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The Book Of General Ignorance

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  7,658 Ratings  ·  567 Reviews
'The Book of General Ignorance' is an indispensable compendium of popular misconceptions, misunderstandings and common mistakes culled from the hit BBC show, QI.
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published October 2006 by Faber and Faber Ltd (first published 2006)
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Eva Smith It is random questions and answers. I enjoyed the read and learned a thing or two. All one can ask from a book.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Britt
Sep 24, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book did have a lot of interesting bits of information in it, but I don’t feel like it succeeded in its goal. We were to learn the truth about so many things about which we have been misinformed. I didn’t find that I actually had the incorrect knowledge on most of this. I think a lot of what they did was argue semantics or just phrase things in tricky ways. For instance, we were properly informed about the highest v. tallest mountain, so Everest would not have been the answer they were look ...more
Malak Alrashed
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love to know about animals, science, places and information. .
*The book is inspired by a BBC comedy quiz show. Go to YouTube and watch it! It's funny.

How much you think you know? And even if you think you know enough information, do you think all of them are true?

This is what the book is about; it corrects the misconceptions that everyone thinks they're true basically because they are "a common knowledge". There are so many things that will shock you and make you wonder how much we really know? And, most importantly, how much of it is true?
I loved getting
...more
Lolly's Library
I may not be the next Ken Jennings upon finishing this book, but it's possible I could stand a reasonable chance to win a few bucks should I ever appear on a trivia-based game show. Short, witty, and cleverishly devil- wait, that's not right. Whatever. The Book of General Ignorance is a perfect book to test the contents of your brain to see what floats...and if it floats, it should be flushed. (Too gross an analogy? Sorry.) To be honest, since I have a trivial brain (and, yes, I mean every word ...more
Kyle Johnson
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
If you've never seen an episode (or even a clip) of QI, the british panel show from the BBC, you owe it to yourself to head straight to YouTube and start watching. (I highly recommend the Mannequin Bird clip, and the Parthenon clip. These two made me cry with laughter) Stephen Fry is a delight to watch, Allen Davies is hysterical, and many of the guests add unexpected wit. Series regular Bill Bailey (who is also a regular on Nevermind The Buzzcocks, a similar show about pop music) stands out amo ...more
Patrick Gibson
What's the tallest mountain in the world? Think you know right, Mount Everest, at 29,029 feet? Nope, it is Mauna Kea. Though it is a modest 13,799 above sea level, measured from its seabed base to its summit, it is a whopping 33,465 feet in height, almost three-quarters of a mile higher than Mount Everest. What's the driest place in the world? The Sahara right? It is dry alright, getting just one inch of rain a year but it is the third driest place on Earth. The driest in fact is Antarctica, as ...more
Becky
This was an interesting book full of trivia that nobody knows. Now if only I had friends geeky enough to quote it at. :D

I didn't really find this all that humorous, except for the one bit towards the end about the theory of the wise man visiting Jesus who put off getting a gift for the savior until too late and the shops were closed, so had to go halfsies on the frankincense. I giggled at that.

I probably would have rated this higher had I read it instead of listening to the audio. The authors,
...more
Bill Holmes
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, trivia
I've been perusing this one for awhile, as I find that trivia books are best absorbed in small doses. This is one of the better efforts in the genre, a little more erudite than some.

The format is essentially this:

"Here's a piece of trivia you thought you knew. But you're wrong, there's more to it than that. And while we're on the topic, here are a few more facts and observations that are sort of related to the original subject but perhaps not so much."

You'll learn, among other things, that Henr
...more
Nikki
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good for reading just a bit of before bed, palate-cleansing during frantic essay writing, or sitting down with for an hour straight, thinking 'just one more page'... I haven't actually seen much of the TV show, but I do follow @qikipedia and have heard my mother hooting away with mirth when watching the tv show. The book isn't as funny, most of the time, but it does succeed in being Quite Interesting.

It covers a lot of facts I've read elsewhere in other books (some of which I suspect of tak
...more
MARTI
Dec 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, trivia
Okuması hızlı ve keyifli bir kitap. Boş zaman doldurmak için ideal.
Abdulaziz Fagih
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
QI: The Book of General Ignorance (The Noticeably Stouter Edition)

As the Book name indicate this a general knowledge book I haven’t seen the show and I’m not sure I will. I got interested in this because I want something light to read as I was reading a lot and need some space and this book is an excellent idea to do that.

As of the content of the book it’s targeting the Native English speaking community misconceptions so if you are not native you might not have these misconceptions

In general:

-
...more
Serena.. Sery-ously?
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Se pensate che il motore a vapore sia stato inventato da James Watt (.. Pivello!), che il materiale più comune sulla terra sia l'ossigeno o l'azoto, che le possibilità di morire per un fulmine siano maggiori di quelle per un asteroide, che Fleming abbia scoperto la penicillina o vi chiedete perché le falene siano attratte dalla luce o di dove sia Babbo Natale (e no, non parliamo nemmeno dell'invenzione della Coca Cola!)..
ALLORA questo libro fa per voi!!!!

