[Tex/LaTex] How to explain the meaning of LaTeX to the grandma


I wrote a book about LaTeX, and my proud grandma wanted to have a copy. So she got it, said "What a beautiful picture on the cover!" and – "What is this, LaTeX?".

She doesn't know Word, never used a computer. But she reads books. How can I explain what makes TeX and LaTeX special to a non-technical person? I don't mean introducing in using, and the existing question "What are TeX and LaTeX?" with its answers is still much too technical.

Such challenges are not rare. I need to explain to my boss why I request some days off to go to a TeX conference, and soon my daughter will want to know what daddy does on the computer. My girlfriend needs to understand why I spend so much time at TeX.SE.

Does anyone know eye-opening words? Perhaps an analogy or a metaphor would help? So grandma, girlfriend, daughter, boss – all may roughly understand and say "Ah, such a thing? Useful indeed!"

Best Answer

LaTeX is to a book what a set of blueprints is to a building.