Because you read
From the actor who somehow lived through it all, a “sharply detailed…funny book about a cinematic comedy of errors” (The New York Times): the making of the cult film phenomenon The Room.
In 2003, an independent film called The Room—starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau—made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Ten years later, it’s an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons.
Hailed by The Huffington Post as “possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed,” The Disaster Artist is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Greg Sestero, Tommy’s costar, recounts the film’s bizarre journey to infamy, explaining how the movie’s many nonsensical scenes and bits of dialogue came to be and unraveling the mystery of Tommy Wiseau himself. But more than just a riotously funny story about cinematic hubris, “The Disaster Artist is one of the most honest books about friendship I’ve read in years” (Los Angeles Times).
The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath.
Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.
“Schlosser has a flair for dazzling scene-setting and an arsenal of startling facts . . . Fast Food Nation points the way but, to resurrect an old fast food slogan, the choice is yours.”—Los Angeles Times
In 2001, Fast Food Nation was published to critical acclaim and became an international bestseller. Eric Schlosser’s exposé revealed how the fast food industry has altered the landscape of America, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and transformed food production throughout the world. The book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat and helped to launch today’s food movement.
In a new afterword for this edition, Schlosser discusses the growing interest in local and organic food, the continued exploitation of poor workers by the food industry, and the need to ensure that every American has access to good, healthy, affordable food. Fast Food Nation is as relevant today as it was a decade ago. The book inspires readers to look beneath the surface of our food system, consider its impact on society and, most of all, think for themselves.
“As disturbing as it is irresistible . . . Exhaustively researched, frighteningly convincing . . . channeling the spirits of Upton Sinclair and Rachel Carson.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Schlosser shows how the fast food industry conquered both appetite and landscape.”—The New Yorker
Eric Schlosser is a contributing editor for the Atlantic and the author of Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Chew on This (with Charles Wilson).
In little more than half a decade, Facebook has gone from a dorm-room novelty to a company with 500 million users. It is one of the fastest growing companies in history, an essential part of the social life not only of teenagers but hundreds of millions of adults worldwide. As Facebook spreads around the globe, it creates surprising effects—even becoming instrumental in political protests from Colombia to Iran.
Veteran technology reporter David Kirkpatrick had the full cooperation of Facebook’s key executives in researching this fascinating history of the company and its impact on our lives. Kirkpatrick tells us how Facebook was created, why it has flourished, and where it is going next. He chronicles its successes and missteps, and gives readers the most complete assessment anywhere of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the central figure in the company’s remarkable ascent. This is the Facebook story that can be found nowhere else.
How did a nineteen-year-old Harvard student create a company that has transformed the Internet and how did he grow it to its current enormous size? Kirkpatrick shows how Zuckerberg steadfastly refused to compromise his vision, insistently focusing on growth over profits and preaching that Facebook must dominate (his word) communication on the Internet. In the process, he and a small group of key executives have created a company that has changed social life in the United States and elsewhere, a company that has become a ubiquitous presence in marketing, altering politics, business, and even our sense of our own identity. This is the Facebook Effect.
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.
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. You’ll be surprised at how much you don’t know! Check out THE BOOK OF GENERAL IGNORANCE for more fun entries and complete answers to the following:
How long can a chicken live without its head?
About two years.
What do chameleons do?
They don’t change color to match the background. Never have; never will. Complete myth. Utter fabrication. Total Lie. They change color as a result of different emotional states.
How many legs does a centipede have?
Not a hundred.
How many toes has a two-toed sloth?
It’s either six or eight.
Who was the first American president?
What were George Washington’s false teeth made from?
What was James Bond’s favorite drink?
Not the vodka martini.
From the Hardcover edition.
