How To
How To is an instruction manual for taking everyday problems and using science and creative thinking to turn them into much bigger and more exciting problems. It teaches you how to cross a river by boiling it, outlines some of the many uses for lava around the home, and walks you through how to use experimental military research to ensure that your friends will never again ask you to help them move. From changing a lightbulb to throwing a pool party, it describes unusual ways to accomplish common tasks, and analyzes what would happen to you if you tried them. In addition to being a profoundly unhelpful self-help book, it’s an exercise in applying math, science, and research to ordinary problems, and a tour through some of the strange and fun science underlying the world around us.

How To Details

TitleHow To
Author
ReleaseSep 5th, 2019
PublisherJohn Murray
ISBN-139781473680333
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Science, Humor, Sequential Art, Comics, Adult, Physics, Reference, How To, Audiobook, Funnies

How To Review

  • Miranda Reads
    January 1, 1970
    About mother-freaking time! I cannot wait to get my hands on this one. Munroe is literally the best!
  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Brooke at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest reviewSo… How To. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. I painfully choose to give this 3.5 stars. I am honestly as shocked as the rest of you. There were quite a few things I loved and quite a few things I didn’t. I’d like to get the negative out of the way so here we go. For starters, this book is not What If. I know you’re probably thinking Yeah, no sh*t I (foolishly) expected this to be like What I Many thanks to Brooke at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest reviewSo… How To. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. I painfully choose to give this 3.5 stars. I am honestly as shocked as the rest of you. There were quite a few things I loved and quite a few things I didn’t. I’d like to get the negative out of the way so here we go. For starters, this book is not What If. I know you’re probably thinking Yeah, no sh*t I (foolishly) expected this to be like What If. The title should have given it away. How To tells the reader how to perform normal tasks in not at all normal ways. What If asks and answers absurd questions like Can you make a jetpack out of machine guns? This book, on it’s own, was decent but compared to What If, it all falls apart. How To didn’t have nearly as much… absurdity as What If. It also excluded the community aspect. While What If answered questions submitted from the internet, How To did not, eliminating the personal and outrageous feel. Also, this book wasn’t as fun because as I said, it was much too down to earth. We want weirdness! We want craziness! WE WANT RAVIOLI! See, that sentence is weird and fun. (Or maybe it isn’t and I’m just being weird.) How To was still decently silly but not as much as What If. That said, this book still had the classic humor and dry wit of Randall Munroe. The doodles and drawings were creative, hilarious and fun. Also, I love Will Wheaton, the narrator of the audio. He’s one of my favorite narrators! Overall, this book was objectively a good book but compared to the masterpiece that is What If it fell flat, even with the funnish parts. Bottom Line:3 StarsAge Rating: [ PG ]Content ScreeningCover: 5/5 ~ Characters ~ Plot ~ Audio: 4/5 Publication Date: September 4th, 2019Publisher: RiverheadGenre: Science/Humor*********and now back down to three. *********I originally rated this four stars but I'm moving it up to five because... Just because*********Re-reading this one more time. Just because*********Good but not as good as What If... RTC*********AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I HAVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER!!!!*********PSYCH! I am gonna hold out to see if I can get a physical copy. If I don't, I'll read my digital one. *********I HAVE A DIGITAL GALLEY AND I AM F**KING QUAKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!*********A subtitle and a cover!!! *HYPERVENTILATES*Another What if book?!?| Goodreads | Blog | Twitch | Pinterest | Reddit |
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  • Abigail (AbigailsHeadspace)
    January 1, 1970
    IM SCREAMING I NEED THIS NOW INJECT THE SPILLAGE OF YOUR NERD MIND DEEP INSIDE MY CRAVING BONES!!! FILL ME WITH POINTLESS KNOWLEDGE!!!
  • Trin
    January 1, 1970
    Conceptually, not quite as interesting to me as What If?, but still brainy, oddball fun. The kind of book you think you're going to dip in and out of, but then end up reading for surprisingly sustained periods.
