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Thing Explainer Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

Thing Explainer Complicated Stuff in Simple Words

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Remarkably clear, simple, occasionally funny explanations and diagrams about 55 complicated things. With fabulous blueprints, some fold out pages, smart little funnies and fascinating information, this is suitable for children and adults, in fact I can see the whole family together, studying and talking about this book for hours. Randall Munroe has only used the thousand most common words to write ’Thing Explainer', the thousand words sit at the back with his explanation as to why he chose them, just before a wonderfully large fold out diagram of a skyscraper. My personal favourites were the car engine and battery pages. I giggled, I was enthralled, and I learnt things without my brain being left in a confused bewildered knot, perfect! In other words, this jargon-busting, no-nonsense book is really rather clever indeed. ~ Liz Robinson

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Thing Explainer Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

Richard Feynman once said that if you can't explain something to a first-year student, you don't really get it. In Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe takes a quantum leap past this: he explains things using only drawings and a vocabulary of just our 1,000 (or the ten hundred) most common words. Many of the things we use every day - like our food-heating radio boxes ('microwaves'), our very tall roads ('bridges'), and our computer rooms ('datacentres') - are strange to us. So are the other worlds around our sun (the solar system), the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), and even the stuff inside us (cells). Where do these things come from? How do they work? What do they look like if you open them up? And what would happen if we 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 many, 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.



With this book and with XKCD, you're a kid with a chemistry set all over again. [Randall Munroe's] enthusiasm for all things scientific is infectious ... required reading for grown-ups, it's just fun to remember that science is really, really cool REGISTER

'Smart answers to silly questions: Randall Munroe reveals all' GUARDIAN

'Delightful ... you don't have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy it' ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

'The best bathroom book you'll ever buy' NEWSWEEK


'What If? includes old favorites, new inquiries and the mix of expert research and accessible wit that has made Munroe a favorite among both geeks and laymen' TIME

'Munroe's brilliant What-If? column-which features scientifically rigorous, utterly absurd answers to ridiculous hypotheticals-has been on the bestseller lists since it was announced in March. Today, it hits shelves and: It. Is. A. Triumph' BOINGBOING

'What makes Munroe's work so fantastic is a combination of two elements: his commitment to trying to answer even the weirdest question with solid science, and his undeniable sense of humour. So, here's a What If? from me: If everyone on the planet simultaneously bought a copy of this book, stopped what they were doing and read it cover to cover, would modern civilization and our global economy collapse? It's worth trying the experiment' HUFFINGTON POST

About the Author

Randall Munroe is the creator of the webcomic xkcd and author of xkcd: Volume 0. Randall was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, and grew up outside Richmond, Virginia. After studying physics at Christopher Newport University, he got a job building robots at NASA Langley Research Center. In 2006 he left NASA to draw comics on the internet full time, and has since been nominated for a Hugo Award three times. The International Astronomical Union recently named an asteroid after him: asteroid 4942 Munroe is big enough to cause mass extinction if it ever hits a planet like Earth.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th January 2016


Randall Munroe

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John Murray Publishers Ltd an imprint of John Murray General Publishing Division


64 pages


The Real World
Books of the Month
Popular Science

Technology: general issues
Popular science



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