As a prisoner of war, Andrew Jackson walked several miles barefoot across state lines while suffering from smallpox and a serious head wound received when he refused to polish the boots of the soldiers who had taken him captive. He was thirteen years old. A few decades later, he became the first popularly elected president and served the nation, pausing briefly only to beat a would-be assassin with a cane to within an inch of his life. Theodore Roosevelt had asthma, was blind in one eye, survived multiple gunshot wounds, had only one regret (that there were no wars to fight under his presidency), and was the first U.S. president to win the Medal of Honor, which he did after he died. Faced with the choice, George Washington actually preferred the sound of bullets whizzing by his head in battle over the sound of silence.
And now these men—these hallowed leaders of the free world—want to kick your ass.
Plenty of historians can tell you which president had the most effective economic strategies, and which president helped shape our current political parties, but can any of them tell you what to do if you encounter Chester A. Arthur in a bare-knuckled boxing fight? This book will teach you how to be better, stronger, faster, and more deadly than the most powerful (and craziest) men in history. You’re welcome.
YOU MIGHT BE A ZOMBIE…
You're going to wish you never picked up this book.
Some facts are too terrifying to teach in school. Unfortunately, Cracked.com is more than happy to fill you in:
* A zombie apocalypse? It could happen. 50% of humans are infected with a parasite that can take over your brain.
* The FDA wouldn't let you eat bugs, right? Actually, you might want to put down those jelly beans. And that apple. And that strawberry yogurt.
* Think dolphins are our friends? Then these sex-crazed thrill killers of the sea have you right where they want you.
* The most important discovery in the history of genetics? Francis Crick came up with it while on LSD.
* Think you're going to choose whether or not to buy this book? Scientists say your brain secretly makes all your decisions 10 seconds before you even know what they are.
If you’re a fan of The Oatmeal or Frak.com and hate being wrong about stuff, you’ll love what you find in YOU MIGHT BE A ZOMBIE from the twisted minds at Cracked.
Adapted from Decoded, Meltzer’s hit show on the HISTORY network, History Decoded explores fascinating, unexplained questions. Is Fort Knox empty? Why was Hitler so intent on capturing the Roman “Spear of Destiny”? What’s the government hiding in Area 51? Where did the Confederacy’s $19 million in gold and silver go at the end of the Civil War? And did Lee Harvey Oswald really act alone? Meltzer sifts through the evidence; weighs competing theories; separates what we know to be true with what’s still—and perhaps forever—unproved or unprovable; and in the end, decodes the mystery, arriving at the most likely solution. Along the way we meet Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Nazi propagandists, and the real DB Cooper.
At the beginning of each story is a custom-designed envelope—a faux 19th-century leather satchel, a U.S. government classified file—containing facsimiles of relevant evidence: John Wilkes Booth’s alleged unsigned will, a map of the Vatican, Kennedy’s death certificate. The whole is a riveting, interactive adventure through the compelling world of mysteries and conspiracies.
With five previous books and more than 1.5 million copies sold, The Darwin Awards is a pop culture phenomenon. Honoring those who improve the species by accidentally removing themselves from it, The Darwin Awards countdown (to human extinction) is well under way-and we won't exit this mortal coil without one last laugh. In The Darwin Awards Countdown to Extinction, readers will find all-new stories chronicling humans who step onto the lowest rung on the evolutionary ladder, including:
? Nine no's with power tools
? Eight ways to incinerate yourself
? Seven safety warnings you should not ignore
? Six romance tips for "safe" sex...
Featuring illustrations and brilliant science-of-evolution essays, this latest volume of The Darwin Awards enumerates just how uncommon common sense still is.
Jennings takes readers on a world tour of geogeeks from the London Map Fair to the bowels of the Library of Congress, from the prepubescent geniuses at the National Geographic Bee to the computer programmers at Google Earth. Each chapter delves into a different aspect of map culture: highpointing, geocaching, road atlas rallying, even the “unreal estate” charted on the maps of fiction and fantasy. He also considers the ways in which cartography has shaped our history, suggesting that the impulse to make and read maps is as relevant today as it has ever been.
From the “Here be dragons” parchment maps of the Age of Discovery to the spinning globes of grade school to the postmodern revolution of digital maps and GPS, Maphead is filled with intriguing details, engaging anecdotes, and enlightening analysis. If you’re an inveterate map lover yourself—or even if you’re among the cartographically clueless who can get lost in a supermarket—let Ken Jennings be your guide to the strange world of mapheads.
