The Areas of My Expertise

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Overview

Hot on the heels of the #1 bestsellers The Onion's Our Dumb Century and Jon Stewart's America comes The Areas of My Expertise, the brilliant and uproarious #15 bestseller (i.e., a runaway phenomenon in its own right-no, seriously) - a lavish compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom - all of it completely unresearched, completely undocumented and (presumably) completely untrue, fabricated by the illuminating, prodigious imagination of John ...

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Overview

Hot on the heels of the #1 bestsellers The Onion's Our Dumb Century and Jon Stewart's America comes The Areas of My Expertise, the brilliant and uproarious #15 bestseller (i.e., a runaway phenomenon in its own right-no, seriously) - a lavish compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom - all of it completely unresearched, completely undocumented and (presumably) completely untrue, fabricated by the illuminating, prodigious imagination of John Hodgman, certifiable genius.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
NPR favorite John Hodgman delivers a hilariously twisted send-up of Poor Richard's Almanack and The Book of Lists that plays fast and loose with the truth -- and even reality. If you didn't know there was a hobo rebellion in the United States, or that we have had presidents with hooks for hands, then you're in for an eye-opening surprise. Dip into this absurd laugh-riot and discover humor at its finest.
Publishers Weekly
Hodgman, "resident expert" on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a New York Times Magazine contributor, prides himself as a leading authority in the realm of informative false world knowledge. In adapting his collection of fake trivia to audio, Hodgman couples sketch comedy showmanship and cerebral literary parody. Musician Jonathan Coulton enlivens Hodgman's more lengthy sometimes plodding narrative passages. Coulton's musical interludes during Hodgman's profiles of "Our 51 States" prove especially entertaining. Paul Rudd provides an "uncredited cameo" as the guest reader for "Jokes That Have Never Produced Laughter." The audio edition also includes a special bonus "700 Hobo Names" CD, an addendum to Hodgman's "Things You Did Not Know About Hoboes" chapter. Hodgman's distinct brand of offbeat humor somehow manages to spoof yet ultimately embrace an intellectual thirst for the esoteric. Admittedly, Hodgman can sometimes become mired in the long-winded details of his obscure falsehoods. Yet, connoisseurs of the Schott's Miscellany titles and the Onion will still find more than enough deliciously absurd faux facts to make for a worthwhile listening experience. Simultaneous release with the Riverhead paperback (Reviews, July 25, 2005). (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
What looks like an almanac of deep thoughts is actually a compendium of entirely made-up and useless facts and trivia. Hodgman-a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine who frequently appears on National Public Radio's This American Life-has a knack for making readers laugh; his witty, entertaining, and handy desk reference for those needing a dose of nonsense includes a list of 700 hobo names, a guide to the worst men's haircuts, a dictionary of shortened words used on submarines to preserve oxygen, and a chart for struggling writers containing the 55 known dramatic situations (e.g., "Boy v. Girl" and "Cyborgs seek fortune on Broadway"). This is one of the funniest and most entertaining books to play on readers' imaginations in recent memory. Highly recommended for all public libraries.-Susan McClellan, Avalon P.L., Pittsburgh Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594482229
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/5/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 379,223
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John Hodgman

John Hodgman lives in New York City, where he curates and hosts “The Little Gray Book Lectures,” a monthly colloquium of readings, songs, and dubious scholarship. He is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine and a frequent voice on public radio’s This American Life. Further fiction, nonfiction, and genres in between have appeared in The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, One-Story, and The Believer. He has performed at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, as well as on the great stages of Chicago, Philadelphia, and London’s Barbican.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2006

    One of the Greatest Books Ever Written

    I have always enjoyed books that are a collection of short articles, notably the Uncle John's Bathroom Readers series. I am also a fan of They Might Be Giant, and it was through their Venue Songs that I first heard of John Hodgman. And after seeing him on the Daily show, I knew I just had to buy his book. When I finally picked it up, I was not dissapointed. I couldn't put it down. It is like Bathroom Readers meets Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It was very interesting and funny, I highly recommend it. My only complaint is that it is much too short, which makes me yearn for his next book all the more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2006

    Hilarious

    One of my favorite books, his list of 700 hobo names kept me laughing for hours, and i never knew so much about the mall of america.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2005

    Deliciously Entertaining

    I heard of this book through The Daily Show when Jon Stewart interviewed the author. John Hodgman was extremely funny on the show, so I decided to give his book a try. It's SO funny! It's basically fake trivia and 'false facts.' He's got everything in here from snowballs, to predicting the future, to 700 hobo names. Very funny. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2012

    A brilliantly hilarious book that you can keep going back to tim

    A brilliantly hilarious book that you can keep going back to time after time. I've never looked at a hobo the same way since.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Brilliant

    The book is hilarious and very different. I would recommend it to anyone, particularly someone who enjoys deadpan and nonsensical humor. I would also recommend the audiobook. They're both fantastic- best things I've ever had the chance to read/listen to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2008

    bad book

    I didn't find any part of this book to be funny. The facts seem really hard to believe and really hard for me to find funny. I didn't gain any knowledge and neither was I entertained by this book.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2007

    Random, Fascinating and Utterly Unreliable Information

    'An almanac of random, fascinating and utterly unreliable information -- Hodgman has the gift of being outrageously but quietly convincing. He begins at the absolute outer edge of credibility and, as if he is holding your hand, walks you over the edge into a very funny mix of reality and nonsense. Take hobos, for instance -- or as Hodgman refers to it, the 'hobo movement in the United States.' He discusses at length hobo hieroglyphics, the only hobo Cabinet member in U.S. history and Walker Evans, who Hodgman describes as being a secret agent posing as a photographer in order to assassinate prominent hobo leaders.' NPR John Hodgman tells us that there has only been one murder in the history of the space shuttle. This took place in 1984. The astronaut, the planner, the engineer, the cocktail waitress and the librarian were all suspects. I cannot tell you who did commit the murder, but it is well known. He discusses hunting and cooking your own polar bear steaks. Julia Child knew this subject well. Also a chapter on Daves Ultra Hot Hot Hot Sauce-which are packaged in little coffins and promises your death. These little known and untrue facts are yours for the asking. These and so many other subjects that would take me all day to discuss are told in amazing detail by John Hodgman. Each chapter has its own charm, or well, its own place. This is not a book for children. There are obscene words and stories and facts that children would not understand. In fact, there were some parts of this book I did not understand, but, all in all, it had me in stitches from one chapter to the next. The author works for television 'The Daily Show' and appears on NPR's 'This American Life'. John Hodgman is a graduate of Yale, and is a former literary agent. It appears he was so humorous that he needed to take his humor to an audience who would appreciate him. This book is so amusing you may not be able to read it in one sitting less you disable yourself from being doubled-over with laughter. 'And while Hodgman may hope as we leaf through the pages, we will gain a better understanding of the world - 'perhaps not the world exactly as it is today, but as it may be someday' - one will undoubtedly come away baffled by how such madness can be spun so clear-headedly. Perhaps, though, the only way to truly describe 'The Areas of My Expertise' lies in Hodgman's final words: that is all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2006

    I loved this book

    I don't do a whole lot of reading or buying of books, but this book is definitly worth the money. If you like fact books you will love this book of made up facts.

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    Posted December 2, 2008

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    Posted October 16, 2009

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    Posted January 23, 2009

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    Posted May 25, 2011

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    Posted November 11, 2008

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    Posted January 15, 2010

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted December 2, 2008

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    Posted October 26, 2008

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