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Book Review: Thing Explainer


Thing Explainer - The Mars Rover

I first ran across the folks from xkcd with their awesome video "How to Go To Space in Simple Words".  It aims to explain the complicated concept of space travel using only the "Ten Hundred Most Common Words" (apparently "thousand" isn't one of the most common words).  Not only did it crack me up but it actually does a great job of explaining it in a way that people can actually understand.

Now, the creator of that video, Randall Monroe, is back with his latest book "Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words." A follow-up to "What If?" (which my wife bought me for my birthday).  Thing Explainer uses the same formula by using the "Ten Hundred" most common words to explain subjects including the International Space Station, the Mars Rover, nuclear power plants and cell biology.  The book does a great job of making science accessible.  You don't need to know any complicated jargon to understand what the book is trying to explain (although if you do know the jargon, you will find that your brain gets wrapped around trying to fill in the blanks in the book which are occupied by common words; it's a weird conundrum). 

I actually stumbled upon Thing Explainer when it was featured on Bill Gates' list of Best Books of 2015 (quite an endorsement!) 

Check out Thing Explainer and learn science on your terms!


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