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Big Secrets

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The Book That Gives the Inside Story on Hundreds of Secrets of American Life --Big Secrets.

Are there really secret backward messages in rock music, or is somebody nuts? We tested suspect tunes at a recording studio to find out.

What goes on at Freemason initiations? Here's the whole story, including, yes..! the electric carpet.

Colonel Sanders boasted that Kentucky Fried
Paperback, 232 pages
Published June 26th 1985 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1983)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  240 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
There were some interesting facts in this book, although don't expect to find real BIG secrets (who really killed John F. Kennedy, whether or not aliens really exist, you get my point).

I especially liked the chapters that gave away magician's secrets. I am fascinated with optical illusions, especially those that seem impossible. I don't mind for these secrets to be exposed because once I've seen the trick performed, I want to know how.

Some parts weren't terribly exciting to me, but they were
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was a quick, 24-hour read; just a book I yanked out of the "recently acquired" pile beneath my desk.

Interesting stuff, from exploring the formulas for Coca-Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken to the startling revelation that the "secret code" Mom taught us as a kid was also infrequenly used by the Freemasons. Weird.

Anyway, the writing could be better. It's pretty dry and clinical; I was hoping for something with a little more lilt and panache than what Poundstone offers. The information is
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own
One of the formative books of my childhood. Backwards messages on records, subliminal messages in movies, the eleven herbs n spices in Kentucky Fried Chicken, government hiding places in case of nuclear attack, and so much more. Was the reason this phrase was once uttered in my childhood home: "Mom, can you drive me to the library? I need to get a book about shortwave numbers stations."
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Facts about various subjects that you may have wondered about or find interesting. For instance, Recipe for KFC and tidbits about Colonial Sanders life, Mysterious Radio Frequencies, Celebraties real birthdays, how the model ship gets into the bottle, etc.
Carol Waters
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This is one of those books to leave in the bathroom for a little interim reading. Nothing terribly useful, but now I have a new code that I can actually remember.
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first encountered this book while in college during the early 90's. Back then, many of the "secrets" revealed in this book seemed nearly clandestine; today, the information therein is hardly shocking. Nevertheless, it makes for a fun read. The section on how to beat several popular tests (e.g., a lie detector) seemed as though it might come in handy some day, and the chapter about "numbers stations" actually creeped me out just a little (and eventually lead to me purchasing a short wave ...more
Shane Moore
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
In these days of the internet, few secrets are still very secret, but this collection of obscure knowledge was still pretty interesting. My favorite parts were the detailed investigations into questions without clear answers, specifically the historical recipes for things like Coca-Cola and perfumes. The funniest bit was the revelation that chemical analysis revealed that rather than 11 secret herbs and spices KFC fried chicken was spiced with salt, pepper, and no measurable quantities of any ...more
Rich Meyer
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
The first volume in William Poundstone's fun series of Big Secrets is still a fun read, even after all this time. Some of the technology-associated "secrets" in all three books are somewhat like fossils now, since these were written long before cell phones and smartphones, but there are a lot of interesting tidbits and strangeness to be perused. This one's great if you want to pull pranks on Masons, and has a lot of interesting info on secret radio stations and the like. An always interesting ...more
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
My rating represents how much I liked this book as a kid. I guess this type of book wouldn't have quite the same effect now that we have the Internet.
Barry Simiana
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who is a stickybeak.
I love these books (there's 4 or more). Had the set and then had them pinched. Recently replaced them and re-reading again. Still love them.
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Read this wayyy back in the early '90s.
George Scully
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Read this as a teen. The information was cutting edge in the early eighties - today, not so much. That being said, I loved it.
Don Gubler
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: improvement
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William Poundstone is the author of more than ten non-fiction books, including 'Fortune's Formula', which was the Amazon Editors' Pick for #1 non-fiction book of 2005. Poundstone has written for The New York Times, Psychology Today, Esquire, Harpers, The Economist, and Harvard Business Review. He has appeared on the Today Show, The David Letterman Show and hundreds of radio talk-shows throughout ...more
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