"Facts are not what most humans believe … "

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Posted 21 Dec 2006 in Books, Fun, Technology

While on iTunes the other day I noticed a free audiobook that seemed interesting enough: The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman. The audiobook, read by the author – John Hodgman, claims to be an almanac of complete world knowledge according to the writer. The past several days have found my office mate and I listening to the book while working – chuckling due to the absurdity.

Here is a quote from the book I found hilarious and quite summarily appropriate of the book. I’ve transcribed it here for you:

“The main advantage that this book has over libraries and indeed all of it’s almanacian predecessors is that all the historical oddities and amazing true facts contained here in are lies, made up by me. And it is this astonishing innovation that allows each entry to contain many more truths than if it were merely factual.

If this last point seems confusing to you consider the banal and truthful statement that follows:

Fredric Chopin was a Polish composer in the romantic style who wrote primarily for the piano.

I guess this is sort of interesting, as most facts are, but history has shown us again and again that Facts are not what most humans believe, they are not that which moves most men or women to love, or hate, or joy or cry.

Now compare this statement:

Fredric Chopin was a Polish composer in the Romantic style who was obsessed with lady bugs, often letting dozens of them gallop over his neck, arms and long tapering fingers while playing the piano.

Obvious the lie is so much more compelling. It shocks the mind and plays on the readers imagination with lady bug covered hands. New resonances emerge and new melodies of insight – not just into the nature of Chopin but also the art of composing, the history of the lady bug as good luck charm and colioopterophilia (spelling – meaning ?). It also finally explains how Chopin solved his terrible aphid problem.”

You may recognize the voice and or face of John Hodgman as the PC from the recent “Buy a Mac” commercials in which he has done an amazing job encapsulating the ineptitude of a common PC/PC user 🙂

Download the free audiobook and enjoy the many laughs guaranteed through a listening, if you find yourself financially inclined, purchase the book.

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