  • Paperclippe
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know how Randall does it but every single book he writes is as good as every single XKCD he puts out.Want to know how to have a pool party? It's not as easier as it sounds. First you have to build a pool, and to build a pool, you're gonna need a lot of math, and math is fun!No, seriously. Math is fun.This book revolves around the literal how-tos when it comes to doing things. Let's take our pool for example. Do you know the compression strength of the material you're about to build your I don't know how Randall does it but every single book he writes is as good as every single XKCD he puts out.Want to know how to have a pool party? It's not as easier as it sounds. First you have to build a pool, and to build a pool, you're gonna need a lot of math, and math is fun!No, seriously. Math is fun.This book revolves around the literal how-tos when it comes to doing things. Let's take our pool for example. Do you know the compression strength of the material you're about to build your swank new above-ground set up out of? Well, you should, and you're about to find out. Do you want to know how to build a moat made of lava around your house? Well, first you need to know what direction the wind is blowing so you don't accidentally set your home alight. Absurdist, informative, and easy to read, Randall gives us another volume on his unending quest to teach us... everything, it seems. A few of the chapters do get a little bogged down with technicalities, but considering this is a book about technicalities, the fact that most of it is endlessly readable is already a true achievement. Plus, comics! Stick figures! Hilarious scenarios! That one guy with the hat! Munroe gives you everything you've come to love from XKCD and more. An excellent third installment in his non-web-based endeavors.
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  • Katra
    January 1, 1970
    Another smart and hilarious offering from Randall Munroe! The flip-side follow-up to What If? is every bit as brainy and had people wondering about me as I guffawed in the library's lunch room. Sure, you could fill your swimming pool with a hose, but you might need to resort to bottled water; and if you need to empty them all quickly, you might consider using a nuclear bomb. This is how it would work . . . There are also helpful (?) instructions for how to heat your home with lava, which sports Another smart and hilarious offering from Randall Munroe! The flip-side follow-up to What If? is every bit as brainy and had people wondering about me as I guffawed in the library's lunch room. Sure, you could fill your swimming pool with a hose, but you might need to resort to bottled water; and if you need to empty them all quickly, you might consider using a nuclear bomb. This is how it would work . . . There are also helpful (?) instructions for how to heat your home with lava, which sports equipment is most efficient at taking down an annoying drone, how to take a selfie with Venus in the background, how to charge your phone in the airport using hydro-electric power, how to blow out birthday candles with a jet engine, how to move using multiple helicopters attached to your house, how to get to an appointment on time using a mile high wall of gold, and ultimately, how to dispose of the book when you're finished reading.This how-to manual may not be exactly useful in the average persons world except as intellectual entertainment, but entertainment doesn't get much better than this!Thanks to NetGalley and Riverhead Books for making an advance copy available for an honest review.
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  • Yani
    January 1, 1970
    Very funny and actually educational! Despite the silly premisses, each chapter does give fundamental answers how everyday life works.
  • Am
    January 1, 1970
    I love Randall Munroe. He writes ridiculous science and makes it fun. Even if you're not science savvy, this would be an enjoyable book
  • Librariann
    January 1, 1970
    For xkcd fans, or people who like math or science. Plenty of equations that you can either read or skim over.
  • Virginia
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! I've been a fan of Randall Munroe since his early years writing for xkcd and was so excited to get a chance to read his latest work. It does not disappoint. In fact, it went beyond what I was expecting with special guest appearances by Col. Chris Hadfield and Serena Williams. The title describes the book perfectly. Did you ever wonder how to land a plane on a ski jump? How about how much guyere cheese would be needed to make a sturdy above ground pool? What about building a la I loved this book! I've been a fan of Randall Munroe since his early years writing for xkcd and was so excited to get a chance to read his latest work. It does not disappoint. In fact, it went beyond what I was expecting with special guest appearances by Col. Chris Hadfield and Serena Williams. The title describes the book perfectly. Did you ever wonder how to land a plane on a ski jump? How about how much guyere cheese would be needed to make a sturdy above ground pool? What about building a lava moat around your house? This book answers all those questions and more, taking everyday problems and solving them with out-of-the-box thinking and science. I recommend this book to any one who loves how wacky science can get as well as fans of books like WHAT IF, SOONISH, WE HAVE NO IDEA, and ASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY. **Read courtesy of an ARC from Riverhead**
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  • BB
    January 1, 1970
