Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words

Author(s): Randall Munroe

Cult Fiction

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.

Product Information

PRAISE FOR XKCD AND WHAT IF? . 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 Brilliant ROLLING STONE 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 For the record, I'm loving XKCD's What If -- 'Dear Abby for mad scientists' NEIL GAIMAN XKCD is nerd royalty, the alpha dork, there's no geek more widely cited and loved BEN GOLDACRE, author of BAD SCIENCE It's totally brilliant and everyone who matters already knows that! TIM HARFORD, THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST A great deal of fun, and a masterclass in reasoning. Like all the best lessons, you only realise you've learnt something once you've finished it THE ECONOMIST Funny and fascinating GRAEME LE SAUX It will satisfy the curious and arouse curiosity in anyone who's not - and it's got great jokes IRISH TIMES

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.

General Fields

  • : 9781473620919
  • : John Murray Press
  • : John Murray Publishers Ltd
  • : September 2015
  • : 330mm X 229mm
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Randall Munroe
  • : Hardback
  • : Illustrated edition
  • : English
  • : 64