All posts for “Art of Explanation”
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
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
A couple of days ago I held The Art of Explanation, my first book, in my hands for the first time. What a feeling to finally see and feel it in its final form. Overall I'm quite pleased with the design and packaging of the final product. I wanted it to feel consumable, like something you could read on a cross-country flight. I wanted it to look inviting and interesting. I wanted it to be Common Crafty. See what you think... Here's the never-seen-before back cover. The all-important spine... Continue Reading
Sometimes, words are not enough. To grab an audience’s attention and make an explanation remarkable, explainers need ways to stand-out, to be interesting. Thankfully there are a growing number of resources that can help explainers turn their ideas into experiences that captivate audiences. I've listed a few below. (Note: I am not affiliated with the services below and receive no compensation from them). While you're thinking about these resources, consider this... These tools are helpful and... Continue Reading
Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention, in my view, was remarkable because of how he chose to explain ideas. Politics aside, it was an great example of explanation at work. Last night we saw more evidence, via an interview with Jon Stewart, that explanation was his specific intent. Here's the video. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart A few key quotes: "I was determined to get the facts right and to simplify the arguments without being simplistic, I didn't want to talk... Continue Reading
Seattle investor and “startup guy” Chris Devore recently wrote about four categories of effort that will help founders show that their startup is growing and healthy. There are four important categories of effort that every startup team needs to keep in mind. Too much -- or too little -- weight in any one of these areas can lead to disaster when it comes time to raise the next round: The first three categories are: Product Sales / Distribution Recruiting All important points, but it’s the... Continue Reading
Late last week I got a text message from my politically-conservative brother in North Carolina that said “Has there ever been a better political speaker than Bill Clinton?” Indeed, wherever you stand on the political spectrum, it’s difficult to deny the effectiveness of Bill Clinton as a speaker. E. J. Dionne published an opinion in the Washington Post where he said: Bill Clinton is typically described as the empathetic, feel-your-pain guy. But his greatest political skill may be as a... Continue Reading
I don't often look to bathrooms, much less camping toilets for great communication, but this is an exception. In many state-maintained campgrounds in Washington State (and elsewhere), there are "vaulted toilets" with no running water. Like an outhouse, everything ends up in underground pit that must be maintained. This presents a problem. Campers sometimes use the toilet as a trash can, which makes for a difficult situation for the people who need to remove the waste. Inside these toilets... Continue Reading
We now have a fully functional home for the book at artofexplanation.com. Did I mention that it's available for pre-order? You'll find the trailer for the book (01:07) on the front page of the new website. I've included it here too: We're really psyched to have these things in place. Thanks to Jay and Anastasia at Juxtaprose for the hard work on the new site.
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