the book of general ignorance

The Book of General Ignorance: everything you think you know is wrong, by John Mitchinson and John Lloyd

i loved this book!

it’s a collection of short (like, 1 page) mini-essays about things we commonly believe to be true, but aren’t. each is written as a question. then the correct answer is revealed, with a load of back up and ancillary information.

a few of the snippets weren’t interesting. but overall, i kept finding myself thinking, “ok, i’ll read just one more… just one more… ok, another… ok, just one more.” i also regularly thought, “wow — that’s fascinating. i wonder if i can remember that!” but i have — even since i finished reading the book — found myself foisting my knew and robust knowledge onto my wife and other unsuspecting people, when a pertinent subject came up in conversation. i’m sure they now think i am substantially more brilliant. or annoying. maybe both?

like — did you know that the tallest mountain in the world is NOT everest? everest is the highest, but the tallest (when including the part under water) is mauna kea, the high point on the island of hawaii.

or, that america is not named after amerigo vespucci (as i’d always understood), but richard ameryk, the wealthy bristol merchant who funded john cabot’s voyage to what is now canada, in the late 1400s.

think you know who invented the telephone? you’re probably wrong.

how many dog years equal one human year? not seven.

what a rhino’s horn is made of? not hair.

how we measure earthquakes? not the richter scale.

what color is a panther? trick question: there’s no such thing as a panther.

you get the idea. it’s a factoid lover’s candy story, a belly rub for the “did you know?” dog in you.

4 thoughts on “the book of general ignorance”

  1. The title reminds me of that Weird Al Yankovic song “Everything you know is wrong…”

    Great…now it’s going to be stuck in my head all day!

  2. Marko, my wife bought this book around christmas and we have both read it and loved it. I think it is maybe the most fun book of facts out there.

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