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Extended Audio Sample The Book of General Ignorance Audiobook, by John Mitchinson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,324 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Mitchinson, John Lloyd Narrator: John Mitchinson, John Lloyd Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2008 ISBN: 9780739370681
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Think Magellan was the first man to circumnavigate the globe, baseball was invented in America, Henry VIII had six wives, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain? Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

Misconceptions, misunderstandings, and flawed facts finally get the heave-ho in this humorous, downright humiliating book of reeducation based on the phenomenal British bestseller. Challenging what most of us assume to be verifiable truths in areas like history, literature, science, nature, and more, 

The Book of General Ignorance is a witty “gotcha” compendium of how little we actually know about anything. It’ll have you scratching your head wondering why we even bother to go to school.

Revealing the truth behind all the things we think we know but don’t, this book leaves you dumbfounded about all the misinformation you’ve managed to collect during your life, and sets you up to win big should you ever be a contestant on Jeopardy! or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Besides righting the record on common (but wrong) myths like Captain Cook discovering Australia or Alexander Graham Bell inventing the telephone, The Book of General Ignorance also gives us the skinny on silly slipups to trot out at dinner parties (Cinderella wore fur, not glass, slippers and chicken tikka masala was invented in Scotland, not India).

Thomas Edison said that we know less than one millionth of one percent about anything: this book makes us wonder if we know even that much.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Trivia buffs and know-it-alls alike will exult to find so much repeatable wisdom gathered in one place.
    New York Times
  • The Book of General Ignorance won’t make you feel dumb. It’s really a call to be more curious. The Associated Press
  • Ignorance may be bliss, but so is learning surprising information. Hartford Courant
  • You, too, can banish social awdwardness by having its endless count of facts and factoids at the ready. Or you could just read it and keep what you learned to yourself. Betcha can’t. New York Daily News
  • To impress friends with your cleverness, beg, borrow or buy John Lloyd and John Mitchinson’s The Book of General Ignorance, an extraordinary collection of 230 common misperceptions compiled for the BBC panel game QI (Quite Interesting). Financial Times
  • This book would make even Edison feel small and silly, for it offers answers to questions you never thought to ask or had no need of asking as you already knew, or thought you knew, the answer. The Economist
  • Trivia books, like any kind of mental or physical addiction, are both irresistible and unsatisfying. By the standards of the genre, this one has something approaching the force of revelation. Answering silly questions suddenly seems less important than taking the trouble to ask a few. Melbourne Age
  • Eye-watering, eyebrow-raising, terrific . . . moving slightly faster than your brain does, so that you haven’t quite absorbed the full import of one blissful item of trivial information before two or three more come along. Such fine and creative research genuinely deserves to be captured in print. Daily Mail
  • This UK bestseller redefines ‘common knowledge’ with factoids that will inform and entertain (or at least liven up your next cocktail party). OK! Magazine

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Billy Terrier | 2/3/2014

    " Got to give this 5 stars really, simply because for some crazy reason you remember everything you read in this book - giving you the ability to annoy even more people with your knowledge and totally ruin conversations about Kim Kardashian or what happened on Eastenders and did you see dancing on ice. This book can and will make you an oddball - love it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betsy | 1/14/2014

    " Hilarious and educational. Can it get any better? I love QI! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric | 1/13/2014

    " Fun little snippets about things we thought we knew. Put it in your coffee table book rotation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bret Watson | 1/9/2014

    " A lot of panning for a few gold nuggets. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Timothy Schirmer | 12/12/2013

    " Absolutely loving this little book. I pick it up whenever I'm bored. Tons of juicy little facts that will amaze you packed into this jem. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 12/7/2013

    " Great book of Trivia! Learned a lot from this book. It was good in that the answers to all the questions were short and concise. A great read at only 250 pages!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 11/28/2013

    " A funny, enlightening book about facts you thought you knew but it turns out you really don't. I've only ever watched QI a few times but thought this was a much better way to get all the information. On to volume 2! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miki | 11/25/2013

    " The best toilet reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sophia | 9/29/2013

    " This book was so funny! It was mostly facts though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 9/4/2013

    " Overall a great book but I found some of the facts to be a bit random and would have liked some more stuff about people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sean | 8/31/2013

    " Covers what we think we know and what the real truth is. A fun little book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tina | 6/19/2013

    " "This book will make you feel very small and silly." Is what it says on the inside cover, and it does. But you learn the truth of all those things you thought were truths that were only myths. Read this book, and you can make others feel small and silly....maybe even win a few game shows! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 5/28/2013

    " Great book, full of intresting facts that inform you of the truth behind the "truths" we have always thought to be true. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 HBalikov | 4/1/2013

    " Bathroom reading this might be, but you can learn a lot in a few minutes and the writer's style is engaging. Learn the criteria for the most dangerous animal, hardest material, tallest mountain. Trivia in many cases, but it is stuff you can use. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennie | 1/28/2013

    " I learned a whole lot and got more than a few chuckles out of it! It's a really good book to read during work breaks because each subject is no more than a page or two. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Célia | 9/20/2012

    " Livro indicado para curiosos. Gostei de ficar a saber algumas curiosidades :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hristina | 4/30/2012

    " Loved it. Fun and entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 4/2/2012

    " I thought this book was quite interesting, no pun intended. It lost me at the very end though as it was more focused on English/British things. I think I might see if I can find an episode of QI and see what it's like now that I've read this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeta | 10/24/2011

    " It is a fast read to update the primary school knowledge... and peppered by Stephen Fry's humor "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 angrykitty | 8/30/2011

    " i really enjoyed this book, that is exactly what its title says. nothing useful, but still entertaining. i didn't even know about this book until kevin smith was talking about it on his smodcast.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jordan | 7/25/2011

    " It is a great book. Teaching you all the things you thought you knew, just like it says on the cover. With humor and extra (and even more!) interesting information. I for one did not get bored. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin Aston Hoey | 5/12/2011

    " Great light reading about factoids and supposedly commonly held knowledge that we mostly have wrong. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josie | 2/13/2011

    " I dipped into this book in a bored moment and ended up reading the whole thing, haha. Is it mean to say that I was kind of amused by how many spelling mistakes/grammatical errors there were, given the subject of the book? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 1/30/2011

    " Delightful. A breath of fresh air for people who are afraid that their foibles, faults and failures will prevent them from contributing positively to the future of the human race. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Penny | 12/7/2010

    " Well - it amuses but does not command - have not got through and perhaps never will. No regrets however. "

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