--San Francisco Examiner
For thousands of years, women have asked themselves: What is the deal with guys, anyway? What are they thinking? The answer, of course, is: virtually nothing. Deep down inside, guys are extremely shallow.
But that has not stopped Dave Barry from writing an entire book about them. If you're a guy--or if you're attempting to share a remote control with one--you need this book, because it deals frankly and semi-thoroughly with such important guy issues as:
The role of guys in world history, including the heretofore-unknown relationship between the discovery of North America and golf
Why the average guy can remember who won the 1960 World Series, but not necessarily the names of all his children
The Noogie Gene
Why guys cannot simultaneously think and look at breasts
Secret guy orgasm-delaying techniques, including the Margaret Thatcher Method
Why guys prefer to believe that there is no such thing as a prostate
And much, much more
"Whether you're a guy--or attempting to share a bathroom with one--Barry has some wacky words of wisdom for you."
From the Trade Paperback edition.
What would happen if you took a swim outside a deep-sea submarine wearing only a swimsuit? How long could you last if you stood on the surface of the sun? How far could you actually get in digging a hole to China? Paul Doherty, senior staff scientist at San Francisco’s famed Exploratorium Museum, and writer Cody Cassidy explore the real science behind these and other fantastical scenarios, offering insights into physics, astronomy, anatomy, and more along the way.
Is slipping on a banana peel really as hazardous to your health as the cartoons imply? Answer: Yes. Banana peels ooze a gel that turns out to be extremely slippery. Your foot and body weight provide the pressure. The gel provides the humor (and resulting head trauma).
Can you die by shaking someone’s hand? Answer: Yes. That’s because, due to atomic repulsion, you’ve never actually touched another person’s hand. If you could, the results would be as disastrous as a medium-sized hydrogen bomb.
If you were Cookie Monster, just how many cookies could you actually eat in one sitting? Answer: Most stomachs can hold up to sixty cookies, or around four liters. If you eat or drink more than that, you’re approaching the point at which the cookies would break through the lesser curvature of your stomach, and then you’d better call an ambulance to Sesame Street.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The first installment in Giles Milton's outrageously entertaining series, History's Unknown Chapters: colorful and accessible, intelligent and illuminating, Milton shows his customary historical flair as he delves into the little-known stories from the past.
There's the cook aboard the Titanic, who pickled himself with whiskey and survived in the icy seas where most everyone else died. There's the man who survived the atomic bomb in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And there's many, many more.
Covering everything from adventure, war, murder and slavery to espionage, including the stories of the female Robinson Crusoe, Hitler's final hours, Japan's deadly balloon bomb and the emperor of the United States, these tales deserve to be told.
More useless than ever before! Impress know-it-all friends with this all-new hodgepodge of frivolous facts and silly statistics that no one really needs to know. But honestly, how cool is it to find out that...
? There is a place in Maryland called Monkey's Eyebrow
? Giving yellow flowers is a sign of bad luck in Russia
? One brow wrinkle is the result of 200,000 frowns
? Paper can be made from asparagus
This is the book that will also tell you...
? The meaning of 'mageirocophobia'
? Where it is illegal to kill a butterfly
? Huckleberry Finn's remedy for warts
? What bodily fluid the Romans used as a hair treatment
And much, much more!
Features:Organized for easy one-on-one read-along trivia, or game playing mode Hundreds of multiple-choice questions that vary in degrees of difficulty for novice trivia buffs to frontseat know-it-alls Popular "red-light challenges" and "shout-outs" Page after page of trivia sidebars and fascinating facts Cash Cab host Ben Bailey's favorite places to visit in New York
Do you want to know what a cockroach’s favorite food is, or how long it would take to drive to the sun?
Amaze your friends and family by telling them that a baby giraffe is six feet long when it is born, or that tigers have striped skin!
