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The Art of Explanation: Making your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand Paperback – October 12, 2012
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From the Back Cover
Become an explanation specialist
You've done the hard work. Your product or service works beautifully—but something is missing. People just don't see the big idea, and it's keeping you from being successful. Your idea has an explanation problem.
The Art of Explanation is for businesspeople, educators, and influencers who want to improve their explanation skills and start solving explanation problems. These tools, tactics, and techniques will help you consistently inspire audiences to fall in love with your ideas, products, or services through better explanations in any medium. You will learn to:
- Plan: Learn explanation basics, what causes them to fail, and how to diagnose explanation problems
- Package: Using simple elements, create an explanation strategy that builds confidence and motivates your audience
- Present: Produce remarkable explanations with visuals and media
The Art of Explanation is your invitation to become an explanation specialist and see why explanation is now a fundamental skill for professionals.
About the Author
LEE LeFEVER is the Chief Explainer, illustrator, and voice of Common Craft, and is widely credited for inspiring the video explanation industry. Since 2007, the company has won numerous awards and has created explanations for the world's most respected brands, including Intel, Google, Dropbox, and Ford. Its online videos have been viewed more than 50 million times. Today, Common Craft's mission is to make the world a more understandable place to live and work by inspiring and equipping professionals to become explanation specialists.
Lee can be found in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and business partner, Sachi, and their dog, Bosco, a fine swimmer.
Top customer reviews
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This man gives endless examples of simple ideas. He also circles around every point for at least 3 pages. He spends one chapter solely on an example that, mind you, isn't imperative to understanding the rest of the book. It's just this a one-off example of a runner who benefited from improving his running technique. Apparently, this was a metaphor for the importance of improving our explanation skills. Why did this require an entire chapter? And he spends a significant portion explaining a simple idea (which is already overkill), and essentially re-explaining a few pages later the same idea. Paraphrasing :"It's import to plan because... Suzy didn't plan and this happened..." 3 or 4 pages later "Planning is a really important part of the process because ... John didn't plan and this happened..."
I have watched his videos about RSS and Twitter, which were very good and influenced me to get this book, but this book is a pain to read. There is so much fluff, that it is hard to tell when to skip and when to pay attention. I figure what he actually had to say probably encompasses 1/3 to 1/2 of this book, which would make it a booklet-- hmmm, that might be what this is all about.
Most of it comes down to knowing your audience, and you do that by simply asking your audience what they know about the topic before you start any explaining. Give them an overview of what you are going to explain, and break it down into small pieces that are explicit. Use analogies that are common to most people. Limit the jargon. If you have to include the jargon, then explain that too with analogies.
Nothing complicated in this book. Good, clear, simple ideas and examples. An excellent guide book for everyone.
In terms of criticism, parts of the book come off as a transparent commercial for the Common Craft video production company. In all fairness though, I watched several Common Craft videos recommended in the text -- the videos provided excellent real-life application examples of the concepts that LeFever presents.
One more item of criticism, parts of this book were copied from Dan Roam's Back of the Napkin. LeFever gives proper credit to Roam, but it irks me just a little to see content photo-copied from another book sold under a different title.
Even so, I recommend this book to anybody charged with explaining things to other people: teachers, researchers, speakers, trainers, sales professionals, and executives could all benefit from the explanatory structure contained in these pages.
But something urge me to go ahead and give it a read. After all, what can i lose right?
Good explanations is like "turning on a lightbulb" in your head when its completely overwhelm and confused. It makes you shout "WOW" silently in your head.
I think the author did a heck of a job in terms of writing a book about explaining. It requires him to "explain" what is explanation. That is a hell of a job.
KUDOS to the author. He nailed it.
At the end of the book, i was completely blown away. I came away knowing a lot hell more about the importance of good explanations.
Get this book if you are an Educator or Coach. Heck, It would apply regardless of any field you are in.
Get this book, if you want to know how to get across to your target audience.
Get this book if you want to know about making things easier to understand.
Or simply get this book if you want to see how you yourself gets blown away by how the author "explains" the art of explanation.
The only minor drawback I found was that some of the principles were repeated a bit too often - but that is also something you have to do if you really want people to get what you are saying.
I have this on my Kindle and I found I was saving all sorts of little passages for future reference or as reminders. Being able to explain something effectively, in a way that really connects with people, is a dying art - and a very valuable one. I recommend this book.