adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.50

Buy for $24.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The world's most entertaining and useless self-help guide, from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the number one New York Times best sellers What If? and Thing Explainer

For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole. 

Best-selling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you're a baby boomer or a '90s kid by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and powering your house by destroying the fabric of space-time. And if you want to get rid of a book once you're done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapor, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the earth's mantle, or launching it into the Sun.

By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn't just make things difficult for himself and his listeners. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, Munroe invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.

©2019 Randall Munroe (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A witty, educational examination of ‘unusual approaches to common tasks’...generously laced with dry humor...Munroe’s comic stick-figure art is an added bonus....  Apart from generating laughter, the book also manages to achieve his serious objective: to get his audience thinking.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“Munroe (creator of the webcomic xkcd; What If?; Thing Explainer) creates another fun series of questions and answers that explore forces, properties, and natural phenomena through pop-culture scenarios.... With illustrated formulas that humorously explain the science behind Munroe’s conjectures, this book is sure to entertain and educate thinkers from high school on up.” (Library Journal)

“The mind behind the webcomic xkcd provides a slew of hilariously overcomplicated instructions for everything from throwing a pool party to winning an election, bringing his signature stick figures - and his singular wit - along for the ride. How To is a loving testament to the power of the human brain to take things to absurd lengths.” (Glen Weldon, NPR)

What listeners say about How To

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    986
  • 4 Stars
    264
  • 3 Stars
    96
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    14
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,052
  • 4 Stars
    115
  • 3 Stars
    39
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    837
  • 4 Stars
    256
  • 3 Stars
    87
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    10

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Bad Ideas So BAD They Are NEARLY Irresistable! 🤓

I avoid math like the plague. I fully believe it is a cruel curse perpetrated upon human kind by a vengeful and sadistic universe... But even with that said... I LOVED this book! I'm convinced that Randall Munroe is probably the only person in the world who could take such a sadistic science and make it totally fun and accessible. Munroe walks the listener through everyday common ideas and then follows those ideas with a whole lotta bat-poop crazy ideas. For the reasonable ideas, he mathematically explains why they are in reality mathematically complex (and a whole lot of physics too)... and then he process to propose a lot more even absurdly outrageous ideas and why they might be a "bit" more mathematically reasonable (assuming you consider a bit of chaos reasonableness). Combine Munroe's witty and humorous writing with Wil Wheaton's pitch perfect tounge-in-cheek narration (which practically winks at the listener with every sentence), this is a highly enjoyable, funny, and enlightening book. Given that the ideas come petty fast and furious (and the math can be pretty overwhelming), the book can be a bit tedious at times.... But I think it's Munroe's way of assuring repeat listening. I did enjoy Munroe's pervious effort (What If) slightly more, but as with Munroe's previous outing, this book starts off with one of the most practical disclaimers ever written. A disclaimer the prudent listener will take to heart (and snicker to themselves about the poor sods who don't) 😂

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic, fun book with excellent narration!

I love xkcd and so wasn't surprised to find that I loved the quirky humor that came from the scientific explorations of truly ridiculous actions. What did surprise me was how lively Wil Wheaton's performance was! I knew he's an excellent reader, but have typically listened to him reading fiction. He brought the same passion to this book, which made it a joy to listen to!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If « what if » was from the scientist, « how to » is from the engineer !

This is great fun, well narrated. 1-2 chapters at the end are a litte weaker, but the rest is quite strong! If you want insight into how engineers and scientists see and analyze the world around them, this is an entertaining must-read/listen.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

pleasingly whimsical

I love xkcd comics and I really appreciate Randall Monroe's sense of humor. This book contains much of the magic that makes his stuff entertaining and Will Wheaton makes a pretty good pairing for an audiobook. I feel like he nails the feeling and intent pretty well. Very good stuff.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Amusing, but not up to "What If?" standards

This was fun, and full of absurd ideas, but compared to "What If?" it's a bit of a letdown.

Each chapter is dedicated to one relatively common activity (like "How to Move" or "How to Throw Things"), which steadily becomes more bizarre as the chapter goes on due to the deliberate effort to break as much stuff as possible in the process of accomplishing a mundane goal by ridiculous means. And the process is funny, especially with things like Serena Williams destroying a drone with a tennis ball or the entire chapter of silly questions about landing various things (some of which are not as bizarre as they sound) posed to an actual test pilot (who seems good-natured and amused by the ordeal). I think that was the best chapter, and that's partly because it has more of the "What If?" spirit of inquiry.

Wheaton does a good enough read of the subject matter, but the equations don't translate well to audio.

The chapter organization is also confusing, with the frequent references to future chapters and not nearly as many to past chapters (aside from Chapter 3, How To Dig A Hole, though even that's referenced as early as the first chapter). But at least this time Audible clearly LABELED the chapters so it's possible to find all the parts.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved every minute of it!

This book was great. The narration was spot on and the jokes made me smile. I really enjoyed all the science behind it aswell. Overall 10/10 book and I strongly reccomend it

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another Great Book from Randall

As usual, Wil has hit the recording out of the park, and Randall has put together another book of fun thought experiments

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

funny cool and somehow educational

this book covers an array of problems with reasonable and absurd solutions, quite funny yet educational.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

- Daddy? - Yes? - I want to be a scientist.

The book brings up some important questions as well as puts you in awe about the ways you can use a lot of regular stuff.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Don't try any of this at home.

This book is strange, very strange... and even somewhat insane at times, which makes it a lot of fun.

The premise is simple; find the most absolutely insane, but scientifically possible solutions to "real world problems". With that in mind, I expected a bunch of cool tips that somebody would actually try in the real world to save time, money, or impress their less scientific friends and family.

Instead, what Munroe gives us are nothing short of what a mad scientist planning to blow up the universe would dream up in his spare time.

For example, in his tip for "How to build a pool", he explores the fastest ways to fill it with water, including buying thousands of bottles of water, then figuring out the fastest ways to open all the bottles at once... such as shooting them with shotguns.... or using a nuclear weapon.

Obviously, he's not suggesting people do 99.9999% of the things in the book, but with each premise, he finds a fun way to explore physics.

2 people found this helpful