xkcd's Randall Munroe says it's really hard to keep things simple

Cartoonist Randall Munroe's Thing Explainer is a love letter to complicated topics — explained in simple words.
Randall Munroe about his use of simple language to explain complicated concepts. (Randall Munroe/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Cartoonist Randall Munroe has a knack for making complicated things understandable — most notably by drawing pictures, dodging jargon and delighting laypeople with his xkcd comics

From tectonic plates to the International Space Station, the former NASA roboticist patiently walks the rest of us through the hard stuff.

Munroe, who has yet to receive any nit-picky phone calls from his physics teacher, joins guest host Rachel Giese to discuss his love of explaining how things work, how he released his fear of sounding stupid, and why his new book Thing Explainer is kid-friendly but not kid-targeted.

WEB EXTRA | No, it's not rocket science — explaining biology is "way harder than rocket science," says Munroe. See his breakdown of a cell, as referenced on air, below. 

Excerpted from Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words © 2015 by Randall Munroe. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Click here for the full sized image. 

Bonus: Munroe says his childhood drawings signaled his love for breaking things down into parts. Here's one of his sketches. 

Randall Munroe's earliest drawings signal his love for breaking things down into parts. (Randall Munroe)