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The Areas of My Expertise | [John Hodgman]

The Areas of My Expertise

In the great tradition of the American almanac, The Areas of My Expertise is a brilliant and hilarious compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom on all topics large and small. Although best sellers such as Poor Richard's Almanack and The Book of Lists were certainly valuable, they also were largely true.
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Publisher's Summary

In the great tradition of the American almanac, The Areas of My Expertise is a brilliant and hilarious compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom on all topics large and small. Although best sellers such as Poor Richard's Almanack and The Book of Lists were certainly valuable, they also were largely true. Here is a different kind of handy desk reference, one in which all of the historical oddities and amazing true facts are sifted through the singular, illuminating imagination of John Hodgman, which is the nice way of saying: He made it all up.

©2005 John Hodgman; (P)2006 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Humor, 2007

"One of the funniest and most entertaining books to play on readers' imaginations in recent memory. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"For the hyper-well-read fans of publications like McSweeney's, this is a treasure trove of twisted absurdist miscellany." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (1127 )
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4.2 (371 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Wendy vista, CA, USA 03-29-09
    Wendy vista, CA, USA 03-29-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    33
    4
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    "I enjoyed it"

    It was not something that I listened to for content, but something I listened to for enjoyment. I had a lot of time when I was doing something alone and wanted to listen to something, and this happened to be great at the time.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenty United States 07-18-12
    brenty United States 07-18-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My favourite audiobook. Period."

    Almost six years later, this is still my favourite. I listen to it about twice a year, and it never gets old.

    This last time my wife and I listened to it together (her first time) on our cross-country move and it had us both laughing out loud. The content, delivery, and variety are brilliant. A perfect mix of witty, dry humour, and clever use of the medium.

    I actually got this audiobook for free from iTunes when it was released, but have since repurchased it from Audible for convenience (I can listen to it again any time using the iPhone app!) and out of appreciation for the countless hours of entertainment Hodgman, Coulton, and the others have given me. Thank you!

    That is all.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex K. D-N San Francisco CA United States 06-25-09
    Alex K. D-N San Francisco CA United States 06-25-09 Listener Since 2008

    AKDN

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Simply Amazing."

    All I can say is that I found this book deeply deeply amusing. So much so that I've actually listened to it twice (I rarely do that). It really strikes the perfect balance between intelligence and silliness, which I immensely appreciate.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Koko 02-24-09
    Koko 02-24-09 Member Since 2014
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    "A must read for school children everywhere"

    Not if you combined the entire western canon in one volume would you have a more complete collection of knowledge than this tome.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tyler Tionesta, PA, USA 06-14-07
    Tyler Tionesta, PA, USA 06-14-07
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    "Good but Overwhelming"

    I didn't realize John Hodgman was the "PC" from the recent popular Apple commercials until somewhere halfway through the book. I found the book to be quite funny at parts, but other parts and jokes are so long and obscure, I felt it hard to keep listening.

    John Hodgman has gone to great lengths to make this audio book entertaining, evening adding musical accompaniment and plenty of skits making fun of himself, his musical accomplice, and the book itself.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jim@mindofmen.com 03-26-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I really wanted to like this book but..."

    First of all, I like John Hodgman. He is the perfect character for the Apple ads, so I was enthusiastic about this book after hearing Leo Laporte sing its praises on one of his recent podcasts.

    After listening to about half of the book, I just had to turn it off. While it starts out with some funny spots, it just goes downhill from there. Most of the content sounds like something that I might have come up with after a night of heavy drinking with some friends. It's almost stream of consciousness material and most of it is simply not that funny.

    I like to think that I have a pretty good sense of humor, but this book just left me cold. A shame that I wasted a credit on it.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Piscataway, NJ, United States 10-24-06
    Paul Piscataway, NJ, United States 10-24-06 Member Since 2005
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    "Don't bother"

    Based on the description and some of the positive reader comments, I was hoping to be entertained, but by the end of the first hour I gave up. This type of material is not really suited for an audio book and in my opinion this is probably the worst of all audio books I have listened to thus far

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    corey LUTZ, FL, United States 03-21-07
    corey LUTZ, FL, United States 03-21-07 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "something's not right"

    I never thought I would call something "dreadfully unfunny", but this audio book is dreadfully unfunny. the introduction was good, but went downhill fast. I, like many other people, bought this book on the strength of Hodgman's Daily Show work. Maybe allowing him to carry on untethered to a subject is too much for him to carry off.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaeli Irving, TX, USA 03-02-08
    Kaeli Irving, TX, USA 03-02-08
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    "Could have been much better"

    I am in love with The Daily Show, so when I saw that one of their "reporters" wrote a book, I had to read it. I like Hodgman's presentation on the show, so I decided to listen to the audio version of the book. This was a mistake. Hodgman works well as the straight man, but he needs someone to play against, to mirror his over-the-top button-down appearance. This is lacking in his book. The idea is very clever-present all the information one could ever need, regardless of whether or not it's true. It's Wikipedia with a better editor, I thought. However, it wasn't funny at all. The oral presentation of the tables, guest readers, and other gimmicks throughout were simply annoying. I'm not sure if the print version is any better and I am loathe to check it out to find out.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Hurley Shamong, Burlington, New Jersey, USA 04-07-15
    Jill Hurley Shamong, Burlington, New Jersey, USA 04-07-15

    Jill Hurley

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    "Exceptional"

    I have the paperback version of this book but wanted to listen to the audio version as I read. I was more than impressed to find that John Hodgman went WAY above and beyond in the recording of his audiobook. A lot of authors don't even read their own audiobooks. Not only did he do that, but he also had Jonathan Coulton play music in certain parts and had Paul Rudd read a short excerpt of the book. Even more surprising, Hodgman went over nearly all of the tables in the book and read each and every one of the 700 hobo names. I have never found myself wondering if an audiobook was better than the written book, except in this case. I would recommend this audiobook to anyone, whether you have read John Hodgman's books or not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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