Friday, November 27, 2015

Thing Explainer - the joy of simplicity

Back in September 2013 I blogged about Funneling your big ideas through a small vocabulary. That post began from one of Randall Munroe’s xkcd cartoons called Up Goer 5. It explained the Saturn 5 moon rocket using a line drawing that had captions limited to a vocabulary of just a thousand words. Funneling ideas through a limited vocabulary is an excellent antidote for our usual wallowing in jargon.   

On November 24th Randall’s book Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words appeared at He again uses line drawings and a thousand-word vocabulary to describe things like the International Space Station (Shared Space House), Cells (Tiny Bags of Water You’re Made Of), the Mars Rover (Red World Space Car), and organs in the human body (Bags of Stuff Inside You).

Go to, and click to zoom the Look Inside  feature for a preview. You’ll probably enjoy reading his explanations.   

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