All posts for “Art of Explanation”

Art of Explanation

QR Codes in Books - Do They Work?

Posted by: leelefever on January 7, 2013- 10:01am

Categories: Art of Explanation, book, data, ebook, mobile, publishing, qr codes

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QR codes often get a bad rap these days. The ugly little boxes appear everywhere and to many, they seem to be a waste of time and space.  But the reality of QR codes is like any tool - the value is determined by how it’s used. When used effectively, QR codes bridge online and offline worlds by making it easier to use a mobile phone to visit a webpage, for example.  This three-minute video explains QR codes: Email readers can watch the video here.  QR Codes in Books - Why? My book The Art of... Continue Reading

Understand Music - An Experiment in Explanation

Posted by: leelefever on December 10, 2012- 10:59am

Categories: animation, Art of Explanation, Explanation, music, video

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Boing Boing pointed me to this beautiful animated video by a German studio called "finally".  From the description with the video: Music is a good thing. But what we did not know until we started with the research for this piece: Music is also a pretty damn complex thing. This experimental animation is about the attempt to understand all the parts and bits of it. Have a look. You might agree with our conclusion! Email or RSS readers can watch the video here.  I think this is a great example... Continue Reading
Dear Common Craft friends and fans, I’m writing to humbly ask for your help. The Art of Explanation, my new book, recently became fully available in bookstores and online. And now, it’s up to us to get the word out - and I’m hoping you can help.    First, I hope you’ll consider buying the book. It’s meant for everyone and especially professionals.  If you’ve already purchased and read it, please consider writing a quick review on Amazon or your website.    There a number of other ways you can... Continue Reading
Today we're announcing a new Common Craft website that is focused on one thing: sharing short, snarky and useful explanation tips. The site exists in two forms: Explain That Sh*t (Not-Safe-For-Work, Language) Explain That Idea (Work-Safe) Along with providing a way to learn about explanation, the sites are meant for sharing explanation tips.  You can click the Twitter icon on any tip and the site will copy that tip into a tweet for you. Here's the site on computers and phones: Backstory: A few... Continue Reading

What is an "Enhanced" eBook?

Posted by: leelefever on November 25, 2012- 2:01pm

Categories: Art of Explanation, book, ebook, Explanation, publishing

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I think we’re at the very beginning of a huge transformation that will change how we think about books. Thanks to new devices and publishing platforms, books are becoming more interactive and multimedia.  One form this is taking is the "enhanced" ebook.  To understand the enhanced versions, let’s start with normal ebooks.   “Normal” ebooks are essentially digital versions of regular books that are usually read on devices like the Kindle, iPad and Nook. For most of their history, ebooks have... Continue Reading

How to Explain YOUR JOB at Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted by: leelefever on November 18, 2012- 3:41pm

Categories: Art of Explanation, book, explainer tip, holiday, thanksgiving

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The story below is based on ideas from my book The Art of Explanation, now out in print and ebooks.  Perfect airplane reading!  You’ve been there before. You sit down to gorge yourself on turkey when the questioning starts.  Sitting across from you is Uncle Henry. He’s spry at 65, but is not so knowledgeable about technology.  He asks, “So tell me again what it is you do for a living?”  Your Mom hears the question and tunes in. “Yes, do tell!” she says, attracting the attention of everyone at... Continue Reading

Explaining Animated GIFs - Or Not

Posted by: leelefever on November 14, 2012- 10:12am

Categories: Art of Explanation, Explanation problem, GIFs, technology

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The word "GIF" is in the news recently thanks to being named the Oxford American Dictionary's word of the year.  Today I saw a video that's part of the PBS series Off Book, which explores the history and usage of the animated GIF.  The video is included below, but before we get to that, I want to point out an explanation problem.  At about 30 seconds into the video, Patrick Davidson of MemeFactory appears to answer the question "What is an animated GIF?"  Here's how he did that: An animated gif... Continue Reading
When people ask me who is doing the best explanatory work these days, I often point to public radio and podcasts.  The radio format, while not visual, can be incredibly engaging and effective in packaging complicated ideas into explanations.   One of our favorites is NPR’s Planet Money podcast which has the tagline “The Economy Explained”.  The podcast got started with an episode of This American Life in May of 2008 called the Giant Pool of Money. This hour-long show explained the mortgage... Continue Reading

Amazon, eBooks, Zombies and New Videos

Posted by: leelefever on October 16, 2012- 9:57am

Categories: Art of Explanation, ebook, news, zombies

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Here’s a quick update about the status of The Art of Explanation and some things we have planned over the next month.  The book is currently shipping from Amazon and making its way to other bookstores now. By October 23rd, it should be everywhere. If you have a copy, I’d love to hear your thoughts. You could be the first to write a review on Amazon!   Many of you have asked about eBooks. The Art of Explanation will be available as an eBook, and I expect it to be for sale by the end of the month... Continue Reading
A few weeks back I had coffee with Kalid Azad, who runs Better Explained, a blog and book that focuses on the use of intuition to understand “gnarly” subjects like math and programming. His tagline is “Learn right, not rote”. I love that.   Kalid made a point that day that stuck with me. Here it is from a blog post called “Developing Your Intuition for Math”. Our initial exposure to an idea shapes our intuition. And our intuition impacts how much we enjoy a subject. What do I mean?   Suppose... Continue Reading

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