From the creators of The Book of Useless Information, this is an amazing collection of the wildest, oddest, funniest facts about history, science, food, animals, and more!
Top Gear?s James May is back with his hilarious and controversial opinions on . . . just about everything.
As well as writing about his first love, cars, James has a go at political correctness, the endless rules and regulations of daily life, the internal combustion engine and traffic wardens. He discusses gastropubs, Jeremy Clarkson and other trials of modern life.
His highly entertaining observations from behind the wheel will have you laughing out loud, whether you share his opinions, or not.
Car Fever is an indispensable guide to life for the modern driver.
New in this year’s edition are exciting infographic features exploring the fascinating details on topics such as animals, the human body, sports, and explorations. And of course all your favorite record categories are updated for 2017, such as the world’s new tallest dog! And as ever, our team of world-class photographers have traveled the globe to capture amazing images of the year’s most impressive record holders. Let us know your favorite!
Do try this at home...
Want to be a record-breaker? Inside you’ll find challenges you can try in the back yard, in the kitchen, in your bedroom, or even in the gym. Who knows, you may become a world record holder yourself!
Bonus content for the US edition
Find exclusive pages just for the USA featuring amazing records from the X Games and a special look at the 125th anniversary of basketball.
Trivia fans will be eager to dive into this book for an edifying and entertaining tour of all the things they didn't know that they didn't know. There is something here for everyone and every occasion, with topics including Space and Science, Being Human, Sports, Music, Food and Drink, and Famous Inventions. It's full of conversation starters, from Herbert Hoover's pet alligators to the longest recorded bout of hiccups (it lasted for 68 years). Brimming with surprising facts, this comprehensive collection of trivia is sure to puzzle and delight.
As the Xerox Corporation's official webmaster, Bill McLain often fielded as many as 1,000 questions a day on just about everything under the sun -- and beyond. The wildest, funniest, and even most astute are collected here (along with their answers) in McLain's second volume that's as fascinating and enlightening as his first, Do Fish Drink Water? A "veritable Internet legend known for having all the answers" (San Francisco Chronicle), McLain explains what keeps squirrels from toppling off telephone wires; why the skin on your fingers and toes shrivels up in the water; how seedless watermelons are created; and more. Whether it's animal, vegetable, mineral, or something completely different, the answer is bound to be as interesting as the question itself, and certain to satisfy the trivia hound in everyone.
Don't get defensive! It's not your fault. For decades your teachers, authority figures and textbooks have been lying to you. You do not have five senses. Your tongue doesn't have neatly segregated taste-bud zones. You don't know what the pyramids really looked like. You're even pooping wrong - Jesus, you're a wreck!
But it's going to be okay. Because we're here to help. Packed with more sexy facts than the Encyclopedia Pornographica, the Cracked De-Textbook will teach you about the true stars of history, why you picture everything from Velociraptors to Ancient Rome incorrectly, and finally, at long last - how to pop a proper squat. This book was built from the ground up to systematically seek out, dismantle and destroy the many untruths that years of misguided education have left festering inside of you, and leave you a smarter person...whether you like it or not. The De-Textbook is a merciless, brutal learning machine. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are informed.
Named for Stella Liebeck, the woman who won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit after spilling hot McDonald’s coffee on herself, humorist Randy Cassingham’s popular website chronicles the hard-to-believe and amusing claims brought before the U.S.courts. The most ridiculous of these lawsuits are given the “honorable” Stella Award.
In The True Stella Awards, Cassingham documents the most outlandish of these real-life cases, including:
* The man who legally changed his name to Jack Ass, and then sued MTV because their TV show and movie Jackass infringed on his trademark and demeaned his “good name”
* The songwriter who left a minute’s silence on his record only to be sued by the estate of another songwriter who copyrighted his own “silent” song
* The man who sued an amusement park after being the victim of the ultimate “act of God”: He was hit by lightning while standing next to his own car in the parking lot
Stunning and hilarious, The True Stella Awards reveals the extremes people will go to in the pursuit of “justice.”
