Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe • popular science • how things work

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words - book cover - how things work

Thing Explainer is a book about how things work but only using the most common words in the English language. Randall Munroe, the author of the book,  intentionally use simplified words to give equivalents or to explain, which is here and there a bit confusing. The idea is that if you truly understand something you can break it down into simple words enough for anyone to understand.

Thing explainer is also written with a sarcastic sense of humour and it includes some lighter comics, as well as,  witty asides along with the more in-depth diagrams and explanations clearly and funny labelled.

So if you’re interested in how things work this book basically has lots of diagrams with lots of description of how it works. If you struggled to understand each and every element on the Periodic Table or if you tried and failed to explain how a computer works to your children or grandparents than grab this book. Thing Explainer is a kind of encyclopedia for kids, full of hand-made pictures, arrows, and descriptions. I really liked the layout and a bit childish style of everything in the book.

You could definitely use any of the pages of the book as a sort of starting point for a bigger exploration of any concept. Then, you can look through and see if you’d like to go further on or maybe let your children pick out what they’re interested in.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that many pictures are gigantic and cover both pages, the book is inconvenient to read on a Kindle or other handy electronic device. The sections which I admired the most were about a nuclear plant, a jet engine and a thousand English words used the most. Very informative and entertaining. I think the book might be a great present for people who are interested in science (especially engineering).

Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
by Randall Munro

Final rating:

Interesting story
Complexity of ideas
Flourish language

Book details:

Size: 64 pages
Published: 2015


Other information and reviews of this book on Goodreads:

Other useful links:
Randall Munroe on Wikipedia:
Another great book written by Munroe “What if?”:

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