Mi sono divertita un sacco con alcune dom
...more
Louisa
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How many penises does an European earwig have?

Two. The European or Black earwig carries a special one in case the first one snaps off, which happens quite frequently.


I love trivia (cue me spending hours on Cracked.com). I especially love strange trivia. Penis trivia? Booyah!

This book was easy to get through too - one can pick it up at any point again to discover something new about the universe. I'm a huge fan of the TV series QI. Any lover of the Stephen-Fry-run quiz show should enjoy this, a
...more
Amer Alkharoubi
كتاب رائع .. يصحح كثير مما تعلمناه وقرأنا عنه في الصحف والمجلات أو حتى شاهدناه على التلفاز أو في الأفلام والمسلسلات

ليس أي شيء من العلوم الموجودة والمتناقلة بيننا وفي جامعاتنا ومدارسنا بالشيء القابل بالجزم ١٠٠ ٪ .. والكتاب يطرح حقائق ودراسات جميلة ومعلومات مفيدة

باختصار .. هي أسئلة يجاوب عليها بطريقة لطيفة وممتعة

كمجتمع عربي مسلم قد تكون هناك بعض الأسئلة التي ، باعتقادي ، أنها مجرد تعبئة مكان لأنها عبارة عن تصحيح لأساطير وقصص خيالية وخرافية هي أصلا غير صحيحة ولكنها مجرد وهم .. فما الفاىدة من تصحيح
...more
Rowena
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any fans of general knowledge
Recommended to Rowena by: Kirsty
Shelves: education
I watch the BBC's Quite Interesting comedy quiz show this book is based on (or is it the other way around?). After watching the show and reading this book, I want to know what exactly are we taught at school? So many misconceptions, for one. I found the book very interesting and also humourous. I definitely learned a lot of cool facts from it.
Tim
Feb 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: give as a gift to someone who doesn't read much
Great little book of snippets of facts that one is unlikely to know. In fact it is written in such a way that it often turns misconceptions on their head with a touch of humour at the same time.

The result is normally something like, "Oooh i didnt know that! Would you ever!"

A great book for keeping in the toilet as there are lots of little sections to be read stand alone ;)
Hunchback Jack
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic book that rises above mere trivia. GI combines urban legends, facts, factoids and wonderfully detailed explanations about everything.

A bit dense to read cover-to-cover, but great - dare I say it? - as an intelligent choice for the smallest room in the house.

With an index, it would be perfect. But that's a nitpick. The book of GI is fun and informative.
James
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Fun book full of interesting facts and unique snippets of information. I was finding it hard to dedicate a lot of time to reading each day, so this book was ideal, being divided into short, fascinating segments -- because I was picking the book up irregularly, it meant I was not constantly having to remind myself of where I left up. Overall a fun, light read.
Bronwen
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Bloody brilliant! One of the most fascinating books I have ever read. Highly enjoyable and highly recommended!
Emin
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
İnanılmaz albenisi olan bir kitap değil mi ya? İnsan ne kadar cahil olduğunu öğrenmek için bile alabilir. Tabii bu cehalet neye göre ölçülüyor orası ayrı konu.

Sırf kelime oyunu olan başlıklar da var içinde kitabın, yani bazı yanlış bildiklerimiz aslında yanlıştan ziyade eksik veya biraz farklı düşünmeyi gerektiriyor. Ayrıca hiçbir fikrimin olmadığı tarihsel başlıklara da sahipti, ki yeterince ilgimi çekmediklerinden atlayarak okudum onları. Hala haklarında pek bir fikre sahip değilim yani.

Üsteli
...more
Scott Klemm
John Lloyd and John Mitchinson’s book, The Book of General Ignorance, is an interesting collection of trivia. The subtitle on the book’s jacket says “Everything you think you know is wrong.” Each entry, a short page or page and a half, discusses some popular misconception covering such fields as history, botany, zoology, physics, geology, medicine, sports, etc. Some previous reviews have mentioned the lack of documentation. Undoubtedly, the vast array of topics would require endnotes nearly as l ...more
Fellini
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Отличная книга для чтения в метро, короткие статейки как будто специально рассчитаны на длину перегонов и эскалаторов. Куча интересных и бесполезных фактов обо всём на свете: от анатомии до истории Англии. Что-то мне уже было известно, о некоторых явлениях прочитала впервые, например, о хамелеонах, изменяющих цвет в зависимости от настроения, а не от окружающей среды. На очереди ещё "Книга животных заблуждений", предусмотрительно подаренная мною П. =)

Сборник дурацких фактов ниже:
==========
шампан
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Isaac Cooper
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
2.2 and a quarter out of 5.

