Saturday, December 14, 2019

How To: a very short review

Randall Munroe became (somewhat) famous as the author of the wonderful XKCD, but now he is developing an additional audience as an author of traditional good 'ole books. How To is his latest book, following What If and Thing Explainer.

I'd like to say I've read everything that Randall Munroe has written, but he has many more online publications and other writings that I haven't made my way to (yet).

How To bears a certain resemblance to What If, both in its structure (each book is divided into chapters, each chapter answer a "How to XXX", or a "What if YYY" question, respectively), and in its style (light and informal, filled with illustrations in Munroe's unique style, while still being deeply informative).

Also, like What if, How to is a bit hit-or-miss.

I absolutely loved the chapter on How to Make an Emergency Landing, co-authored with astronaut Chris Hadfield. And How to Predict the Weather and How to Take a Selfie were also particular favorites of mine.

Others were, well, you know, they can't all be perfect, I guess?

But all the chapters are distinctively Munroe, with his wonderful humor, his delightful imagination, and his willingness to follow an idea wherever it goes.

If you like Randall Munroe, you'll like How to.

If you have no idea who Munroe is, you might still pick up the book, and leaf through it, and find a chapter you'll enjoy.

And then you can pass it along to the next person.

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