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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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on 21 May 2013
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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on 16 June 2010
This is an infinitely interesting little book, full of arcane facts. Great value for the probing mind.
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