All posts for “Art of Explanation”

The Art of Explanation - Now in Korean

Posted by: leelefever on August 15, 2013- 1:41pm

Categories: Art of Explanation, book, international, korean, publishing, translations

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It's true! The Art of Explanation, has now been published in the Korean language.   It was been great working with the Korean publisher and the translator, Kyo, who is our #1 fan in Korea.  I asked Kyo to help me understand the title and he provided this: It is now available in Korean Bookstores and online. I'm impressed with the layout and design.  As an author, I have no control over these factors, but I was pleasantly surprised. So far we have translation deals in these languages, but we... Continue Reading
The Atlantic is one of my favorite magazines and one that has spawned a strong online presence.  Recently the organization added a new series of economic explainer videos.  Written and hosted by Derek Thompson, the first six videos will roll-out over the next two weeks. Below is the first one: Why is Bottled Water So Expensive? Overall, I think the video is well done.  It's short, under 3 minutes and focuses on understanding.  Like all good explainer videos, the writing is the strongest part... Continue Reading
A few weeks ago we spoke at Amplify Festival in Australia and one of the most memorable events of the conference was called “BrightSparks”, produced by the indomitable conference organizer Annalie Killian.  A few hundred people crowded into a bar to watch 18 PhD students pitch their ideas for 2.5 minutes each.  Sachi was one of five judges who helped award $5,000 to the winner.   Leading up to this event, we led workshops and spoke about the need for explanation and the goal to increase... Continue Reading

Wonderful Quote and Photos on Explanation

Posted by: leelefever on June 18, 2013- 4:43pm

Categories: art, Art of Explanation, Explanation, photography, quote

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Matthew Monteith is a New York-based artist who had an idea for a photo series that captures people explaining artworks to others. Part of his motivation, according to this article on Flavorwire, was a fascination with explanation itself.  What follows is my new favorite quote on the subject, by Monteith: I am fascinated with the art of explanation, the moment when one individual, using their own knowledge of an object, both conceptual and historical takes on the task of animating that story... Continue Reading
I’m sure you know a friend or relative who has strongly-held opinions about a subject and is convinced that their position is right. But when asked about specifics, it becomes clear that they lack a basic understanding of the working parts that back-up that position.   A recent article by Tania Lombrozo, PhD., a cognitive scientist at UC Berkeley, highlights what causes these extreme positions and what can be done to moderate them. Lombrozo’s article is based on a recent paper by psychologist... Continue Reading

Dropbox: A Case Study in Explanation

Posted by: leelefever on June 10, 2013- 11:01am

Categories: Art of Explanation, case study, dropbox, marketing, technology

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Dropbox, with 100+ million users, has become a case study in startup success. But before that success they had a big problem to overcome, one that seems to plague startups everywhere. How they solved it and what that has meant to their company provides a look at the future of business communication and how to engage and turn website visitors into customers.     A New Kind of Problem   Companies are problem-solving machines. Whole teams and departments exist to solve engineering problems, design... Continue Reading

What Explanation and Design Have in Common

Posted by: leelefever on May 23, 2013- 10:17am

Categories: Art of Explanation, design, empathy, Explanation, IDEO

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We hear a lot about design these days.  Apple products are probably the most popular examples.  The idea is that Apple became one of the most valuable companies in the world, in part, because they focus on the design of their products.   But what does that mean, really? What do organizations who focus on design do differently?   Recently the TV show 60 Minutes featured the design company IDEO, which was founded by David Kelley. At multiple points in the interview, Kelley mentions an idea that... Continue Reading

HuntingEnglish's Top Ten Explanation Tips

Posted by: leelefever on May 20, 2013- 11:54am

Categories: analogy, Art of Explanation, metaphor, stories, teaching

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English teacher Alex Quigley (@HuntingEnglish) recently shared his top ten explanation tips: A few gems: 1. ‘Know what the students know’ when planning your explanation: All great teachers have an excellent knowledge of their students. This knowledge is paramount in pitching the explanation just right. Vygotsky’s ‘zone of proximal development’ is key here – the explanation should be matched to the audience: not too complex as to be unintelligible to the students, but not too simple or... Continue Reading

Seth Godin on Learning by Analogy

Posted by: leelefever on May 20, 2013- 10:49am

Categories: analogy, Art of Explanation, business, marketing, sethgodin

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Marketing genius and author Seth Godin recently wrote about the use of analogy in educating others and frames an idea that's near and dear to my heart:   Marketing, like all forms of art, requires us to learn to see. To see what's working and to transplant it, change it and amplify it.   We don't teach this, but we should. We don't push people to practice the act of learning by analogy, because it's way easier to just give them a manual and help them avoid thinking for themselves.   The... Continue Reading

Want a Successful Revolution? Find an Explainer

Posted by: leelefever on May 17, 2013- 10:47am

Categories: Art of Explanation, book, explainer, quote, revolution

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Jason Kottke pointed me to a passage from the Kurt Vonnegut novel Bluebeard, where he outlines the three types of specialists that are needed for success in a revolution. Remarkably, one is an explainer.     Here’s the passage: Slazinger claims to have learned from history that most people cannot open their minds to new ideas unless a mind-opening teams with a peculiar membership goes to work on them.   Otherwise, life will go on exactly as before, no matter how painful, unrealistic, unjust,... Continue Reading

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