration for this brilliant achievement are urged to check out an earlier book, Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers, co-authored with Dave Gray and James Macanufo. I also highly recommend three books by Dan Roam: The Back of the Napkin, Unfolding the Napkin, and Blah Blah Blah.

Join the Doodle Revolution. The world urgently needs more people who not only think differently but also think faster and deeper with high definition clarity, generating ideas that have much greater impact.

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