The Art of Explanation is built on my years of experience in creating explanations for organizations and educators. My company, Common Craft, is known around the world for making complex ideas easy to understand in the the form of short videos. Through projects with companies such as Google, LEGO, Intel, and Ford Motor Company and the creation of our own library of video explanations, we have been students of explanation for many years. We have experimented and studied the explanation process and seen what is possible. Our videos have been viewed more than 50 million times online, and no other brand is better known for explanations (http://commoncraft.com/videos).
This book, however, is not a series of case studies and exercises or an academic exploration of “the science of explanation.” More than anything, it is a manifesto based on our experiences as professional explainers. We believe deeply in the power of explanation and see this book as an invitation to recognize that power by looking at explanation from a new perspective. When you do, you will see that it represents an unexplored part of your communications, a skill you can understand, practice, and improve.
The various ideas, approaches, and models I provide in these pages are secondary to a simple, higher-level goal: to make explanation a priority. This means thinking about how you explain ideas and how you can put explanations to work to accomplish your goals. It requires that you use explanation as a strategy in problem solving. You must also introduce others to the idea that explanations can create positive change.
I am a big fan of Common Craft In Plain English videos. I use them in my talks and recommend it to others. It is nice to see a book that explains the art of explanation. Looking forward to reading it and will be back with some notes and learning in a future post.