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Publisher's Summary

Think Magellan was the first man to circumnavigate the globe, baseball was invented in America, and Mount Everest is the tallest mountain? Wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

Misconceptions, misunderstandings, and flawed facts finally get the heave-ho in this humorous, downright humiliating book of re-education based on the phenomenal British best seller. Challenging what most of us assume to be verifiable truths in areas like history, literature, science, nature, and more, The Book of General Ignorance is a witty gotcha compendium of how little we actually know about anything. It'll have you scratching your head wondering why we even bother to go to school.

Revealing the truth behind all the things we think we know but don't, this book leaves you dumbfounded about all the misinformation you've managed to collect during your life, and sets you up to win big should you ever be a contestant on Jeopardy! or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Besides righting the record on common (but wrong) myths like Captain Cook discovering Australia or Alexander Graham Bell inventing the telephone, The Book of General Ignorance also gives us the skinny on silly slipups to trot out at dinner parties.

Thomas Edison said that we know less than one millionth of one percent about anything: this book makes us wonder if we know even that much.

You'll be surprised at how much you don't know!

©2007 John Mitchinson and John Lloyd; (P)2007 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Trivia buffs and know-it-alls alike will exult to find so much repeatable wisdom gathered in one place." (New York Times)
"The Book of General Ignorance won't make you feel dumb. It's really a call to be more curious." (The Associated Press)
"Ignorance may be bliss, but so is learning surprising information." (Hartford Courant)
"You, too, can banish social awkwardness by having its endless count of facts and factoids at the ready. Or you could just read it and keep what you learned to yourself. Betcha can't." (New York Daily News)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Absolutely Brilliant!!

My only regret is that it was over to soon. There should be a sequel. Fascinating facts and the way they were presented made my hours driving disappear. Being able to spout off unknown facts irritates my wife but even she found this book addicting. Well done.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


This book is very interesting. The ideas, though disorganized, were all joined together, one after the other, by a humorus commonality. It was good for me to stop and start again without worrying about where I left off because the topics jump quite rapidly. It is a cyclone of facts (hopefully) that kept me hanging on.

I enjoyed learning the obscure facts very much. This gives me something to inject into a conversation no matter what subject is brought up.

This book is generally great entertainment. There is so much information that is just too hard to stick. Perhaps I will listen to it again.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


I like how it explains how little we know, yet many people believe they know so much. I really enjoy the long list of things that the reader goes through.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Kind of interesting but disorganized

This book is just a sting of facts. There is not much logic to it that I can discern. If you like random tidbits of information and have a credit to burn then it could be fun. If you are looking to learn something, don't waste your time.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Tracey
  • east amherst, NY, United States
  • 10-27-17

Great read

Loved the story and the circumspect approach to the topic. Satisfying and edifying. Happy with my purchase.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I Already Want to Read It Again

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It is such a nun an informative read.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Book of General Ignorance?


What does the narrator bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

An interplay between two voices

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's not moving. silly question

Any additional comments?

Just Read It and Thank Me Later

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Brandy
  • Corinth, TX, USA
  • 12-12-08

not a good one for audio, probably great in print

This book might be great in print, but in audio it sounds like a rambling list of facts rather than a narrative-style. Impossible to listen to.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Al
  • San Francisco, CA
  • 06-24-11

Very Very Boring

Some interesting facts when the book started, however later majority of the facts were very boring and the things that one had no historical idea or to connect the dots. Only good for probably who have good command of overall history, I consider myself average in history and have read quite some books on history, however the book discusses so many abstract and unknown things that it is difficult to stay interested for the whole length of the book. Plus the book has heavu Eurpoean facts and influence.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very informative.

I recomend this audio book to any person one hundred percent. Very good book. Thank you!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

If you like UK History this one's for you

This book is too geared for the UK, it is not of general nature. There is more than just one tiny island in the world.

2 of 9 people found this review helpful