44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2008
Hodgman's book, like the man, is hysterical. I was fortunate to hear him speak in Brookline, MA (his hometown) and after he signed books. I then spent most of the night reading. And much to my family's annoyance, laughing. At 3:00 AM, laughter in a (mostly) sleeping house isn't good.
The section "How to become a famous minor television personality" is worth the price of the book by itself, It is everything you wanted to know about how Hodgman went from a literary agent and writer to a regular on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and his gig as "I'm a PC...". As you can imagine, there are many twists to the story including details pertaining to Battlestar Galactica, Justin Timberlake, American Airlines Admirals Club and other seemingly random people and places.
A clever touch is that the book doubles as a page-a-day-calendar (there is a date on each page with a date-specific bit of wisdom). After reading much of the book in one sitting last night, I realize I messed up. I should have had the book in the bathroom and read a single page each day while on the throne. Somehow I think Hodgman would appreciate that.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Let me make a prediction. As a writer, John Hodgman will be to poetry what Stephen King is to modern historical thought. Is that farcical? You bet. Okay, John Hodgman isn't a poet, and Stephen King while an unsurpassed author of horror fiction, isn't an author of history. One fact that isn't a farce, however, John Hodgman is simply brilliant as a writer of faux facts. From a humor point of view, I can't remember a book that I've enjoyed more than More Information than You Require.
Coming on the heels of Hodgman's unique The Areas of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require is in everyway a continuation of the earlier book; even continuing the numbering of the pages. By the way, More Information will stand on its own as a read, but for the uninformed reader the paging may throw them off. Where as Area's of My Expertise dealt with hobos and hobo names, More Information deals with mole men and mole men names and claims that even the iconic Thomas Jefferson had dealings with them. Brilliant! Other notable points that stand out: Today in History sections. What's the funniest bit? Racing hermit crabs! I'd like to think of something to compare The Areas of My Expertise and More Information than You Require to, but there simply isn't anything; like the cheese, they stand alone.
The English language is very precise. Terms like "genius" and "stunning" have very specific meanings. One of our communication problems today is that we're skewing the language with new uses/meanings for specific terms. Hodgman's More Information Than You Require is stunningly funny. It will entertain you for months or years to come. Is the book written by a genius? Only time will tell. I guess if Hodgman discovers how we can travel faster than the speed of light we could call him a genius. He is an intellect and he is certainly funny.
During this Presidential election year and especially because of the economic bad news, we need More Information than You Require.
This review was written on a PC for PC. I hope that's not a conflict of interest.
Peace to all.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2008
Simply put, this book (and its predecessor) is/are the epitome of COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE. I bought this book the day it came out, and the introduction alone was worth the full purchase price.
In addition to useful information on mole-men and gambling, this book also includes a helpful section on the presidents, past and future, as well as a brief exposition on how the glorious half-sultan of our nation is chosen.
The page-a-day calendar is also a handy feature, but I hope that the paperback edition has different facts, as buying the same calendar twice would be uneconomical. (You will have to buy the paperback edition, since the proper way to read a page-a-day calender is, of course, to rip out each page once you're done with it.)
All in all, this book is well worth any amount of money that you agree to pay for it, and should be on every shelf of the serious scholar.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2009
I was fascinated by John Hodgman's "Areas of My Expertise". His dry brand of humor wove a beautiful narrative in my mind. A story of a land filled with hoboes, monsters, and hook-handed presidents. A world where everything is more fantastic than in our typical mundane lives. Its as if I traveled to some bizarre dream-land, like Alice, Coraline, or so many other childish dreamers, but I was allowed one souvenier to remember that strange and wonderous place.
Here, however, Hodgman desprately wants lightening to strike twice. Unfortunatly it doesn't. With the incredible imagination of the first, here we have a disapointing retread of the same jokes. Here we have a book that takes a humorous style and makes it seem explotive and unoriginal. The problem is that it is neither! Hodgman harnessed his dry dead-pan approach to humor and forged something truly unique, but then he brought the document up again and replaced Hoboes with Molemen and sold it to the eagerly awaiting populace. I truly didn't feel this was worth my money and was dissapointed with the final product. Which is what happens from time to time. I can't say what I was hoping for with this book, nor can I say what can be done to improve it, but still it is painful to be let down in this way.
Be wary, shopper please, be wary.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did "The Areas of My Expertise." Maybe it's because the first book filled me with so much fake trivia that my brain can no longer handle it. Or maybe it's just because the joke is playing itself out?
The real gems are the fake trivia for each date published on each page.
Molemen are not better than hobos. Not any day.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2008
To the reviewer who recommended this book for Toilet reading, Please refer to page 346. You need time to savor this book. If you have to rush to get your bathroom knife you will not absorb the proper information from this remarkable book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2008
John Hodgman is hilarious in a wry kind of way. This is not a "book" as we normally think of books; it is as if a crazy comedian took over the editorial duties of a World Almanac before anyone could stop him. And Dick Van Patten owes him more than he can ever repay. We must now await Mr. Hodgman's daily calendar which surely will be on its way.
