At some point or another, we’ve all been expected to create an explanation to help family, friends, or co-workers understand our ideas. We share facts and our expert knowledge only to be left with clueless or apathetic expressions. What a frustrating experience–ugh! What if we could easily learn to plan, create, package, and deliver explanations that convince others that our ideas are worth caring about? There is a handy solution! People who are picking up Lee LeFever‘s book The Art of Explanation can explain while they have a reason to smile. Want to feel good about delivering powerful explanations? Get this book!
I’ve been poring over The Art of Explanation by Lee LeFever and I thoroughly enjoy what I have read so far. The book is excellent! The content is a magnet for the reader’s attention. Mr. LeFever, Chief Explainer at Common Craft, consummately practices what he preaches. Beginning with the preface and continuing through the following pages, the author makes a compelling case for examining and honing our ability to craft powerful explanations. What makes LeFever’s work so engrossing is that he does a masterful job explaining what he suggests we do. In brief, the writer :
- gets us to acknowledge that better explanations are vitally necessary and serve to improve the world and subsequently our quality of life
- lets us know why crafting better explanations should matter to everyone
- creates a number of believable (contextual) narratives that help us see explanations from a new perspective
- links new ideas about and skills for explanations to situations/concepts we are familiar with
- helps us discern where (in our explanations) we should focus on explaining why or how
- summarizes what we have learned and moving us forward to the next steps we need to take
Moving through text, we learn how to differentiate words that are often–and erroneously–used interchangeably with the term explanation (e.g. description, definition, instruction, elaboration, report, and illustration). The author convincingly explains the importance of empathy in crafting and “packaging” effective explanations. LeFever makes the point that meaningful explanations help an intended audience clearly understand why they should care to know more about a given topic. He also helps us understand why we fail to properly explain our ideas and goes on to clarify how we can effectively plan our explanations.
I can’t wait to dive back into this book!
Want to know more about the fellow who is widely credited for inspiring the video explanation industry? Read Lee’s biography.
Intrigued? Buy the book!