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The Order of Things: Hierarchies, Structures & Pecking Orders for the Voraciously Curious [Paperback]

Barbara Ann Kipfer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 May 2009
"The Order of Things" collects and organizes the world into succinct, easy-to-read lists of sets and subsets, such as atmospheric layers, climate zones, Jupiter's satellites, Dante's levels of Hell, the Braille alphabet, U.S. Army and Navy rankings, and even what all those numbers mean at the bottom of bank checks. It's both a quick reference and an invaluable source for trivia nuts - with chapters on earth, life, and physical sciences; technology; mathematics & measurements; religion; world leaders; society & social institutions; business & economics; the arts; domestic life; sports & recreation; and general knowledge & philosophy. Never overwhelming, always charming, this isn't just another reference book, it's the reference book.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing (29 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761150447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761150442
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 10.4 x 3.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 801,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful if You Work with Taxonomies 3 Jun 2011
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
This book is a collection of facts organized into lists, outlines and other classification schemes. It has a few mundane lists, like the days of the week. But most of them won't be right there in your head when you need them. You can quickly find, for example, what gift is appropriate for each year of wedding anniversary or what different kinds of insurance there are.

Barbara Ann Kipfer's book is interesting to trivia enthusiasts, certainly. It is also useful to the small army of public school and college teachers who write their own multiple choice tests. A question about the geography of Nigeria, for example, is better if the incorrect alternatives mention other actual West African countries like Cameroon and Chad, instead of made-up country names or countries chosen randomly from memory. A reference like this book can help teachers ensure their tests are passed by students who know the facts, excluding those who are merely "test-wise." There are too many glibly-written test questions out there.

The book is also helpful to analysts who work in text analytics, developing knowledge taxonomies to mine and classify text documents. As this type of analysis becomes more accessible to non-specialists in market research and education, there is an increasing need for accessible information about the kind of "...hierarchies, structures, orders, classifications, branches, scales, divisions, successions, sequences [and] rankings" (p. xxiii) found in this book. The author has worked in the artificial intelligence field and perhaps anticipates this use of her book. I particularly recommend the book to my fellow users of the WordStat text analysis software--it's a good dictionary-building resource.

It's true that much of the book's information can be found through web searching. But don't underestimate the value of having it in one place, within reach, and verified by a responsible team of researchers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I learnt a lot 21 May 2013
By Alex
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are some accuracies I question but these are very minor.
I love this book especially when I'm bored. It's a fantastic way to educate yourself when you want to unwind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Order of Things 16 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an infinitely interesting little book, full of arcane facts. Great value for the probing mind.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Copy of This Book is a Must-Have in Every Household 24 Aug 2009
By Ismail Elshareef - Published on
I was both surprised and impressed at the amount of information that Kipfer was able to jam into this thick yet compact book. It's permanently stored in my nightstand drawer for easy access should a I get stuck remembering the five stages of grief or how to convert meters to feet or the name of the Cuban president between 1906-1909 (Cuba was under US rule in that period. Tidbit I learned from the book.)

That's not even scratching the surface. Do you want to know how many types of knives there are? It's got the answer. The names of the Seven Dwarfs? It's on page 464. The 14th French president and the 33rd State to join the US Union? It's there. The proper names for trees, bridges, lakes, human bones, columns, human bodies in all their shapes and sizes? Check the index.

The information is useful and at times overwhelming, but if it's measurable, belongs in a set, could be enumerated or classified, I assure you it's in this book. Get it today and start learning the order of things.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A List Apart 4 May 2009
By John B. Moss - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Order of Things: Hierarchies, Structures, and Pecking Orders - this book is organized by topic (The Earth, The Natural World, The Arts, Sports and Recreation, to name a few) and an Index is provided.

This book provides a serendipitous reference for browsing. There is a LOT of material covered in this book, but it is NOT an encyclopedia. The author has provided an admirable compilation of lists on a huge variety of topics as organized in the Table of Contents, and as such makes this book a welcome reference source for thousands of hard-to-find facts.

Use this book as a reference while enjoying its contents. I do.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, should be revised 8 Feb 2012
By AC - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Small facts, many lists. Fun to read. There are many errors though: some blatant omissions (lists head-of-states of many nations/empires but some obvious countries absent), lists that appear just in this book (try googling some of the more obscure ones), lists that are superficial and could be more complete in the same space allotted. Would benefit by citing sources. Waiting for a revision.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book review 31 Jan 2009
By M. Barrera - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This little book is chock full of information. There is all kinds of neat nuggets of trivia that cover just about every subject. Also a great reference, without having to surf the internet.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Answer all you questions! 17 Jan 2009
By D. J. Hernandez - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Okay maybe not all your questions, but this little book is packed with some great information. If you like history, games, and just some interesting facts about the world we live then this book is for you.
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