The original Book of General Ignorance was published in 2006. It has since been translated into twenty-six languages and sold over 1.2 million copies.
Now, just when you thought that it was safe to start showing off again, John Lloyd and John Mitchinson are back with another busload of mistakes and misunderstandings. Here is a new collection of simple, perfectly obvious questions you'll be quite certain you know the answers to. Whether it's history, science, sports, geography, literature, language, medicine, the classics, or common wisdom, you'll be astonished to discover that everything you thought you knew is still hopelessly wrong.
For example, do you know who made the first airplane flight? How many legs does an octopus have? How much water should you drink every day? What is the chance of tossing a coin and it landing on heads? What happens if you leave a tooth in a glass of Coke overnight? What is house dust mostly made from? What was the first dishwasher built to do? What color are oranges? Who in the world is most likely to kill you?
Whatever your answers to the questions above, you can be sure that everything you think you know is wrong. The Second Book of General Ignorance is the essential text for everyone who knows they don't know everything, and an ideal stick with which to beat people who think they do."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-09-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Fans of the popular British quiz show QI and trivia fiends alike will appreciate this latest volume of fascinating, if somewhat random, minutiae from the show’s creator and head researcher, respectively. Stressing the importance of curiosity in his introduction (or “Forethought”), show host Fry separates the mere gathering of facts from the continual absorption of new information, something that should always be encouraged. Structured as a series of questions mimicking the quiz show’s final round—known as “General Ignorance,” where questions with seemingly obvious but wrong answers are posed to the four panelists and points are awarded and deducted for clever and dull responses, respectively—the book is a hodgepodge of knowledge on myriad subjects. Often, the fact that the question is being posed clues the reader in to the trickiness of the answer (here’s a hint: oranges aren’t always orange and pure water doesn’t freeze at 32ºF). The lack of organization isn’t an issue simply because of the wide net Lloyd and Mitchinson cast. From Molotov cocktails (not invented by Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skriabin, better known by his “Molotov” pen name, but by Finns during WWII as a response to Molotov’s Stalinist tactics) to Houdini’s real cause of death (appendicitis, not a punch to the stomach), there’s a plethora of information here that makes for a fun casual read or a primer before pub trivia night. (Oct.)