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Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? and Other Imponderables: Mysteries of Everyday Life Explained
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Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? and Other Imponderables: Mysteries of Everyday Life Explained

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  753 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Trivia lovers and other browsers will be unable to resist this delightful compendium of little-known but often-argued facts, from the bestselling author of "When Do Fish Sleep?."
Paperback, 251 pages
Published September 28th 1988 by Harper Perennial (first published 1987)
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Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Maravilloso libro de curiosidades al más puro estilo del consultorio CPI. Los lectores mandan preguntas y el autor hace lo posible por responderlas. Las hay clásicas, como la que da título al libro, y hay muchas que no son nada fáciles (¿Por qué los donuts llevan agujero?, ¿Por qué no se nos pone la piel de gallina en la cara?¿Por qué la Luna parece más grande cuando está cerca del horizonte?). El autor añade todos los chistes y juegos de palabras que se le ocurren, cosa que a mi me gustó mucho. ...more
Molly Octopus
Jan 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Cushing
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
First in a compilation of three imponderables books that I own. This one is a bit dated, but still fun to read. All those questions you can now Google or wiki the answers to, but it is a fun little bit of trivia to read when you only have a few minutes to spare.
Mar 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bathroom-library
This is commode literature at its finest! It's as though the answers to each questions were timed perfectly for a trip to the ol' w.c. Full of all sorts of "I wonder"s, such as, "Why do golfers yell 'fore' when warning of an errant golf shot?", and, "Why do surgeons wear green or blue when operating?". What makes this book stand out from the rest on the bathroom shelf are the imponderables that have fallen to the wayside since its publication in 1950. Things we'd never think about, like, "What i ...more
Mary JL
Oct 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone seeking fun infomration
Recommended to Mary JL by: Found browsing in bookstore
Shelves: non-fiction
I have always enjoy trivia and odd facts, so these typles of books are made for me. David Feldman has several more in this series.

A great book to have around if you are between two big, diffuclt books and want a quick, light, fun easy read to pass an afternoon.

Recommended for fans of word origins; history; cursious customs; and trivia. Also for just about anyone who is curious about things.
Timothy Boyd
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting tidbit book. Great book to learn a few new things each day. Recommended
Andd Becker
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fun to read!
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I found this book recently at a library sale. I picked it up because it reminded me of a book my mother bought for me as a kid, when I was driving her crazy in my "why, why, why" phase. When I read through it I realized it is the same book just a different/newer version. I am really excited to share this with my nieces as they get older. They definitely have the same "why" gene I did and I can already seem them driving people a little batty with their thirst for knowledge. Some of the articles a ...more
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was about Imponderables that happen in our life everyday. One of my favorite imponderables was "Why Do Dogs Chase Around There Tail?". The answer to this imponderable was because they get itchy and have disorders so they dont know what there doing. The theme for this book was imponderables. I think this book was a good book because it was very informative. I would recommend people to read this book if they are curios about how the things we do and things that happen everyday mean.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: year-6, ymca-3
Nobody buys books like this. They're given as gifts by people who nothing about you, or, worse, want to put as little effort as possible into finding you a gift. This book is: "I bought you something to physically occupy space just as our bland friendship occupies the several hours a year we're obligated to hang out."

Still, I did learn about how to read what edition books are, so it wasn't completely worthless, only mostly.

Eddie M.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
It's a good book, filled with questions about everyday life. However, the facts are more well-known than the author thought they were.
Ashley Brown
I love the Imponderables series - I'm a sucker for trivia and 'useless' information. However, with some of the older Imponderables books (this one included) some of the things are a bit dated. I'm not sure if it was this one or the previous book, but some of the things I was reading just made me go "What is that?" and then I felt like one of those kids that bother me now when they ask me what a Jigglypuff is while playing their Pokemon Black or White. Another reason I only gave this book 3 stars ...more
Jun 08, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like trivia so I thought I’d love this book so much that I bought two books in one shot WHY DO CLOCKS RUN CLOCKWISE by David Feldman and When Do Fish Sleep? An Imponderables' Book by David Feldman. I HATED the delivery. That’s 10 bucks burnt away.

A fact is presented, and then 3 people propose a possible answer. (3 actors named A, B and C). The listener has 10 seconds to decide which answer is the correct one.

Didn’t like this set-up, I wanted a fun litany of interesting facts - not a game show!!!

