Backstory

This book has been years in the making. Back in 2007, my company, Common Craft started making short animated videos with the goal of explaining technology. We (my wife and business partner Sachi) used paper cut-outs and a white board to tell stories that helped people see technology and other subjects from a new perspective.

The videos were a viral hit and we became known for our ability to make complex ideas easy to understand. Over time, we earned over 50 million video views, worked with the world's most respected companies and built a library of videos for use by educators. Across all these experiences our goal has always been the same—to make ideas easier to understand with simple explanations.

Recently we realized that the lessons we've learned about explanation are not limited to a specific medium—they are fundamental communication skills. We saw that explanation is a skill that is often taken for granted, yet something that can be learned and improved. We saw the potential to help people become better at explanation.

The Art of Explanation contains everything we've learned about making ideas easier to understand and will help you become an explanation specialist.

Writing the Book

While the lessons in the book took years to formulate, the book was mostly written in the spring of 2012. Sachi and I went on a writing retreat for a month on Orcas Island, Washington.

Desk on Orcas (new)

Desk on Orcas

It was during this retreat that the book took shape. While my name is on the cover, it was a collaboration and Sachi deserves much credit.

Orcas View

View on Orcas