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The Straight Dope (The Straight Dope)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  627 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
No molly coddle, he, Cecil Adams tackles the tough questions in life, including "Do cats have navels?" and "What are the real lyrics to 'Louie, Louie'?'" Uncompromising and always entertaining, he explodes myths, reveals shocking truths and answers over 400 of the most pressing questions of this or any day.
Mass Market Paperback, 417 pages
Published May 12th 1986 by Ballantine Books (NY) (first published 1984)
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When I first moved to San Francisco, I worked in an office next door to Steve Peroutka. During his neurology residency at Johns Hopkins, he had done the family genetic study which established that the 'photic sneeze reflex' (sneezing in response to bright sunlight) is an autosomal dominant trait.

It pretty much made his day when I told him that I already knew who he was because I had read about him in 'The Straight Dope'. Much more so than if I'd said I read the research paper he had written. He
I used to regularly read Cecil Adam's column in The Reader back in the 80's when we lived in Chicago, and to this day all I need to do to revisit those grad-school days is open my well-thumbed copy of The Straight Dope. Was there ever as cool a smart-ass/nerd as Cecil? He set the tone for a lot of the hip-cool know-it-all types who came afterward, but none really had the same mojo. Thousands of readers sent Cecil their (seemingly) unanswerable questions, only to have scorn heaped upon them as Ce ...more
Jan 27, 2008 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the "bad book friend" who once got me kicked out of the library. If not for her constant prodding and teasing I might never have learned to "put down the book and live a little". She sent me this particular book. It's informative, it's funny, and I now know things I might never have learned otherwise. Like the calorie content of sperm, for instance.
May 24, 2012 T. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most hysterically funny books you can buy! Cecil used to write a column and compiled questions and answers into this (and, I believe, other) book. Cecil is such a wit. I purchased it because of a passage regarding Schroedinger's Cat what was written by a fan in rhyme, and Cecil answered back in verse also. I highly recommend this book that can be read in snippets for people on the go, or just straight through.
Holly Lindquist
Mr. Adams, a consummate know-it-all and professional wise-acre, answers assorted questions on a nearly limitless variety of topics. These include deep questions about the nature of the universe, small questions about mundane items (navel lint), and bizarro questions from left-field. Adams tackles them all with charm and just the perfect glaze of sarcasm. I love collections of random information and this one is definitely near the top of my list.
Jan 26, 2008 Lesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a fairly recent convert to the Straight Dope. One of the first things I learned from the esteemed Cecil Adams is armadillos are leprous (a fact not included in this book, but maybe one of his other books). I've learned many other useful facts since I've started reading the column and books... but that's the fact that always stands out.
Eric Hines
Nov 25, 2011 Eric Hines rated it really liked it
Shelves: curmudgeons, trivia
Culled from a weekly reader-submitted question column in the Chicago Reader. Thankfully dealing with any topic under the sun, rather than relationship advice. The 1970s hipster-wiseass persona begins to grate pretty quickly, but a wide variety of topics are treated, and Cecil's research usually brings home the bacon.
Rich Meyer
Nov 03, 2011 Rich Meyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
While a lot of the information is quite dated now, even 15-20 years later, this is a fun book to read. Cecil Adams (a.k.a. editor Ed Ziotti) was one of the first popular columnists to answer the important questions that everyone asks, and some that only those denizens of Baltimore have the temerity to query.
May 26, 2012 Q rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Cecil Adams is awesome - I've been reading his columns for a long time (longer than I care to admit!) and always find him thoughtful and hilarious. His straight-forward approach combined with thorough research and great delivery make a totally enjoyable read. You have to like trivia and bits o'knowledge of course.
Erik Graff
Nov 20, 2009 Erik Graff rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Straight Dope fans
Recommended to Erik by: Linn Illwitzer
Shelves: reference
This book was left up at Dad's cottage in Michigan by, I believe, his second wife, an editor at Scott Foresman. Lacking any other light reading and being familiar with the column in The Chicago Reader, I went through this, the first collection of such pieces, in short order, finding all of it very amusing and some helpfully informative.
Larry Cunningham
Aug 24, 2012 Larry Cunningham rated it liked it
By now a bit dated, this was a fun read, and my introduction to the wit and wisdom of The Straight Dope.
Jul 16, 2008 Leigh-Ann rated it it was amazing
I love to read this book in bed before I go to sleep.
Aug 01, 2008 Margaret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, american
Answers to all kinds of questions on all kinds of subjects--some stuff I wanted to know and other stuff I didn't. Fun to read.
Jan 11, 2007 Paige rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
Fun read. Learn all sorts of pigs mate to Catherine the Great...the straight dope!
Jul 11, 2013 Travelin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I probably haven't read this exact collection, but for the concept, questions he digs out from the bottom of the pile and, generally, mock-outraged, educated pub talk, all the stars in the bowl.
Jan 27, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So funny, so entertaining, so comprehensive. This book lives permanently in our bathroom. Best toilet reading ever! (That is a big compliment, by the way!)
Abraham Ray
great book of trivia!
Jan 13, 2012 Rebekkila marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Jun 02, 2007 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first of a series. Answers to questions I never thought to ask by "the world's smartest human"
Sep 23, 2008 Jenny rated it liked it
Cecil, I wanted to know things that I could never ask. Thanks!
Big Bill
Dec 28, 2007 Big Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that clarifies almost every questionable myth or fact. A must read for know-it-alls.
Dec 13, 2009 Pjtibbetts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Straight Dope series is the ultimate in bathroom reading.
Jun 22, 2009 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
always love to read trivia
Feb 11, 2016 Fishface rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All superlatives. Every imaginable question answered! Super funny, super informative, super odd.
Aug 08, 2008 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love me some Straight Dope.
Oct 25, 2007 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Everything I know I learned from The Straight Dope. I'm exaggerating, of course, but probably not by much.
Feb 06, 2016 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things. But still good.
Jul 24, 2008 Hawkgrrrl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These books should be in every bathroom.
Erik Nielsen
Jan 06, 2011 Erik Nielsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The whole series is funny and informative, he was Snopes before the web.
Sarah rated it liked it
May 30, 2008
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