Edith Hamilton's mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the Greek, Roman and Norse myths that are the keystone of Western culture-the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present.
We follow the drama of the Trojan War and the wanderings of Odysseus. We hear the tales of Jason and the Golden Fleece, Cupid and Psyche, and mighty King Midas. We discover the origins of the names of the constellations. And we recognize reference points for countless works for art, literature and culture inquiry-from Freud's Oedipus complex to Wagner's Ring Cycle of operas to Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra
Both a reference text for scholars of all ages and a book to simply enjoy, Mythology is a classic not to be missed.
FACT: The use of maggots to clean wounds has proven to be effective for patients who don't respond to traditional treatments.
FACT: The Icelandic dish hákarl is beheaded basking shark that is buried in the ground for six to 12 weeks to putrefy before it is eaten.
FACT: Used during the Dutch Revolt, rat torture involved trapping rodents under a bowl on a prisoner's stomach then heating the bowl's exterior so the animals would eat through the victim's flesh to try to escape.
FACT: The average person picks his nose five times every hour, occasionally eating what he picks.
The world is a scary place, and it gets scarier every day. From the creator of the bestselling 1,001 Facts That Will Scare The S#*t Out Of You comes this new collection of 1,004 (count 'em!) truly horrifying and horrifyingly true facts about the world around us.
From ancient medical practices to doomsday scenarios, to disgusting food from around the world and the entire terrifying state of Florida, the facts in Are You Sh*tting Me? are sure to entertain and disturb you at once. Unless of course you are already disturbed, in which case this is the book for you!
Fell asleep during history class in high school when World War II was covered? Learned the table of elements at one time but have forgotten it since? Always wondered who really invented the World Wide Web? Here is the book for you, with all the answers you've been looking for: The New York Times Presents Smarter by Sunday is based on the premise that there is a recognizable group of topics in history, literature, science, art, religion, philosophy, politics, and music that educated people should be familiar with today. Over 100 of these have been identified and arranged in a way that they can be studied over a year's time by spending two hours on a topic every weekend.
Have you ever found that once you are between the sheets, Madame Bovary is too heavy, magazines are too slippery, and Crime and Punishment is too long?
The Gentleman's Bedside Companion is the answer-a bracing collection of information, humor, and curiosities that will help every man make his mark on the world with panache.
Spanning the arts, sciences, sports, and the opposite sex, topics include:
Bananas as proof of God's existence
Great bits from the Bible
Famous painters and how they died
The Monkees, a potted history
All about submarines
Useful foreign pickup lines
An international swearing dictionary
Let the horizontal reading begin.
Watch a Video
We all know the system isn’t working. Our governments are corrupt and the opposing parties pointlessly similar. Our culture is filled with vacuity and pap, and we are told there’s nothing we can do: “It’s just the way things are.”
In this book, Russell Brand hilariously lacerates the straw men and paper tigers of our conformist times and presents, with the help of experts as diverse as Thomas Piketty and George Orwell, a vision for a fairer, sexier society that’s fun and inclusive.
You have been lied to, told there’s no alternative, no choice, and that you don’t deserve any better. Brand destroys this illusory facade as amusingly and deftly as he annihilates Morning Joe anchors, Fox News fascists, and BBC stalwarts.
This book makes revolution not only possible but inevitable and fun.
The Big Bang Theory is one of the most popular sitcoms in the world and the funniest show on TV. It is beloved by critics and audiences alike for its quick wit, incredibly geeky but relatable characters, and its science and science fiction storylines. But up until now, there has never been an official Big Bang Theory book.
The Big Bang Theory: The Official Trivia Guide is the book fans have been waiting for. Featuring 1,600 questions, photos, and many of the best quotes from Sheldon, Raj, Penny, Howard, Leonard, Amy, and Bernadette, as well as a complete episode guide, this official book will entertain all Big Bang fans, old and new alike.
