How I Arrived at the Title of My Book “Figure It Out”

Figure It Out: How We Get from Information to Understanding

Oh my! Remember this from way back when?

“The book is about how we get from information to understanding”

  1. Everyone identifies with the word “information”. Whether it’s something about big data or concerns about privacy or something that’s confusing, information as a concept is something that resonates. It’s a generative conversation opener.
  2. It proposes that, ‘hey, what if there’s something more than or beyond information?’
  3. The phrasing “From… to…” suggests there is a how to be explored.
I really like this concept, that “understanding” is finding a pattern in the random jumble of things.
  1. Does it pique interest?
    ‘Seductive Interaction Design’
    was a pretty catchy title. Could I luck into something this good a second time around?
  2. Does it accurately represent the book?
    See above, on distinction between Design and Architecture, as an example.
  3. Is it memorable or interesting?
    This is key, for me. I want people to be able to recall the specific title, when recommending it to someone. I’ve read some great books with such generic titles that I couldn’t recall anything meaningful to relay.
  4. Will it be easily findable through keyword searches?
    Information’ and ‘Understanding’ are pretty generic keywords, and unlikely to break to the top 10, even with ‘book’ added.
  5. What does it promise? What do get by reading this book?
    I recall around Dec 2015 listening to a webinar with Ray Bard, a publisher, who commented that all the best sellers are selling hope. ‘Buy this book and this thing will happen’. While my book fits more of a ‘Big idea’ and/or ‘How to’ frame, I did start running title ideas through this concept of hope, or even just a simple promise of some sort. What do you get if you buy my book?
  • See What I Mean (I was the one who ‘gave’ this title to Kevin Cheng ;-))
  • Show Me: The Architecture of Understanding
  • More than Information: The Architecture of Understanding
  • Finding Patterns: The Architecture of Understanding
  • Finding Patterns: Information, Design, and The Architecture of Understanding
  • Finding Patterns: How to Design for Understanding When All We’re Given is Information.
  • Assembly Required: How We Get from Information to Understanding
  • To Boldly Know: How We Get from Information to Understanding
  • A Pattern Game: How We Get from Information to Understanding
Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t be doing this.
  • “Assembly Required” seemed so on point. And distinct. In fact, this became the title of my WIAD2018 talk. But, I could never recall it weeks later. And it didn’t seem like it would pass the keyword search test.
  • “A Pattern Game” is both interesting and so incredibly on point, especially when we think about the theme of connections, whether that’s between neurons, ideas, or people. I even purchased the domain name apatterngame.com. Alas, it suffered a few weeks later from recall — I couldn’t easily remember ‘that awesome name’ I had come up with!
  1. This book is only partially about the visual display of information (Show Me and See What I Mean suggest a book devoted to the visual display of information).
  2. Who facilitates understanding? Is it an individual? A group? Is it an organization on behalf of their customers? As the book is for any of these use cases, the title needs to avoid any sort of suggestion that it’s for an individual to work out, or for an agency to do for others.

Figure it out.

  • We’re going to figure it out
  • You (singular) should figure it out
  • You (plural) figure it out

Figure It Out: How We Get from Information to Understanding

Just prototyping. Trying to get a feel for the title — nothing more!

--

--

--

Speaker, educator, and design leader. On a mission to make learning the hard stuff fun, by creating ‘things to think with’ and ‘spaces’ for generative play.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Is Your Dream Career Working Overtime to Show Itself to You?

Is Your Dream Career Working Overtime to Show Itself to You?

I went viral in my first ever week on Medium: so why am I so disappointed?

Pithy Inspiration for the Pessimistic Writer

Yay, A Story Made Twenty-six Cents on Medium

Thoughts. (2.9.20) (3)

Curation Is Great But It Will NOT Guarantee You Success On Medium

The Author — Blog 2: Hello?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Stephen P. Anderson

Stephen P. Anderson

Speaker, educator, and design leader. On a mission to make learning the hard stuff fun, by creating ‘things to think with’ and ‘spaces’ for generative play.

More from Medium

Everything Is Fucked

Have You Ever Watched an AI Writing by Itself?

A Not-so-Lonesome Dove

Is MyAssignmenthelp.com better than Mightyessays.co.uk?