    Funny and informative. I always enjoy Munroe's drawing style and humor and he doesn't disappoint in this one. The chapters are great and his ways to solve problems are always interesting, funny, and of course, weird. My favorite chapter would have to be on "How to Catch a Drone." I really enjoyed that he presented it through the perspective of different athletes' chances of taking down a drone. The chapters on houses went on a little longer that was probably necessary but Munroe always presents Funny and informative. I always enjoy Munroe's drawing style and humor and he doesn't disappoint in this one. The chapters are great and his ways to solve problems are always interesting, funny, and of course, weird. My favorite chapter would have to be on "How to Catch a Drone." I really enjoyed that he presented it through the perspective of different athletes' chances of taking down a drone. The chapters on houses went on a little longer that was probably necessary but Munroe always presents the information in a light and funny way and also gives us enough to know how much work and thought he put into these crazy hypothetical situations.Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Allen Adams
    January 1, 1970
    https://www.themaineedge.com/tekk/how...There are plenty of books out there that aim to tell you how to do something. Whether its DIY home repair or computer programming or self-help or what have you, there’s probably a book that purports to tell you how to do it. These books bill themselves as offering straightforward instructions on doing whatever it is you seek to do.But maybe you’re not looking for straightforward. Maybe the how-tos (hows-to?) you’re looking for are needlessly complicated, c https://www.themaineedge.com/tekk/how...There are plenty of books out there that aim to tell you how to do something. Whether its DIY home repair or computer programming or self-help or what have you, there’s probably a book that purports to tell you how to do it. These books bill themselves as offering straightforward instructions on doing whatever it is you seek to do.But maybe you’re not looking for straightforward. Maybe the how-tos (hows-to?) you’re looking for are needlessly complicated, convoluted and/or flat-out absurd. And if they’re illustrated with goofy graphs and jokey stick-figure comic strips, so much the better.If you fall into the latter category, then Randall Munroe’s “How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Real-World Problems” is the book you’ve been waiting for. The NASA-roboticist-turned-beloved-webcomic-artist aims his unique perspective and skill set at coming up with ridiculous and technically correct (the best kind of correct) advice for dealing with an assortment of everyday – and occasionally not-so-everyday – issues.The blend of smart and simple that has marked Munroe’s work since the earliest days of online comic sensation xkcd is in full effect in this new book; he takes real joy in finding that weird intersection of scientific thought and anarchic absurdity … and that joy is evident on every page of this book. He wants you to laugh and to learn as you look at the workings of the world through his own peculiarly and particularly cracked lens.Even if you didn’t know what you were getting into, it becomes very clear very quickly. The first chapter is titled “How to Throw a Pool Party.” Seems innocuous enough, right? But Munroe digs in, offering up the mathematical basis of how materials deal with the tension of water. It’s called hoop stress and the book spells it out. From there, we get to explore different water sources – including making it through chemical reactions, stealing it from distant sources or even buying it in bottles from the internet.And it just gets stranger. And funnier.From there, we get chapters exploring delightfully convoluted answers to a wide assortment of how-to questions. Some of them are simple – “How to Dig a Hole” or “How to Mail a Package” or “How to Move.” Some are athletically-oriented – “How to Jump Really High” and “How to Throw Things,” “How to Play Football” and “How to Ski.” And some are just outright weird – “How to Build a Lava Moat” or “How to Keep Your House from Moving” or “How to Make an Emergency Landing.”Every one of these chapters is built around Munroe’s classic stick-figure cartoons and real math directed at ridiculous targets. Even the mundane topics are explored in a steadily escalating manner – you’d think that using vacuum decay to rend space-time in order to power your house would be as crazy as it gets, for instance, but then Munroe takes us to Mars and proposes the use of a tether to the moon Phobos to power the house there.(That’s right – there’s a chapter titled “How to Power Your House” followed immediately by a chapter titled “How to Power Your House (on Mars),” just so you know what we’re dealing with.)This is a book whose chapter “How to Catch a Drone” enlists the assistance of tennis superstar Serena Williams to see if a served tennis ball could effectively target an airborne drone. We get suggestions of using butterflies to send files and measuring tooth radioactivity to determine when you were born. Oh, and the chapter on “How to Decorate a Tree” quickly spirals into a digression regarding the world’s oldest and tallest trees.There’s a wonderful intellectual generosity inherent to “How To” – Munroe’s love of knowledge is evident on every page. And through his willingness to push beyond the rational into the realm of the absurd-but-still-kind-of-maybe-possible (or at least calculable), he invites the reader to embrace the joys of the world around us. He pushes the envelope to a ludicrous degree and has a great time doing it … and hence, so do we.It’s a fast read, but one that invites further exploration. “How To” is a delight the first time through, but subsequent looks reveal even more, encouraging the reader to dig deeper into the bizarre questions being asked. Yes, it’s all very silly. But that’s what makes it fun. Munroe’s ability to take complex ideas and render them both easily digestible and wildly entertaining is unparalleled; it’s the foundation of his success with xkcd and it only shines brighter with more room to run.“How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Real-World Problems” delivers on the promises made by its subtitle. It is smart and sly and weird as heck in all the best ways. Anyone with the slightest interest in the way the world works will derive great pleasure from Randall Munroe’s convoluted journey to solve simple (and a few not-so-simple) problems.