Do you know what instrument Leonard plays in the Physics Department String Quartet? Or which award Sheldon is the youngest person to have ever received? Or how about the name of Penny’s avatar in the Age of Conan game? Or who Howard went to couples therapy with? Or the name of Raj’s school? Or when Sheldon does his laundry? Or what Leonard brought Penny back from the North Pole? You don’t need Sheldon’s eidetic memory to enjoy this book, but it might help!
Get ready to use your knowledge of The Big Bang Theory and challenge your friends and family with trivia and questions about your favorite scientists.
"Writing books is the closest men ever came to having children." --Norman Mailer
Kerala is beautiful not only because of "God" but also because of the people who have made Kerala their home. The author went there as a parasite in the disguise of a tourist and sucked all he could in a short span of 23 days. But did anybody ever complain? No, never. The Keralans believe the joy multiplies by sharing, and hereby the author emulate them.
The book is divided into four chapters concentrated on four famous locations in Kerala: Munnar, Kochi, Alleppey and Varkala. The author's experience in Munnar has been presented as a love story, albeit with nature. Kochi is where the author enlivened and discovered himself as a younger person, and the experience is shared in a canvas of activities involving art, history, luxury, people and sports. Alleppey is known for its backwater cruises; however, the author experienced it as an intriguing world so very different and exciting, climaxing into a thrilling snake boat race experience. Varkala is a place to relax, so did the author, but a bit differently; and the difference is author's unique experience shared with the readers.
What dessert is as smart as the average adult?
What's louder: A jet plane at take-off or a hippo having sex?
In the form of a lively and eccentric course catalog, Useless Knowledge, the brainchild of the creator of the wildly successful Useless Knowledge website offers up loads of facts of little consequence for the hardcore trivia buff or the casual enthusiast. Inside, you'll find topics and entries like these:
The Core Curriculum
The Useless School of Animals
The sound that a camel makes is called "nuzzing".
The Useless School of Film
Warren Beatty's first job in the theater was a rat-catcher...backstage.
The Useless School of History
Not that he was immature, but Napoleon concocted his battle strategies in a sandbox.
The Useless School of Sports
It takes 3,000 cows to supply a single season's worth of footballs to the NFL.
There are also Useless Schools of Television, Biology, Science and Technology, Music, Geography, and Culinary Arts.
If you find yourself transfixed by the most trivial of trivia, or mesmerized by the most minor of minutiae, The Useless Information Society's latest findings can satisfy your every need. This wide-ranging collection will fill every nook and cranny of your brain with information you'll surely never need, but will enjoy learning anyway!
Did you know...
- that penguins can jump six feet out of the water?
- that everyone is color-blind at birth?
Would you care to know...
- what the first meal eaten on the moon was?
- what country drinks the most Coca-Cola? (Hint: It's not the United States.)
In 1995, a secret society was formed comprising Britain's foremost thinkers, writers, and artists to trade and share in useless information (or, as founding member Keith Waterhouse, playwright and journalist, would have it, "totally bloody useless").
Okay, so maybe you know all the stuff you're supposed to know--that there are teenier things than atoms, that Remembrance of Things Past has something to do with a perfumed cookie, that the Monroe Doctrine means we get to take over small South American countries when we feel like it. But really, is this kind of knowledge going to make you the hit of the cocktail party, or the loser spending forty-five minutes examining the host's bookshelves?
Wouldn't you rather learn things like how the invention of the bicycle affected the evolution of underwear? Or that the 1949 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to a doctor who performed lobotomies with a household ice pick? Or how Catherine the Great really died? Or that heroin was sold over the counter not too long ago?
For the truly well-rounded "intellectual," nothing fascinates so much as the subversive, the contrarian, the suppressed, and the bizarre. Richard Zacks, auto-didact extraordinaire, has unloosed his admittedly strange mind and astonishing research abilities upon the entire spectrum of human knowledge, ferreting out endlessly fascinating facts, stories, photos, and images guaranteed to make you laugh, gasp in wonder, and occasionally shudder at the depths of human depravity. The result of his labors is this fantastically illustrated quasi-encyclopedia that provides alternative takes on art, business, crime, science, medicine, sex (lots of that), and many other facets of human experience.
