30 Day Book Challenge Day 26 – A book that changed my opinion about something

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 version, which I have, is actually called The Noticeably Stouter Book of General Ignorance, with an added index, extra facts, and more.

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.

A lot of this show's success is owed to the unusual dynamic of Alan Davies (left) and Stephen Fry (right)

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?

5 thoughts on “30 Day Book Challenge Day 26 – A book that changed my opinion about something

    • It’s a fascinating book! There’s a few of these “facts you thought you knew that are wrong” type books, but this one blows all the others out of the water, pretty much. Apparently there’s sequels and spin-offs too. I have one of the spin-offs, a book of quotes by the same people, which apparently took 5 years to compile because they were looking for the absolute best quotes, ones that aren’t so famous but are still brilliant.

  1. Sounds like a great read! I’ll definitely have to look for it. A book That changed my view of the world as a young adult was Taylor Caldwell’s ‘Captains And Kings’. It sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory about how those with money control the political landscape. It turned a naive young me into a bit of a cynic when it comes to politics, whether there’s any truth to it or not. The more I see of politicians, the more I believe it really is happening!

  2. Pingback: Everybody loves quotes – a look at a bad, a good, and an amazing book of quotes | wantoncreation

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