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  • Michelle Adamo #emptynestreader
    January 1, 1970
    👨🏼🔬I had the pleasure of hearing author Randall Munroe speak at the University of Michigan the other night. It was a delightful evening with this fun, self-effacing, genius. For those that are unfamiliar with Monroe, he is a former NASA Roboticist who left the agency in 2006 to draw comics on the internet full time.(If that sounds a bit odd to you, consider that Mike Judge, creator of the series Beavis and Butt-Head, formerly a physicist, did the same thing.)👨🏼🔬Russell has written several books 👨🏼‍🔬I had the pleasure of hearing author Randall Munroe speak at the University of Michigan the other night. It was a delightful evening with this fun, self-effacing, genius. For those that are unfamiliar with Monroe, he is a former NASA Roboticist who left the agency in 2006 to draw comics on the internet full time.(If that sounds a bit odd to you, consider that Mike Judge, creator of the series Beavis and Butt-Head, formerly a physicist, did the same thing.)👨🏼‍🔬Russell has written several books that combine humor and science with his renowned stick figure cartoons. His latest book, How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, "is an instruction manual for taking everyday problems and using science and creative thinking to turn them into much bigger and more exciting problems”. "Full of unusual ways to accomplish common tasks complete with analysis of what would happen to you if you tried them”. 👨🏼‍🔬To shore up his work, Russell consults professionals and experts in the field to develop and refine his theories. Colonel Chris Hadfield weighs in on “How to Make an Emergency Landing” and tennis star Serena Williams assists with testing theories on “How to Catch a Drone" by hitting a tennis ball at one.👨🏼‍🔬We all start out life not knowing how to do things, “even if you already know the right way to do all these things, it can be helpful to try to look at the world through the eyes of some one who doesn’t.”👨🏼‍🔬With science that is both silly and educational, How To is perfect for your favorite cartoon crazy, science loving, “what if” asking nerd or for anyone else who isn’t afraid to ask questions. Ideal for anyone who would enjoy laughing-out-loud at some outrageous science. “A delightful and mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️👨🏼‍🔬Russell is also the author of xkcd, a webcomic. For more book reviews follow me on Instagram at #emptynestreader and on Goodreads. #howto #randallmunroe #science #humor #cartoon #riverheadbooks #bookstagramalabama #bookstagrammichigan #readalittlelearnalittlelivealittle
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  • Tanwen Cooper
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free from a colleague who had three preview copies in exchange for a donut, but thought I would give it an honest review anywayReally enjoyed this book. The book takes simple questions like 'how do I change a light bulb' then gives an outlandish explanation, but one that is grounded firmly in reality and has all the science and maths behind it worked out. However, the plans are all conveyed with Munroe's signature wit and humour so that you don't really notice the heavy I received this book for free from a colleague who had three preview copies in exchange for a donut, but thought I would give it an honest review anywayReally enjoyed this book. The book takes simple questions like 'how do I change a light bulb' then gives an outlandish explanation, but one that is grounded firmly in reality and has all the science and maths behind it worked out. However, the plans are all conveyed with Munroe's signature wit and humour so that you don't really notice the heavy working, and every page or so there's an xkcd style illustration (the comic Munroe made his name writing). Interspersed throughout the main articles are several short, single page infographic style 'how tos' which I really enjoyed and helped to break apart what was, in all reality, quite a cognitively heavy book. There are also quite a few cameos from several well known experts, which were nice to stumble across so I won't list them here. They didn't feel gratuitous and somehow managed to heighten both the fact that this book was based in reality, and also that it was extremely surreal. The only real complaint is that sometimes the book went against its own premise - building a moat of lava around your home might be interesting to read about, but I'd hardly call it a common real-world problem. There were also a few 'absurd' options that were, in fact, a little mundane. That said, even the sections that hit those points hit the perfect point of making you first laugh and then go 'huh?' as you thought about it a little deeper. If you enjoyed Munroe's comics or previous books, I would definitely recommend picking this one up.
