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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller.

Misconceptions, misunderstandings, and flawed facts finally get the heave-ho in this humorous, downright humiliating book of reeducation 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.

Think Magellan was the first man to circumnavigate the globe, baseball was invented in America, Henry VIII had six wives, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain? Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again. You’ll be surprised at how much you don’t know! Check out The Book of General Ignorance for more fun entries and complete answers to the following:

  • How long can a chicken live without its head? About two years.
  • What do chameleons do? They don’t change color to match the background. Never have; never will. Complete myth. Utter fabrication. Total Lie. They change color as a result of different emotional states.
  • How many legs does a centipede have? Not a hundred.
  • How many toes has a two-toed sloth? It’s either six or eight.
  • Who was the first American president? Peyton Randolph.
  • What were George Washington’s false teeth made from? Mostly hippopotamus.
  • What was James Bond’s favorite drink? Not the Vodka Martini.
©2007 John Mitchinson and John Lloyd (P)2007 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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)

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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.

14 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
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastically Fun Facts Fast and Furiously

I love fun facts more than I like breathing (and that's an understatement)! So if you like fun facts this will be right up your alley.

The structure of this book is absolutely wonderful, the content flows from one thought to the next following a series of conversational rabbit holes. It creates a continuity that makes this book more than someone listing just a bunch of random facts at you.

Pure Audio Pleasure.