Plus (especially in “When Do Fish Sleep”) in a lame and unsuccessful attempt at humour, A B and C
Lenny Husen
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. It was a relatively quick read, light, and written like a newspaper column. Problem: the questions asked in this book are silly. I don't really care about hot dogs and hot dog bun packages not matching up, why some ranchers hang a cowboy boot on their fence, or about hairspray, M&Ms, or pretty much most of the stumpers that this book attempts to answer.
I say, "attempts" because in at least half of the "Imponderables", there is no good answer given. There is a guess, along with a s
StephenEmily Stacey
Jan 07, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who wonder why things work
This book explains certain imponderables such as how they get the "m" on m&ms or why we don't have hair on the palms of our hands. I liked the book, but I expected a lot more than it delivered. It promised to be a good look at why some crazy things are the way they are, but I felt that the descriptions were vague and unmemorable, so I quickly forgot anything I read. That being said, it does hit on some great questions. It was good enough for me to finish the whole book, and I found it to be ...more
Books like this always seem to me to be springboards to further research. And I have followed some of them up, but not all. Some answers herein are intuitively obvious (and thereby inherently suspect), some are fairly good matches for what specialists have been taught (largely because Feldman tends to ask specialists), and some are things a good reference librarian already knows, because somebody has asked before. But this series is a useful reference source, if and only if nothing is taken at f ...more
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No doubt the audio version was abridged but I liked the format better than just a direct question and answer book. A question was asked and then three choices (including two bluffs) were offered and you had to decide what the correct answer was. (Maybe the book was also this way - I don't know.) Either way, this format made it more enjoyable. The in between banter between questions was often cheesy - but overall I enjoyed it.

My one complain was his explanation on why snakes flick out their tongu
Karen & Gerard
Sep 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone curious about things
Recommended to Karen & Gerard by: dad
This is a book full of unusual “Why” questions with answers to most of them. I enjoyed it because the questions were generally about things I never gave any thought to, for example, Why do ants tend to congregate on sidewalks? What are those twitches and jerks that occasionally wake us up just as we are falling asleep? Why do bananas, unlike other fruits, grow upward? What do Federal Express people do after 10:30 a.m.? Where do houseflys go during the winter? Why is scoring three goals in hockey ...more
Cees Mackenzie
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have just finished reading this book. It was gifted to me by some Canadian friends of mine and I have really enjoyed reading it. It was a very good read and a book that I will come back and read it is about the questions that some people struggle to answer and then they give a scientific description I really like it because it is in the genera that I like it is weighted by David Feldman he has written many other books in the same genera like where do fish sleep and other imponderables he uses ...more
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Just re-read this book. I read this book 15 years ago and enjoyed it just as much today as I did then. Of course, I absolutely love trivia and random bits of useless knowledge. This book is full of them.
Why do dogs walk around in circles before lying down? If nothing sticks to Teflon, how do they get Teflon to stick to the pan? How do they keep all the raisins in cereal boxes from falling to the bottom? I love it!
Feb 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Definitely a little dated, but that's what you get when you start reading from your grandfather's library.

For a DIY type, or your typical information junkie, this is a great bathroom reader. The content is well divided into quick reads. The author has a great balance of giving enough information to really understand the issue, but manages to stay mostly on topic.

Definitely worth borrowing.
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm the family trivia nut. So to find a book that's filled with more than just your run-of-the-mill trivia is a treat. This is a book I found at the annual Fourth of July library sale in Victor, Idaho. It's a great out of the way place to get good books and to donate to a good cause. [commercial ends]

I enjoyed the trivia part. The book blurb calls out Feldman as "witty." I guess I didn't really see the wit. Maybe the left part of my brain took over on this one. Still, it's a good read.
Heath Fisher
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
A lot of speculation and too few concrete answers. Some of the "imponderables" were really uninteresting, prompting comparably boring answers. I'm a curious person, generally, but this book missed more than it hit, for me. Humor might have helped, like if Bill Bryson had written it, but oh well. I already feel silly for having written this much about something that is probably best described as a bathroom reader.
Paul De Belder
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: skeptic
Several items show a lack of research - unlikely or demonstrably false explanations are given. One example is the subject in the title. Clocks do not run clockwise because sundials do. Only on horizontal sundials does the shadow run clockwise. Vertical sundials on walls and towers run counterclockwise. Early clocks replaced those vertical sundials and some ran clockwise while others ran counterclockwise. It's just luck that finally decided on the standard we use today.
Zarvon Rejaee
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book because it answered some of my questions useless questions about random things. this book is written like an encyclopedia, many entries, one after another, organized by subjects. I find this book a good red if your traveling due to its format. Having many short, interesting entries, it makes a fun book to read when you only have a little bit of time.
Anton Viera
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why do clocks run clockwise is a great book telling little interesting facts that everyone wonders about. I thought the book was really interesting facts and things i didn't even know about. THis book is for people that love everyday questions and are curious to find out some really interesting facts.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it liked it
I found this book on my mom's bookshelf and remember seeing it laying around out house when I was younger. It's pretty interesting and also kind of funny to see what burning questions there were in 1987 that aren't really relevant now. Like, "Will there ever be a newspaper that I can read where I won't get the ink stains on my fingers?" Ha!'s called the Internet... A fun read.
Jun 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who want answers
Shelves: nonfiction
I picked up this book at a Goodwill in Phoenix for a buck. I love these kinds of books where people pose questions and the author tracks down the answers. I think I like the Straight Dope guy's writing style a little more.
For the girl who's always asking why[return]Is the inscription my mother put in this book before giving it to a fourteen-year-old me. This series has answered many questions for me and prompted many more. It's truly fascinating and well written.
Don Gubler
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Gee whiz for trivia nuts and those who want to know something different.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

He holds a bachelor's degree in literature from Grinnell College, and a master's degree in popular culture from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He consults and lectures on the media. He lives in New York City.
More about David Feldman

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