Top 10 books on visual thinking

Unfolding the Napkin by Dan Roam - visual thinkingVisual thinking has become so popular today that it has spawned many excellent books from its most talented practitioners. These books are invaluable guides to this fascinating world of non-linear, bigger-picture thinking. They include many types of thinking with diagrams, mind maps, sketches and other forms of non-linear communication.

If you want to learn about leading visual thinking strategies and techniques, I recommend these 10 books:

  1. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam
  2. Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures by Dan Roam
  3. Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don’t Work by Dan Roam
  4. Visual Teams: Graphic Tools for Commitment, Innovation, and High Performance by David Sibbett
  5. Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity by David Sibbett
  6. Mind Maps for Business: Revolutionize Your Business Thinking and Practice by Tony Buzan
  7. Idea Mapping: How to Access Your Hidden Brain Power, Learn Faster, Remember More and Achieve Success in Business by Jamie Nast
  8. Thinking Visually: Business Applications of 14 Core Diagrams by Malcolm Craig
  9. Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo
  10. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte

Are some of your favorite visual thinking books missing from this list? Please tell us about them in the comments. Thanks!



  1. Jocelyn says

    Interesting list – I'm please to note that I own 9 of the 10 on your list, and have read most of them! So at least I think I'm on the right track in expanding my expertise on this fascinating topic.

  2. Steve Delahunty says

    Have also found these texts to be useful and also an application called Tableau. Visual Thinking for Design by Colin Ware, Visualizing Data by Ben Fry.

  3. says

    Dan Roam's books are classics! I'm only missing 2 from the list, so looking forward to reading those as well.

    Nathan Yau's book Visualize This is also a nice one, though more oriented towards data visualisation.

  4. says

    I own all of these! I also like Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder for its templates that allow one to 'see' the different parts of your business model and how they interrelate.

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