Dan Roam, author of two very successful books, The Back of the Napkin and Unfolding the Napkin, is, in my opinion, a brilliant man. In his latest book, Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don’t Work he talks about the big problem in today’s society: communication. Or should I say, miscommunication.
Our world is filled with technology, which wants us to communicate with one another on a regular basis — from Facebook to Twitter, and so on — we are encouraged to interact with others. Yet, most of the time, we completely misunderstand the point that is being made to us. The same applies to our own ideas. The whole problem originates from the fact that we are told, from an early age, that we need to use long, complicated words to sound smart. Let’s face it, we all do it. We over-complicate every single thing we say and end up losing track of the main point. And surrounding us are people who think the same thing and overcomplicate their own ideas! We are locked in a cycle of Blah Blah Blah.
Dan Roam, through his book, explains all of this to us and puts forward a simple solution: think in pictures and de-clutter our vocabulary. Through the clever use of anecdotes and little drawings, the author leads us to the promised land of vivid thinking.
Blah Blah Blah is divided in 13 chapters, throughout which we learn what Blah Blah Blah is and how to avoid it for good. As Roam explains in his book, to understand one another we need to have a clear image in our heads of the ideas that are being exchanged. We have lost our ability to link ideas to pictures, but getting back to this is the easiest way out of miscommunication.
I was very excited to get my hands on this book, and it has not disappointed! The more I read, the more I could relate to the issues highlighted. Being a college student, I can no longer point out the number of times I have come face to face with overly complicated theories, all of which are written using such complex words they lose their meaning. By being so caught up in this Blah Blah Blah, we end up taking all meaning out of sentences. This is a trap I would like to avoid falling into in the future. And with the help of Blah Blah Blah, I think it might just be possible. The method is simple, yet effective. And the images and stories used to illustrate the points do their jobs perfectly. And guided by Roam and his book, I am now finding myself visualising my ideas and refraining from sharing them unless I can picture them clearly in my head.
I can only recommend this book, as it is a real lifesaver in today’s world of miscommunication. Not only is a very useful tool, it is also well written and a very pleasant read. If you have ever felt confused by what a person is saying — whether it be your boss, colleague, or even the President — or have had a hard time communicating your ideas to others, then Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don’t Work is just the book for you. Soon enough, you will be on the path of vivid thinking — and miscommunication will be a thing of the past!