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    I would only recommend this book if you can get it for $1.99 or less because while it has some interesting and entertaining bits, it mostly felt phoned-in.That’s all you really need to know about this book. The chapters are all on some very basic concept like “How to throw a pool party” or “How to arrive on time,” where Munroe overanalyzes it and gets into progressively more outlandish ways to reach the intended result. Here’s the rub: with the former example, Munroe gives physics reasons, calcu I would only recommend this book if you can get it for $1.99 or less because while it has some interesting and entertaining bits, it mostly felt phoned-in.That’s all you really need to know about this book. The chapters are all on some very basic concept like “How to throw a pool party” or “How to arrive on time,” where Munroe overanalyzes it and gets into progressively more outlandish ways to reach the intended result. Here’s the rub: with the former example, Munroe gives physics reasons, calculations, and random tidbits on how to make a pool in crazy and unrealistic ways. With the latter example, he kind of just gives the results of quick Google search. The first 10 chapters make up about half of the book because they are well thought out and interesting, whereas the remaining 18 chapters take up the rest since, as I keep mentioning, they were lazily done -- like he rushed to get them all written. I kept expecting it to get better again, but it never really did and got progressively more insulting to my expectations and time. The chapters didn’t even attempt to be funny at this point.So if you do get this book (hopefully on sale), you might consider quitting after chapter 10 since that’s when it takes a J – curve downward.
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  • Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    So much about author Randall Munroe can be explained by a quote from this book:I really love that we can ask physics ridiculous questions like, “What kind of gas mileage would my house get on the highway?” and physics has to answer us.Most of the rest can be illuminated by his approach to most topics in this book. Tongue firmly planted in cheek and nerd flag raised proudly high. Frankly, I have no idea why it's taken this long for the creator of the brilliant xkcd comic to tell us the winning st So much about author Randall Munroe can be explained by a quote from this book:I really love that we can ask physics ridiculous questions like, “What kind of gas mileage would my house get on the highway?” and physics has to answer us.Most of the rest can be illuminated by his approach to most topics in this book. Tongue firmly planted in cheek and nerd flag raised proudly high. Frankly, I have no idea why it's taken this long for the creator of the brilliant xkcd comic to tell us the winning strategy in football (as Randall informs us, neither the FIFA or NFL rules say anything about the use of cavalry).Illustrated throughout in Randall's brilliant style and hilariously footnoted, this is an excellent fun science book. Maybe not quite as brilliant as What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, but still a great read.
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  • Diane Hernandez
    January 1, 1970
    If you ever wondered How To send a letter home from the space station or land a space shuttle in downtown LA, I have the perfect instruction book for you.What if I use real science to solve hypothetical problems? For example, how can I get rid of this book after I finish reading it? I can leave it outside, but it won’t degrade and return to the Earth for centuries. I can burn it and use the resulting energy to power my car. I could do what the US does with nuclear waste. Throw it in a deep hole, If you ever wondered How To send a letter home from the space station or land a space shuttle in downtown LA, I have the perfect instruction book for you.What if I use real science to solve hypothetical problems? For example, how can I get rid of this book after I finish reading it? I can leave it outside, but it won’t degrade and return to the Earth for centuries. I can burn it and use the resulting energy to power my car. I could do what the US does with nuclear waste. Throw it in a deep hole, post pictorial signs warning aliens not to dig it up, and wait thousands of years for it to decay. On a side note (and this book is full of them), the deepest I can drill into the Earth is the crystalline basement. Like the author, I agree that could be the nerdiest EDM band ever or even a sale on meth.How To is an acquired taste. Read a bit of it in the store or in a free eBook sample before you buy it. You will know immediately if this type of science absurdity is for you. I like it so I’m giving it 4 (extremely nerdy) stars! But your starage may be completely different.Thanks to Riverhead Books and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Mo
    January 1, 1970
    ARC Given by NetGalley for Honest Review3.5 Stars! Randall Munroe, author and artist of popular webcomic "xkcd", brings us another wacky and super scientific longform book on how to ridiculously solve real world problems. The book lives up to it's subtitle and really gives us the useless self-help we weren't looking for but now know we need. When webcomic artists convert their style to longform books some of the charm and humor can be lost. Unfortunately for this specific work I found out that b ARC Given by NetGalley for Honest Review3.5 Stars! Randall Munroe, author and artist of popular webcomic "xkcd", brings us another wacky and super scientific longform book on how to ridiculously solve real world problems. The book lives up to it's subtitle and really gives us the useless self-help we weren't looking for but now know we need. When webcomic artists convert their style to longform books some of the charm and humor can be lost. Unfortunately for this specific work I found out that became the case, more or less. In between the super-detailed scientific tomfoolery, the short comics did add some laughs and spark to the piece, but in general I found the book ran on too long and didn't need as much text/explanation that was delivered by Munroe. I find his best and funniest work comes from trusting his readers to interpret the joke as is instead of some kind of over explanation. Overall, the whole work was entertaining but fell short on expectations the closer I got to the ending.
