Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Nov 24, 2015 - Science - 64 pages
8 Reviews
Have you ever tried to learn more about some incredible thing, only to be frustrated by incomprehensible jargon?  Randall Munroe is here to help.  In Thing Explainer, he uses line drawings and only the thousand (or, rather, “ten hundred”) most common words to provide simple explanations for some of the most interesting stuff there is, including:

  • food-heating radio boxes (microwaves)
  • tall roads (bridges)
  • computer buildings (datacenters)
  • the shared space house (the International Space Station)
  • the other worlds around the sun (the solar system)
  • the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates)
  • the pieces everything is made of (the periodic table)
  • planes with turning wings (helicopters)
  • boxes that make clothes smell better (washers and dryers)
  • the bags of stuff inside you (cells)

How do these things work? Where do they come from? What would life be like without them? And what would happen if we opened them up, heated them up, cooled them down, pointed them in a different direction, or pressed this button? In Thing Explainer, Munroe gives us the answers to these questions and so many more. Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone—age 5 to 105—who has ever wondered how things work, and why.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Pferdina - LibraryThing

Fun drawings of everyday objects and other types of things, with xkcd-style explanations written using the "ten hundred" most common English words. No, you're not going to learn a lot of new stuff, but the explanations are humorous. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - m_k_m - LibraryThing

I didn't devour this like I did What If? – in fact if the date started on Goodreads is anything to go by, it took me just over a year to read. But I've enjoyed dipping in and out of this over the last ... Read full review

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About the author (2015)

Randall Munroe is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller What If?, the science question-and-answer blog What If, and the popular webcomic xkcd.  A former NASA roboticist, he left the agency in 2006 to draw comics on the Internet full-time, supporting himself through the sale of xkcd t-shirts, prints, posters, and books. He likes candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach. Very long walks. Lots of people say they like long walks on the beach, but then they get out on the beach and after just an hour or two, they say they’re getting tired. Bring a tent. He lives in Massachusetts.


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