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on 27 November 2012
If you enjoy the QI programme, you'll love this fantastic collection of the weird and the wonderful. I got it in the Kindle format for the bargain price of 20p and read it all the way through without stopping. Now I'm going through it again reading out loud to anyone who'll listen. One point is that this is probably better bought in the print format as it's the perfect coffee table book; your friends will enjoy dipping in - but they'll have trouble putting it down.
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on 4 November 2012
As a keen contestant in quizzes, I own a fair-sized selection of general 'trivia' books, and so it was with keen anticipation that I opened this book, the latest from the 'QI' stable. (I should make clear at the outset that I have met James Harkin, one of the writers, a couple of times, and correspond with him occasionally.)

The standard of 'QI' books has generally been high in the past (I was particularly fond of the now-discontinued series of annuals!) so I had high hopes for this. The presentation of the book is simple - the 1,227 facts are presented four to a page throughout the book. They are not explicitly divided into themes although at many points similar facts are collected together, or one fact relates somehow to the next. This works well and I found that reading the book cover-to-cover worked well - although of course, as with any work of this kind, the book can be dipped into as well.

The acid test of books of this kind lies in the choice of facts - too many such works trot out the usual chestnuts, reminding you for the 27th time that (e.g.) duelling is legal in Paraguay but only if the participants are registered blood donors. This book passes this test convincingly. Even for the dedicated trivia-lover, there are plenty of very novel facts in here and the bar has been set high in terms of quite-interestingness. I won't spoil the surprises by giving any examples but there are some real beauties in here.

All told, this would make an ideal stocking filler Christmas present for anyone interested in facts and trivia, and is one of the best books of this kind I have read - it's not as encyclopaedic as Mitchell Symons' 'This Book' trilogy, but the standard of interestingness is as high (if not higher).
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on 2 November 2012
Where else could you find out that Richard Gere's middle name is Tiffany? The joy of this book is that the facts are funny as well as clever, and it is a lot of fun reading them aloud to someone else. Perk up your Christmas Day by giving this to the cracker-joke bore in your family!
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on 24 December 2012
Reading this book I can't help wondering if the main reason for releasing it (and making it so cheap to ensure maximum readership) was so QI could cotinue to correct common assumptions by providing so many new ones! Now 20p may seem cheap but an incorrect fact isn't worth little - it's worth less than nothing.

I've no doubt they're are some interesting titbits in here but the problem is with it that it's time consuming to find out if they are true. Thankfully there is an online source checker (awkward to use as it requires you to end the page numbers, which aren't on the kindle version) and I checked the interesting fact that "50% more US Soldiers committed suicide in Afghanistan in 2012 than were killed in action". To my suprise The Guardian appeared to be the source of this, and I was thinking that I might have dig deeper to find where The Guardian had got its questionable data. Opening the link there was no need, as The Guardian article (actually the headline alone did) disproved the very thing that sourced it, the 50% greater suicides are from the entire active US service, compared with combat deaths in Afghanistan alone. Still the number of suicide sounded pretty high, but then less than 5 mins of checking and using a calculator revealed that, actually, the suicide rate in the US military is the same as the normal population - that might not be interesting, but it is true.

Now I'll see if 10% of football injuries really are caused by goal celebrations and the average science paper is read by 0.6 people...
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on 6 November 2012
This book is another success in the canon of QI, did you know for example: that a carrier pigeon is faster than a fax over a distance of a mile, or that the 'g spot' was nearly called the 'whipple tickle'? Can be read cover to cover, or dipped into if one has a spare few minutes and is just as satisfying. I am, as you would expect, now thoroughly sockless.
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on 1 September 2013
What a load of absolute bollocks. Are we supposed to believe this stuff? "The centre of the galaxy tastes like raspberries"?
If you're a scientist or understand science, don't buy this, you'll end up shouting at your Kindle. Here's a prize one "The universe is shaped like a vuvuzela"
Talk about dumbed down! This is dumbed down to amoeba level. Don't waste your money
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on 22 November 2012
I was rather expecting this to be more like the QI "books of general ignorance" - an interesting factoid or question answered thoroughly.

It isn't - as others have said, it seems like it would an an excellent "loo" book, as it's possible to read just one fact or several dozen.

Each fact is stated as simply as possible, with some enjoyable thematic groupings from one fact to the next, but there is no backing up or explanation of each one. For that one must access the sources page online, itself a selection of entertaining and intriguing websites.

Overall I found it very enjoyable, even though it wasn't really what I was expecting it to be.
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on 1 November 2012
A must for any fan of QI, but equally accessible to anyone - full of delightfully unexpected (as well as some downright bizarre) facts. It was great to discover, for instance, the location of the Dyslexia Research Centre, or what the international dialling code for Russia is. Distills the quirky wit of the TV show into a great read. Online source list is a nice addition for the curious.
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on 14 April 2013
This book is currently (April 2013) stated to be "#1 Best Seller in Amazing Facts" on Amazon.

I think this is likely due to the Kindle version recently being available for 20p, as opposed to the full price of £5+. 20p is what I paid for it, and is about what I think it is worth.

It is not what I expected - simply a long list of "Quite Interesting" facts, but with no further explanation or comment. Based on the TV show, I assumed that each entry would be lengthier than it is. As such, the book is Quite Boring, as reading "fact" after "fact" is tedious, without any context.

And yes, I put that word in quotes, as some of the "facts" are wrong. It asserts that St Christopher is not a saint, whereas he is (the confusion comes from the Catholic church removing his day of celebration, but not the saint himself).

Similarly the claim that "The universe is shaped like a pringle" is also completely wrong. The research they refer to here proposes that the universe is horn-shaped, and in explaining this says "If you look at any little piece of the horn, it is saddle-shaped like a Pringles potato chip" - which describes only "any little piece of the horn", not the universe as a whole. So the QI elves have taken a theory (not a fact), and then totally misquoted it so it doesn't bear any truth whatsoever!

These are just two of several "facts" that I just happened to know were wrong, from my own knowledge; but it then made me wary of trusting anything else the book said, without qualification or explanation.

Reading other reviews, there are lots of people raving about this book, who think it is good. So my advice for anyone contemplating it is that they should read the first few pages - either online or as a Kindle sample; so they know what they are getting; if this seems like fun to them, and if they are not worried that the "facts" might not be true, then go ahead and buy it. However, if you prefer your facts to be actually factual, and with some kind of qualification or comment, I'd advise you to skip this piece of nonsense.
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on 3 March 2013
Just started reading this as I'm interested in strange facts. A couple of them seemed so weird I decided to research to find out the details ie: why St Christopher is no longer a Saint. But the fact is he IS . Then the one about gerbils ARE used in airport security to detect adrenalin to counter terrorism. Gerbils were tried out in Israel airports in 1970 but discontinued as they couldn't tell the difference between terrorists and those afraid of flying.
Sadly after looking up just these 2 facts and finding they're not strictly true I've lost faith in reading any more.
Maybe I've missed the point and its meant to be tongue in cheek and not accurate. ??? Glad I didn't have to pay a lot for it or I'd want my money back. !
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