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  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    I am a long time XKCD fan. His science based humor is always a delight. I enjoyed his three previous books, so I happily put everything else on hold when I picked up his fourth book, _How To_.Everything here is plausible. Backed with equations! Or as the author states, physics doesn't judge. The equations simply tell you what is and is not possible. So while a solution may be absurd, it doesn't break the laws of physics as we know them today. That is super cool, as it gets my kids thinking of al I am a long time XKCD fan. His science based humor is always a delight. I enjoyed his three previous books, so I happily put everything else on hold when I picked up his fourth book, _How To_.Everything here is plausible. Backed with equations! Or as the author states, physics doesn't judge. The equations simply tell you what is and is not possible. So while a solution may be absurd, it doesn't break the laws of physics as we know them today. That is super cool, as it gets my kids thinking of all kinds of crazy things. When they propose an invention, I always ask them to prove the math. _How To_ fits that perfectly.The loudest I laughed out loud was when asking a physicist about the possible energy capture, she said, "Please don't do that." As in the universe would collapse according to the equations. This is like some of his other bent humor, which as the author states in the beginning of the book he likes things that explode and/or catch fire. _What If_ was like that.This is a fun, easily approachable book about science. Excellent for kids or adults.
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  • Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    First thoughts:Ive been craving new 'What If' articles for a while now, and where the format here isnt quite the same it was still a wonderfully entertaining read. My favorite section is probably the truncated interview with Chris Hadfield where he tries to get an astronaut/test pilot to stumble over some pretty silly (if interesting) hypothetical emergency situations. They both knew what they were getting into it, and Hadfield apparently did surprisingly well (particularly considering Randall d First thoughts:Ive been craving new 'What If' articles for a while now, and where the format here isnt quite the same it was still a wonderfully entertaining read. My favorite section is probably the truncated interview with Chris Hadfield where he tries to get an astronaut/test pilot to stumble over some pretty silly (if interesting) hypothetical emergency situations. They both knew what they were getting into it, and Hadfield apparently did surprisingly well (particularly considering Randall didnt seem to expect an answer at all for some of them)!Basically the book on the whole exactly what it says on the title 'Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems' and Randall does a great job of pushing things to absurdity while still touching on the science behind it. I love books like this, something fun that still makes me think about the world and Science! So im gleefully adding this to my shelf of favorite thinky books next to What If and Thing Explainer.
