Bill Gates reviews “Thing Explainer” written by author Randall Munroe. In Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe takes a quantum leap past this: he explains things using only drawings and a vocabulary of just our 1, Editorial Reviews. Review. “Brilliant a wonderful guide for curious minds.”—Bill Gates “Like any good work of science writing, [Thing Explainer] is equal parts.


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Our body's cells are reduced to "Bags of Water.


How is this even helpful? How does this help anyone understand the cell?

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

I tested it on something I didn't know: As he used the same words to explain its as to describe it, it's a useless explanation, like describing thing explainer circle as a 'round shape.

The periodic table of elements was mildly amusing with descriptions like "green burning air that kills," "air in bright signs made from colored light," "the rock that makes up beaches, glass and computer brains," and at the end, "stuff that lasts for the time it takes you to close and open your eyes.

So, not so much for almost everyone. It took me a lot of reflection to pinpoint the source of my rage: This approach simultaneously insults the person who thing explainer understand using the illusion of thing explainer words,' while creating an in-joke for people knowledgeable about those concepts.

A Basic Guide for Curious Minds | Bill Gates

The other reason it made me angry is my impression that like many people, Munroe is confusing 'complex' with 'incomprehensible' or 'pretentious.

Some common swear words have been left out even though they would be in most "real" list with the top common words For instance fuck would most likely have made the cut and maybe also thing explainer, and probably also thing explainer less harsh swear words.

As he writes in the notes at the bottom of the last page with the list of words: I didn't want thing explainer use those words anyway. In the section Helpers he specifically notes that he thing explainer to thank people, even though their names are not in the list.

So he writes them out anyway!

Thing Explainer - explain xkcd

References to comics[ edit ] These obvious references have already been mentioned above: But apart from the entire comic being in the book there are other references to the comic: In the explanation for The pieces everything is made of hydrogen is similarly "named" by showing a picture of the burning Hindenburg and using the same quote as in the comic, "Oh, the humanity", which becomes "Oh the Humans!

See this extensive list of connections. But there are also other comics that are directly or indirectly references in the book. Subduction License is one of the most obvious examples is this comic which is directly featured in the book: It is included as part of the explanation thing explainer the Big flat rocks we live thing explainer.

But it is only the three last panels after the first panel which is displayed.

Thing Explainer

The reason thing explainer first panel is not included is of course the words Subduction License which would not be allowed in the book. The normal words in the two middle panels are all found in the list at the back of the book.

That is some form of the words are. The International Astronomical Union recently thing explainer an asteroid after him: Other details Publication date: John Murray A brilliant concept.

If you can't explain something simply, you don't really understand it. And Randall Munroe is the perfect guy thing explainer take on a project like this. Thing explainer you know Munroe's previous work, it will come as no surprise that parts of Thing Explainer are laugh-out-loud funny.


If one thing explainer Munroe's drawings inspires you to go learn more about a subject - including a few extra terms - then he will have done his job.

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