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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Provocative Collection
A co-worked once took a public pot-shot at me by declaring that I was "a font of useless information". Fortunately for me, the information that she decried as "useless" was the knowledge needed to resolve a critical customer issue. This tendency to collect statistics and obscure "rules-of-thumb" like a black sweater collects lint is a side effect of my engineering...
Published on June 18, 2007 by J. Griffith

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many mistakes
I love this kind of book, but this one contains far too many errors. If there are errors I know, I have to wonder how many other mistakes there are.
It could be a great book but the editor should have carried out a lot more fact checking
Published on January 17, 2008 by Adrian M. Davies


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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many mistakes, January 17, 2008
I love this kind of book, but this one contains far too many errors. If there are errors I know, I have to wonder how many other mistakes there are.
It could be a great book but the editor should have carried out a lot more fact checking
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Book of Erroneous Information, September 5, 2011
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I picked this up somewhere as a suitable addition to the reading matter in the smallest room. Unfortunately it turns out that it belongs there in more ways than one. Full of errors and typos. I'm surprised that it is published by Penguin: they used to be a reputable house.

Samples: "a baby robin eats fourteen feet of worms a day" - come on! (It seems to be actually 14 feet during the two-week nesting period before it becomes independent. That is at least conceivable.)

The Arctic tern is described as "swimming" from north to south of the planet on its migration.
New Zealand is referred to as "an island."

New Guinea's more than 700 languages are said to be "a third" of the world's known languages. More like 10%.

The longest creature in the world is a kind of jellyfish - no it's not, it's an amazing, skinny "ribbon worm."

Plenty of English errors: "a roller-skating ring" for "rink." Making Tabasco sauce involves a lot of salt that is "defused" through a barrel. Good job it didn't explode! (Of course "defused" vs. "diffused" is a common error both ways.") They have the usual American total illiteracy when it comes to accented letters: "Thèrése" for "Thérèse."

I just can't bring myself to start checking the section on British royalty - who knows what lurks in there.

Still...I do give it two stars, largely for the wonderful quotes in the "Words of Wisdom" section. Quite a lot are recognisable and others sound all too plausible! Wonderful what comes out of people's mouths when they aren't careful- or even when they think they are!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Factually Inaccurate, March 17, 2012
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Richard Loesch (Buffalo Grove, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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The book should come with a disclaimer: for entertainment purposes only - nothing in this book should be considered factually accurate. Henry Ford not having a driver's license - False, there are pictures of it at [...]. An Al Gore quote of "I invented the Internet" - False, this is an urban legend that is even acknowledged by Wikipedia [...].

I know this is supposed to be for entertainment, but I thought the useless information would at least be accurate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One apple taints the barrel, April 11, 2011
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When the book includes the fact that the last man walked on the moon in 1979, you have to doubt the rest.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Fact Book... Without the Facts!, May 22, 2008
I usually love this kind of "odd fact" book, but "The Ultimate Book of Useless Information" is nothing short of a train wreck. I noticed right away that even for a book of random facts, the sections are poorly written with almost no continuity or interesting detail. More importantly, though, it takes only a few minutes for someone of even average intelligence to spot errors that are so glaringly obvious, one wonders just what kind of rock this alleged author crawled out from.

For example, the author states that if the ice caps melted, the oceans would not rise! Why? According to the author, because water takes up the same amount of space whether it's frozen or not. OK, that would be true if the ice caps were just floating on the surface of the ocean, but they're not. Since much of the ice is on land, when it melts, it will run off into the ocean, thus raising the ocean level. Whew, that's a pretty big blunder for an author, not to mention a publishing house.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Provocative Collection, June 18, 2007
By 
J. Griffith (Reading, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A co-worked once took a public pot-shot at me by declaring that I was "a font of useless information". Fortunately for me, the information that she decried as "useless" was the knowledge needed to resolve a critical customer issue. This tendency to collect statistics and obscure "rules-of-thumb" like a black sweater collects lint is a side effect of my engineering training, where we constantly need to guage the scale of problems long before we have conceived of a solution. For example, if I'm being asked to design a satellite ground station, how long will a satellite be visible to the antenna? If it takes longer than this period of time to receive a message, I shouldn't even consider starting the design process. Failing to take a few minutes to do this calculation could cost a company tens of millions of dollars.

While most of the information in this book is, by itself, nearly useless, reading the book encourages the reader to see the world in a new way. For example, if film companies will produce 811,000 or so defective rolls of film a single year, and I have never in 40 years of picture taking used a single defective roll of film, can I conclude that this number of defective rolls reflects a miniscule failure rate? If the failure rate is very, very small, just think of the resources being consumed to make all of the film we use because we must make (and by implication, consume) a hugh amount of it.

So, read the book to enjoy the details, but then take a moment to ponder why a detail exists. Once you do, you'll appreciate a much broader view of the world in which we live.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Guess someone wants me to see things differently., July 8, 2014
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This review is from: The Ultimate Book of Useless Information: A Few Thousand More Things You Might Need to Know ( But ProbablyDon't) (Kindle Edition)
I liked the fact that the book has sections, making finding things you're in the mood for so much easier. And then that political section was a scream!

It makes you smile in places, even if you can't laugh right now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Trivia, June 20, 2014
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The whole series is goofy fun. Trivia for days, these books are great for car trips and have enough different sections to grab anyone's interest.
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3.0 out of 5 stars another useless book, February 15, 2014
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same comments as for others in the series, a fun read, but annoying that no explanations are given for simple declarative statements
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great for kids that hate to read, January 29, 2014
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Interesting bathroom reader for kids and adults alike. Its full of Tidbits of information not usually found anywhere. I bought it for a boy that hates to read
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