I presume that the point of this day’s challenge is to find a book that changed my opinion about one particular thing, more than likely some controversial issue. However, I’ve decided to be a bit different with this one, partially to avoid using a book I have possibly already mentioned in this thirty days, but also to talk about another book that is really awesome, a book which in fact changed my opinion about many things, mostly because that is the purpose of this book. What am I talking about? I am talking about the now million-plus selling Book of General Ignorance.
This little treasure trove of knowledge, or ignorance as the title suggests, is written by John Lloyd & John Mitchinson, creators of the intellectual trivia show QI (which stands for Quite Interesting), a show which focuses on all the mistakes, miconceptions and misunderstandings within the realm of “common knowledge”, and this book covers several hundred of these “facts”, not only correcting the mistakes but explaining how they came to be commonly believed. The book also notably features a foreword by Stephen Fry, host of the television show, and “four words” by Alan Davies, regular on the show as well.
The show and book have both been phenomenally successful over the years, and this owes in part to the fact that, despite the concept behind them, neither are particularly pretentious or snobby, and reading this book doesn’t make you feel stupid. Instead, it makes you curious, and wanting to know more about some of these quite often bizarre misunderstandings. It broadens the mind, and makes you question things in the world more – something that, even in this knowledge enlightened era, we don’t seem to do enough. Some people have attacked this book, claiming that some of the “errors” are in fact technicalities (and perhaps a small amount are), but on the whole this has been much loved by people all over the world (according to the back of the book it is Amazon’s fourth bestselling book in the world ever), and was met with mostly positive critical reception.
So if you want to learn a thing or two, even if it happens to be a thing or two you thought you already knew, this book is the place to go. It’ll change your mind about several hundred things.
What books have you read that have changed your opinions about things?