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QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance [Hardcover]

John Lloyd , John Mitchinson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
Price: £10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Oct 2010 Qi

Who made the first aeroplane flight? How many legs does an octopus have? How much water should you drink every day? What is the chance of tossing a coin and it landing on heads? What happens if you leave a tooth in a glass of coke overnight? What is house dust mostly made from? What colour are oranges? Who in the world is most likely to kill you? What was the first dishwasher built to do?

John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, the brains behind QI, here present a wonderful collection of the most outrageous, fascinating and mind-bending facts, taking on the popular General Ignorance round from BBC1's top rated quiz and the first book in the bestselling series.

And whatever your answers to the questions above, you can be sure that everything you think you know is wrong.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition edition (7 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571269656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571269655
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This is pretty much the most cheerful book you could ever read.' --Evening Standard --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

At last! The sequel to the phenomenal international bestseller The Book of General Ignorance, with, as ever, a foreword by Stephen Fry.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Second Book of General Ignorance 30 Nov 2010
This new offering is another piece of wry loveliness from the guys at QI (whose lunchtime chat is a fearsome thing to imagine). It's teeming with lots of genuinely interesting snippets, some of the more disgusting - I'll be honest - I wish I hadn't read, and some of which still make me giggle days after I've read them.

What it manages really well - surprisingly so in a book that's essentially, well, about facts - is to maintain a rip-rattling pace, even while shifting topic with such frequency. It's very easy, for example, to get sucked into a bit about, say, how elephants get drunk, and not emerge until you've been firmly put in your place about the effect cracking your knuckles really has (if you're thinking arthritis you're - surprise surprise - wrong). For me, it also achieves the rare feat of making scientific stuff interesting ... if only my biology teacher at school had used this as a textbook.

The writing is superb, striking a note somewhere between authoritative and gently mocking. One of my favourite bits is from the article on absinthe:

"The active ingredient in wormwood is thujone .... [it] can be dangerous in high doses and does have a mild psychoactive effect, but not at the 10 milligrams per litre concentration that most absinthe contains. Sage, tarragon and Vicks VapoRub all contain similar levels of thujone, but no one has yet linked them to depraved behaviour."

Brilliant. If that raised a giggle - even a slight one - you'll love this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and conversation piece 17 Nov 2010
I sent this book to my lovely son-in-law. He loved it and often uses quotes from it when giving presentations (to lighten the atmosphere). Amusing and clever.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Facts! A great book! 8 Oct 2010
The QI Second book of general Ignorance is fantastic! a great follow-up to the 1st one. Its packed with more ignorance and has funny little quotes from the series as well! a great read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars General Brilliance 30 Nov 2010
As Stephen Fry explains in the preface, this book isn't about becoming a smug little know-it-all at social functions. It's a celebration of the greatest human quality there is - curiosity. Except that of course, once you have pocketed a handful of the nuggets inside, however quenched your curiousness is, you do also feel a little smug. And why not.

Intricately researched, and penned in a fluffy, yet cerebral tone, The Second Book Of General Ignorance is brilliant. Considering its richness in facts, it's amazing how quickly you can get through it, and this is in no small way due to the masterly writing style of Messrs. Lloyd and Mitchinson. A clever little trick they've employed is to link seemingly tenuous facts, so that you can be taken from a section about Genghis Khan, to one on nosebleeds, without feeling you've jumped anywhere at all.

One more thing that's great about it is that I was reading the whole thing with the voice of Stephen Fry in my head. Whether this is intentional or not, I don't know. But it certainly worked for me.

I Can't recommend this book enough. Get it as a Christmas present for people. Or if the only people you know are 'dull torpid acedia', buy it for yourself.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've a dinner party of people to inform that Steamboat Willie was not Mickey Mouse's first film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Gift Idea 25 April 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I brought this book as a birthday present for my father, a typical example of a man who had everything. He loved it, infact the whole family loved it, as we held a "made at home" version of QI, with my father, armed with this book, acting as Stephan Fry.

The success of the book means its definately a winning present for awkard people, or any QI or general knowledge fan. It also is a great buy for yourself of course, and who ever you get it for, they will enjoy it immensley!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs proof-reading 26 Jan 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I love QI, so I was expecting to read some interesting facts here, but the question about the Mediterranean Sea threw up an immediate red flag. Can the Mediterranean really swallow up Western Europe at a mere 2,500 square kilometres (965 square miles)? A quick check on Wikipedia shows that the Med is actually 2.5 MILLION square km, or 965,000 sq miles....

I'm wondering now if I have to double check every fact in there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant...... 18 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
....or should I say - accomplished, acute, astute, brainy, bright, clever, discerning, eggheaded, expert, genius, gifted, ingenious, intellectual, inventive, knowing, knowledgeable, masterly, penetrating, profound, quick, quick-witted, sharp, smart.........

Book 1 was excellent and this second edition QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance: Everything you think you know is "Still" wrong continues where it left off - BUY, BUY, BUY.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you are a fan of QI then this sideways look at what we THINK we know is another must-buy.

I had the previous Book of General Ignorance given to me twice by well meaning relatives, after having bought it myself. So I refrained from buying this second book being certain it would arrive in a Christmas wrapping. Happy days, I've just finished enjoying my first sprint through it, and I steadfastly resisted the overwhelming temptation to read out bits of it to the rest of the family. I'll not see it now for a few days while the others read it too.

The format is exactly as anyone familiar with QI might expect, for example there is a section entitled 'What colour are Oranges?' and it will come as no surprise to a QI aficionado that most oranges are green, so are lemons, mangoes, tangerines and grapefruit... The secret lies with ethylene, and the two Johns (Lloyd and Mitchinson) take almost two pages to fill in the many details showing us how and why.

The five Contents pages list the articles, and the eighteen page Index at the tail of the book allows quick searches for items one might want to find again - to show to others who don't believe the 'wild' assertions one might make after having read the book.

Here and there it is genuinely funny, but most of the time it is more intriguing and one is left with the feeling of having learnt something useful, and surprisingly interesting. It is excellent for dipping into since each article is complete and stands on its own; perfect for the bus or Tube or an evening of boring telly.

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