The Book of General Ignorance

Narrated by: uncredited
Length: 4 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: History, World
4.1 out of 5 stars (330 ratings)

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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 listeners say about The Book of General Ignorance

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting.

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.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Cyanobacteria, weak gods, and historical foibles shaped tour life

You know that kid who is always like “did you know blah blah blah about dinosaurs” and then gives a fact that is really cool, but has no relevance? Now, imagine you are eating carrots and that kids fact ends with some logical blanket statement like “and that’s why carrots are orange.” Both black carrots and rainbow Dino’s are actually in this book, for example, and are real and important to why our media Dino’s and carrots are orange and brown. Point being - although you won’t get from this book any new thing, youll learn how interesting all the current things are!

5 people found this helpful

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Great read

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

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book but goofy clips

This book overall was informative and refreshing. The two authors mixing up the reading was nice. There were a few times where they inserted random sound clips (like a mooing cow) which was unnecessary. Overall a great listen.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun Little Book

This was a fun read, several of the facts are more widely known I would say, but many were new to me. There were parts that would drag on about things like fruit and nut classifications that I found incredibly boring. It did glide seamlessly through subjects rather than exploring a subject and all of it's points, then moving on to another. I enjoyed it the way it was done however in comparison to the others that mentioned it in their reviews.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Fun trivia

(As posted in GoodReads) Fun book of trivia. I'm not sure that I trust 100% of the scientific facts (I know they're not all accurate, but I can't remember specifics…), but it was really interesting to see a lot of myths that are generally considered to be gospel, many of which (but not all) I'd already heard debunked. It was a lot of fun! But I'm not sure that of the side effects of the specifics of it was really interesting to the elements that are generally considered to be gospel many of which for the whole it was a lot of fun

1 person found this helpful

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nice for Qi fans

facts from the program Qi read by the creators, fun for fans of the program