Casual physics intro books are quite possibly the hardest subgenre of physics books to write. Textbooks and further upper-level reading have expectations both of what you already know and how quickly you should pick up new material. Generally, those who pour through these types of books will read and reread until they’ve figured things out, regardless of how well the text actually explains things. Casual intro books, on the other hand, exist for a readership that has little devotion in comparison. Either the book is a near-perfect balance of new material paired with examples and explanations or it falls flat as readers loose interest.
How to Teach Physics to your Dog is one of these casual intro books with balance. Chad has always explained technical topics well on his blog but that alone doesn’t provide much cohesive structure to draw in casual book readers. The glue here is the dialog with Emmy; a clear perspective from someone who has smart questions. If you’re not reading along and thinking the same questions that Emmy verbalizes, you’re thinking “Hey, that is a really interesting point!”
At this point, the book has gone through at least three complete drafts, been read and commented on by ~10 beta readers (wayyy back in the process) and 7 cover-blurb writers, among others. And It’s still really gratifying to hear that somebody liked it, and thinks it works.
Lots of people make snide comments about the tendency of writers to post incessantly about their work, and every single review/ blog post/ twitter to mention it. But really, it’s hard not to– my day job is in full swing (this is scheduled to auto-post while I’m teaching pre-med lab), and it’s still constantly on my mind.
It may look like the blog is slowly turning into nothing but “my book, my book, my book…” I assure you, though, that what you’re getting here (and on Twitter, etc.) is a heavily filtered version of what’s going on in my head.