This has got to be the most useless book I’ve ever read. It’s mostly quite interesting, I’ll give it that. I’ll also give it that it’s an infuriatingly pointless, and often times smug, self-satisfied book that even the most uptight Brit would surely be annoyed with. We all know the show QI, hosted by Stephen Fry and other comedians. It’s a funny, very entertaining show, mostly because it doesn’t condescend to the audience, and the panel members give the sometimes crazy
...more
Spencer
Nov 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the facts seem credible as far as i can tell. the book is culled from info off the bbc show QI.
did you know:
chameleons don't change color to match their background, they color change is based on their emotional state.
1/2 of humans who have ever died have been killed by mosquitoes.
moths aren't attracted to light, they are disoriented by it because they think it is the sun and they keep trying to course correct their flight path.
in the 1st edition of charlie and the chocolate factory, the oompa lo
...more
Steven Peterson
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a gimmick book--but a pleasant one at that. The front jacket matter includes the following comment that lays out the essence of this work: "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."

But the best way to give an idea of what this book is about is to lay out some of the questions and answers. Just enough to pique one's interest!

"Who said 'Let them eat
...more
Alex Jurado
I choose this book because it tells you the common mistakes people make when answering common questions you think you know the answer too. I find this book interesting because this tells me what to answer to people if they have a question like, "Where is the driest place on earth?' The answer to that question is Antartica. I thought it was the Sahara desert. It also makes me look smart. This book does not have a particular plot, other than to inform people. My favorite quote from this book is th ...more
Kendra
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Kendra by: Carolyn
I love, love, LOVE this book!

My kids and I have had a fabulous time finding out how wrong we have been about so many things, and it has come to be a matter of celebration when we manage to answer a question correctly. Who knew a chicken could live for about two years without its head? It makes sense that the healing properties of we call penicillin were discovered a very long time before Fleming. And I have to say that the truth behind the invention of the telephone came as quite a shock!

As a
...more
Amy
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
A glorious book by any standards. If you love knowing things, and love being amazed, then this book is for you. What this noticeably stouter version will tell you is that weird habits, behaviours and solid facts we all know are wrong and misreported. How is that not wonderful. There are so many little things that are technically correct or technically untrue. And also everything you know is wrong to some degree, simple as that.

I mean who knew that technically Henry VIII only had two wives. I mea
...more
Nayeli
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is too much, it really is too much. I got it because I like Stephen Fry's QI show and I saw he had written the foreword (Alan Davies wrote a "four word", the guy's hilarious). It took me about four months to get through it, I could never read more than 10 or 15 pages at once because there's just too much information... so I kept it as my backup book to read when I had nothing else to occupy myself with. I guess it's more of a "reference" book, if anything, but then again it does go off ...more
Richard
Jun 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Qi television series and the New Scientist's Last Word column
John Lloyd, one of the co-authors of this book seems to specialise in slightly frothy, snippet based books which can be read in tiny bite sized pieces (I refer the reader to The Meaning of Liff with Douglas Adams). In this case the book is a series of questions, many of which you probably think you know the answer to, but which you are then disavowed of.

For instance, what is the 'Ring a-ring a-Roses' about.

I, like most people thought it was about the Black Death (Bubonic Plague). But it dates ba
...more
Peter Wolfley
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love/hate books like this because on one hand you get your mind blown on every page and then on the other hand your entire universe is shattered because you start thinking every thing you ever knew is wrong.

Some of the gems include who is America really named after? Baseball wasn't invited in the United States. The earth has more than one moon. And many more amazing things that you can use to annoy strangers at parties and alienate all of your friends by correcting them in casual conversation
...more
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John Hardress Wilfred Lloyd CBE is a British comedy writer and television producer. Lloyd was Trinity College, Cambridge, where he befriended and later shared a flat with Douglas Adams. He worked as a radio producer at the BBC 1974–1978 and created The News Quiz, The News Huddlines, To The Manor Born (with Peter Spence) and Quote... Unquote (with Nigel Rees). He wrote Hordes of the Things with And ...more
More about John Lloyd...

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“People sometimes accuse me of knowing a lot. "Stephen," they say, accusingly, "you know a lot." This is a bit like telling a person who has a few grains of sand clinging to him that he owns much sand. When you consider the vast amount of sand there is in the world such a person is, to all intents and purposes, sandless. We are all sandless. We are all ignorant. There are beaches and deserts and dunes of knowledge whose existance we have never even guessed at, let alone visited.” 37 likes
“Read it wisely, Little One, for the power of ignorance is great.” 6 likes
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