June 17, 2013

Review #28: 10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything, edited by Chicago Tribune's Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer

Book Summary:

For years, the Chicago Tribune's popular weekly feature column "10 Things You Might Not Know” has been informing and entertaining readers on a diverse range of fascinating subjects. 10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything is a comprehensive collection of these columns, presented in a fun and easy-to-read format. This book gives readers well-researched, obscure facts on universal topics—including arts and culture, food and leisure, history, politics, science and technology, sports, religion, lifestyle, language, and more.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything contains a plethora of surprising trivia and pertinent tidbits on so many different areas that will appeal to everyone from history buffs to sports fans to foodies, with an especially riveting look into Chicago-area history and facts. For example, did you know that the adult human body contains about half a pound of salt? Or that the U.S. had no national debt under President Andrew Jackson for a brief period of time around January 1835?

From amusing, lighthearted topics like beards and holidays to more serious subjects like taxes and juries, this collection of well-researched and universal trivia will make readers laugh and their jaws drop. 10 Things You Might Not Know About Nearly Everything will leave readers brighter, wittier, and curious to learn more about myriad worlds they never encountered before and will never forget.


It's nearly impossible to just review this book since it is just list after list of information, facts about people, events, and places that you probably never even thought of asking about, let alone knew.  There are all kinds of lists from Things You Might Not Know About Blondes to Things You Might Not Know about Gay Rights to Things You Might Not Know About the Unhinged. 

Some parts I have to confess I skipped over (namely the chapter of lists that were specifically about Chicago, including every single burgh.  But there was a lot I found interesting, funny, crazy, or jaw-dropping.  Here are some of my favorites:

"In The Da Vinci Code and other Dan Brown novels, characters are compelled to unravel mysteries at a frantic pace.  The same thing happened to Brown as a child.  On Christmas and his birthdays, his parents hid his gifts, requiring him to solve puzzles and riddles to find the presents." 10 Things You Might Not Know About Best Sellers.

"Among the most admired fictional fathers is Atticus Finch, the widower lawyer in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird.  The character, played by Gregory Peck in the film, was based on Lee's father, Amasa Lee." 10 Things You Might Not Know About Fictional Fathers

"Kris Kristofferson's 1969 appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, one of his first breaks as a performer, was arranged by the late country legend Johnny Cash.  Kristofferson made an impression on Cash by landing a helicopter on his lawn and handing him a demo tape."  10 Things You Might Not Know About Music Festivals

"The Nazis invented the Olympic torch relay. Fire was an Olympic symbol in ancient Greece, and torch relays were conducted apart from the Olympics, but the Nazis first combined those elements to create pageantry and propaganda before the 1936 Berlin Games. On its way to Germany, the torch went through Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, and Czechoslovakia.  Within six years, Nazi Germany had annexed or occupied all of those countries."  10 Things You Might Not Know About the Olympics

"One of the most popular birth control methods for American women in the middle of the 20th century was Lysol."  10 Things You Might Not Know About Contraceptives

"On April 1, 1998, Burger King took out a full-page ad in USA Today to announce a fast food breakthrough: the Left-Handed Whopper. It featured the same ingredients as the regular Whopper, except the condiments were rotated 180 degrees.  According to BK, thousands of customers requested the new burger, and others asked for a right-handed version."  10 Things You Might Not Know About April's Fool Day

You never know.  After reading this you might kick butt at Trivial Pursuit. ;)


  1. I actually love books like this and drive Carl crazy with trivia as I read them. I can't imagine using Lysol for birth control.

  2. I LOVE random facts and trivia. I'm absolutely curious about this book :)

  3. I agree with everyone else! I love trivia books. I have a lot that I bring when I go on car trips! It's fun to read them aloud.

    Pertaining to the Fictional Father's trivia thing: I love Gregory Peck (his voice *sigh* haha) and I loved his version of Atticus Finch.

  4. This looks like a great bathroom read-something to page through for a short time. I know I would love to look through it.


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