Excuse me but I believe that a hobo has just been abducted by a UFO piloted by William Taft and I need to get out of here...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2010
The genius of John Hodgman, both in this book and in his earlier book and in his appearances on the television's Daily Show (But not in his appearances shilling the overrated computers of a certain company) is that his expert stance is not entirely made-up. His two books show a lot of originality and a lot of mental work, which the man should be commended for, but the key here is that he uses actual facts and events as tangent points for his often laugh-out-loud points (and really self-consciously out loud not internet `lol' -don't read this on the bus if easily embarrassed). His using real-world referents makes the book one big in-joke that you may or may not get but when it hits it is golden. A big caveat for this text though is that he is more self-indulgent than before - he gets a lot/way too much mileage out of his status as a minor television personality. In the same vein, where in the last book he was obsessed with Hobos to the point where it was distracting and he even listed some 700 hobo names, here he does the same with mole-men. Again, there is a long list of names only this time it is for mole-men. Having learned my lesson I just scanned then skipped around and then skipped entirely. I suggest you do the opposite for this book.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2008
If you only know John Hodgman as the perennially outclassed PC of Apple's "Mac vs. PC" ads, you are missing so much of who he is. If your knowledge extends to his recurring role as resident expert of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," you're still only scratching the surface. And if you've gotten to his 2005 faux almanac "The Areas of My Expertise," you know he captures the title of the most oddly brilliant writer in literature today.
And if you haven't gotten to his new book "More Information Than You Require," shame on you. Once again, Hodgman has written a book filled with made-up facts on subjects ranging from gambling to presidential elections to how he plans to spend his enormous wealth. The book is a direct sequel to "The Areas of My Expertise" in every way: it begins exactly where that book left off (page 237), has the same format of lists/predictions/hoboes and is once again a book you can't read in public because everyone stares at you for laughing so hard.
The closest equivalents to Hodgman's fiction-masquerading-as-truth style are The Daily Show's "America: The Book" and Stephen Colbert's "I Am America (And So Can You!)," but his books avoid being limited to one area of study. His topics oscillate between counting how many United States presidents have had hooks for hands (eight), the best way to cook an owl (goat sacrifice is involved) and racing hermit crabs for money (the winning strategy is to use trained falcons against the competition).
In the hands of a lesser author these facts would fall apart into babble, but Hodgman - a Yale graduate and professional literary agent - has a rare gift for holding it all together. He admits at the beginning that every single fact in the book is one he made up himself, and then goes on to state each one in a matter-of-fact tone, even supplementing them with footnotes that call back to facts even more patently absurd.
The footnotes help hold his structure together, as does the addition of a "Today in History" feature where every page has an additional fact about what happened during that day. These facts are more random than the rest of the book, though it does contain an interesting narrative on raining teeth and dead frogs on two major American cities back in 1981.
The overlay of multiple facts in "More Information" also means that it has endless potential for re-reading, as - for example - you've likely been so caught up in learning that you cannot eat oysters in months that lack the letter "R" (their screaming months) you missed the note that Amelia Earhart and Quetzalcoatl sit on the blood thrones and will soon judge us all.
Special mention goes to Hodgman's section on the mysterious world of the mole-men, a follow-up to his previous anthropological study of hoboes (and the 700 accompanying hobo names that inspired the illustrations of [...]). It's the most cohesive of the sections, building a narrative that reveals how the mole-men not only collaborated with Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence, but they also access the surface world through Paris catacombs, ride a variety of hideous steeds such as dirt pumas and really like doing it "molely-style."
And of course, the book contains 700 mole-man names sure to inspire another illustrative website. I eagerly await seeing artistic renditions of names such as Drew Danglemites, Tremont Crawsalong and Nick Nolte.
It's prudent to start with "Expertise" (particularly to follow footnotes referring back to the first book) but doing so isn't essential to enjoying "More Information." In fact, nothing is essential to enjoying the book beyond simply opening it. It's as Hodgman has been writing down all the random late-night conversations you've ever had thanks to drugs or boredom or sleep deprivation, and compiled them into one whole text - except he's been far cleverer with it than you could ever hope to be.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2009
I'm not sure what more I can add to the brilliance of John Hodgman's works, other than, "More, please!"
I found 'MITYR' to be - as a whole - mroe entertaining than his previous faux-lmanac, 'The Areas of My Expertise,"' but that isn't to say that the book is wholly superb. I appear to be in quite a minority, but both the sections on the hobos ('TAoME') and mole-men ('MITYR') just sort of irritated me. Having to flip page after page of mole-man names was at least mitigated to some extent this time around by having extra "facts" about the mole-man society in the margins.
I particularly liked the inclusion of the "calendar pages" as they added interesting blurbs of randomness - which may or may not then either reference or be referenced later on in the book.
I have high hopes that Hogdman will continue past his plan of writing three of these sorts of books, if for no other reason that good comedy can be hard to come by.