Immensely entertaining, and arguably enlightening, An Underground Education is the only book that explains the birth of motion pictures using photos of naked baseball players.
Richard Zacks is the author of History Laid Bare: Love, Sex and Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Warren G. Harding, which was excerpted in classy magazines like Harper's and earned the attention of the even classier New York Times, which noted that "Zacks specializes in the raunchy and perverse." The Georgia State Legislature voted on whether to ban the book from public libraries. He has studied Arabic, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and Hebrew, and received the Phillips Classical Greek Award at the University of Michigan. He has also told his publisher that he made a living in Cairo cheating royalty from a certain Arab country at games of chance, although the claim remains unverified. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, Life, Sports Illustrated, The Village Voice, TV Guide, and similarly diverse publications. Zacks is married and busy warping the minds of his two children, Georgia and Ziegfield. He resides in New York City, and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Hardcover edition.
On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
In their groundbreakingly useless book, The Book of Useless Information, the members of the Useless Information Society proved that knowledge doesn't have to be useful to be entertaining. Now they present a new collection of their most fascinating, hilarious, and wholly trivial findings. The Ultimate Book of Useless Information includes such "did you knows" as:
- Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite
- The average person spends two weeks of their life kissing
- And giraffes have no vocal cords
In the satirical tradition of the New York Times bestseller Stuff White People Like comes this witty companion book to the “incredibly entertaining” (Indiewire) film of the same name, which “heralds a fresh and funny new voice” (Variety).
Right out of college, Justin Simien wrote a screenplay about the nuanced experiences of four black students on a predominantly white college campus. The film, Dear White People, garnered a Sundance Award for “Breakthrough Talent” and has been hailed by critics everywhere. Channeling the sensibility of the film into this book, Simien will keep you laughing with his humorous observations, even if you haven’t seen the satiric film.
News Flash—the minimum number of black friends needed to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Rather than panic, readers are advised to purchase a copy of Dear White People. Whether you are a dear white person wondering why your black office mate is avoiding eye contact with you after you ran your fingers through her hair, or you’re a black nerd who has to break it to your white friends that you’ve never seen The Wire, this myth-busting, stereotype-diffusing guide to a post-Obama world has something for you!
With decision-making trees to help you decide when it’s the right time to wear Blackface (hint: probably never) and quizzes to determine whether you’ve become the Token Black Friend™, Dear White People is the ultimate silly-yet-authoritative handbook to help the curious and confused navigate racial microaggressions in their daily lives.
Based on the eponymous, award-winning film, which has been lauded as “a smart, hilarious satire,” this tongue-in-cheek guide is a must-have that anybody who is in semi-regular contact with black people can’t afford to miss!
• The ancient Egyptians applied electric eels to cure gout.
• Medieval dentists burned candles in patients’ mouths to kill invisible worms gnawing at their teeth.
• Renaissance physicians timed surgical procedures according to the position of the stars, and instructed epileptics to collect fresh blood from the newly beheaded.
• Dr. Walter Freeman, the world’s foremost practitioner of lobotomies, practiced his craft while traveling on family camping trips, cramming the back of the station wagon with kids—and surgical tools—then hammering ice picks into the eye sockets of his patients in between hikes in the woods.
Strange Medicine is an illuminating panorama of medical history as you’ve never seen it before.
With 174 million gamers in the United States alone, we now live in a world where every generation will be a gamer generation. But why, Jane McGonigal asks, should games be used for escapist entertainment alone? In this groundbreaking book, she shows how we can leverage the power of games to fix what is wrong with the real world-from social problems like depression and obesity to global issues like poverty and climate change-and introduces us to cutting-edge games that are already changing the business, education, and nonprofit worlds. Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows that the future will belong to those who can understand, design, and play games.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
As portrayed by acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley’s life is the stuff of a classic American fairy tale. Buck-toothed and cursed by shyness, Ripley turned his sense of being an outsider into an appreciation for the strangeness of the world. After selling his first cartoon to Time magazine at age eighteen, more cartooning triumphs followed, but it was his “Believe It or Not” conceit and the wildly popular radio shows it birthed that would make him one of the most successful entertainment figures of his time and spur him to search the globe’s farthest corners for bizarre facts, exotic human curiosities, and shocking phenomena.
Ripley delighted in making outrageous declarations that somehow always turned out to be true—such as that Charles Lindbergh was only the sixty-seventh man to fly across the Atlantic or that “The Star Spangled Banner” was not the national anthem. Assisted by an exotic harem of female admirers and by ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a devoted researcher who spoke eleven languages, Ripley simultaneously embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, the fearlessness of Marco Polo and the marketing savvy of P. T. Barnum.
In a very real sense, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded respect for those who were labeled “eccentrics” or “freaks”—whether it be E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the man who could swallow his own nose.
By the 1930s Ripley possessed a vast fortune, a private yacht, and a twenty-eight room mansion stocked with such “oddities” as shrunken heads and medieval torture devices, and his pioneering firsts in print, radio, and television were tapping into something deep in the American consciousness—a taste for the titillating and exotic, and a fascination with the fastest, biggest, dumbest and most weird. Today, that legacy continues and can be seen in reality TV, YouTube, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Jackass, MythBusters and a host of other pop-culture phenomena.
In the end Robert L. Ripley changed everything. The supreme irony of his life, which was dedicated to exalting the strange and unusual, is that he may have been the most amazing oddity of all.
From the Hardcover edition.
Pictured in lefthand photograph on cover: Habiba Akumu Hussein and Barack Obama, Sr. (President Obama's paternal grandmother and his father as a young boy). Pictured in righthand photograph on cover: Stanley Dunham and Ann Dunham (President Obama's maternal grandfather and his mother as a young girl).
From the Trade Paperback edition.
“Read this unless you’re allergic to laughing.”
“If you’re wondering if there is a real man behind the quotes on Twitter, the answer is a definite and laugh-out-loud yes.”
—Christian Lander, New York Times bestselling author of Stuff White People Like
Tuesdays with Morrie meets F My Life in this hilarious book about a son’s relationship with his foul-mouthed father by the 29-year-old comedy writer who created the massively popular Twitter feed of the same name.
The Forbidden Knowledge series has taken readers over the edge before, but never like this. The Most Forbidden Knowledge jam-packs the best and baddest how-tos into one car-stealing, keg-kicking, base-jumping-off-a-skyscraper collection. You'll find everything you ever wanted to learn (though probably never should) in this ultimate self-destruction manual.
Be shocked and surprised, amazed and astounded by stories including the audacious theft of a chunk of ozone; the planned sabotage of the Royal wedding; and a sinister attempt by Jeremy Beagle to take over the airwaves.
Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes—and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods has become a modern classic of travel literature.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Humanity's understanding of the physical world is full of gaps. Not tiny little gaps you can safely ignore —there are huge yawning voids in our basic notions of how the world works. PHD Comics creator Jorge Cham and particle physicist Daniel Whiteson have teamed up to explore everything we don't know about the universe: the enormous holes in our knowledge of the cosmos. Armed with their popular infographics, cartoons, and unusually entertaining and lucid explanations of science, they give us the best answers currently available for a lot of questions that are still perplexing scientists, including:
* Why does the universe have a speed limit?
* Why aren't we all made of antimatter?
* What (or who) is attacking Earth with tiny, superfast particles?
* What is dark matter, and why does it keep ignoring us?
It turns out the universe is full of weird things that don't make any sense. But Cham and Whiteson make a compelling case that the questions we can't answer are as interesting as the ones we can.
This fully illustrated introduction to the biggest mysteries in physics also helpfully demystifies many complicated things we do know about, from quarks and neutrinos to gravitational waves and exploding black holes. With equal doses of humor and delight, Cham and Whiteson invite us to see the universe as a possibly boundless expanse of uncharted territory that's still ours to explore.