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    'Physics doesn't care if your question os wierd, It just gives you the answer without judging' If that doesn't sum up this book, i think the full title will. A brilliant read, that combines science, and absurdity and leaves you knowledge that will likely never come in handy, except as an obscure conversation starter Me: *at a pool party* "...Cool pool. I see you went with plastic? Not a big fan of gruyere cheese? Only need 2ft of it each side you know"I loved What If, and Thing Explainer, so add 'Physics doesn't care if your question os wierd, It just gives you the answer without judging' If that doesn't sum up this book, i think the full title will. A brilliant read, that combines science, and absurdity and leaves you knowledge that will likely never come in handy, except as an obscure conversation starter Me: *at a pool party* "...Cool pool. I see you went with plastic? Not a big fan of gruyere cheese? Only need 2ft of it each side you know"I loved What If, and Thing Explainer, so adding this to my collection was a must. Plus it came with some really useful tips for what to do with it when i was done (See Chapter 28: How to dispose of this book)Whether you are someone who adores learning things in a different, but oddly relatable way. A die hard science/physics fan or someone who likes to look at amusing stick figure drawings - there is likely something that will appeal to you
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  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    A surprisingly informative book on math, science and history (especially Cold War history), as Munroe irrelevantly explores the most round-about, expensive and / or dangerous (yet scientifically accurate) ways to do all sorts of mundane (dig a hole) and not so mundane (move a house) tasks. My favorite was How to Make an Emergency Landing, which consisted of Randall interviewing the awesome astronaut Chris Hadfield, trying to flummox him with more and more outrageous situations – On an emerging s A surprisingly informative book on math, science and history (especially Cold War history), as Munroe irrelevantly explores the most round-about, expensive and / or dangerous (yet scientifically accurate) ways to do all sorts of mundane (dig a hole) and not so mundane (move a house) tasks. My favorite was How to Make an Emergency Landing, which consisted of Randall interviewing the awesome astronaut Chris Hadfield, trying to flummox him with more and more outrageous situations – On an emerging submarine! Stuck outside the windshield! With no wheels! – And Hadfield calmly answering each one, usually with a causal: oh yeah, I did that / my colleague did that / we did a simulation of that, etc., and you’re left with the impression of Munroe as taken aback as the Coyote by the Road Runner easily outmaneuvering some complex death trap.A fun way to approach some rather heavy subjects, as Munroe can always be counted on to bring a new point of view.
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  • Rusty
    January 1, 1970
    I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I've been reading XKCD forever, and I enjoyed Munroe's previous two books. If you are unfamiliar with his humor, go check out the webcomic. If it doesn't make sense to you, you might want to avoid this book. How to is very similar to What if...? in that you get ridiculous ways of solving problems. He explains how to dig a hole, throw a pool party, determine when you were born and dispose of the book when you are done with it, among I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I've been reading XKCD forever, and I enjoyed Munroe's previous two books. If you are unfamiliar with his humor, go check out the webcomic. If it doesn't make sense to you, you might want to avoid this book. How to is very similar to What if...? in that you get ridiculous ways of solving problems. He explains how to dig a hole, throw a pool party, determine when you were born and dispose of the book when you are done with it, among many other topics. They all use real scientific principles to explain how to accomplish these tasks in ways you probably wouldn't consider. I'm a word person, not a science person, so sometimes the explanations made my eyes gloss over, but he does a good job trying to dumb it down enough for most of us to understand. I will definitely be adding this to my school library's collection.
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    Similar in style to What If? and nearly as hilarious.My favorite thing about this book is that some of the chapters defer the questions to experts. Randall takes the role of question asker and does his best to fluster the experts with ridiculous questions, to which the experts responded by answering every question without even a hint of hesitation. My personal favorite chapter (and Munroe's favorite as well) was "How to Make an Emergency Landing." Astronaut and test pilot Chris Hadfield takes ev Similar in style to What If? and nearly as hilarious.My favorite thing about this book is that some of the chapters defer the questions to experts. Randall takes the role of question asker and does his best to fluster the experts with ridiculous questions, to which the experts responded by answering every question without even a hint of hesitation. My personal favorite chapter (and Munroe's favorite as well) was "How to Make an Emergency Landing." Astronaut and test pilot Chris Hadfield takes every situation Munroe throws at him, including "Which crop is best to make an emergency landing in?", "How could you land a plane if you were stuck outside of the plane?", and "How to land a falling house?"Throughout the book, the use of math and physics to prove the most absurd ideas are actually feasible is done in an absolutely hilarious way that makes physics seem easy!
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. From the mind that brought us What If? we now are treated to his absurd scientific answers to your everyday problems. Need to cross a river? Want to have a pool party? Want to jump really far? Your answers are here! I must admit I nearly laughed myself silly at the section featuring a Q&A with Astronaut Chris Hadfield. His willingness to answer totally absurd questions with serious answers is just amazin I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. From the mind that brought us What If? we now are treated to his absurd scientific answers to your everyday problems. Need to cross a river? Want to have a pool party? Want to jump really far? Your answers are here! I must admit I nearly laughed myself silly at the section featuring a Q&A with Astronaut Chris Hadfield. His willingness to answer totally absurd questions with serious answers is just amazing. I recommend reading this in smaller bites, as to avoid getting overwhelmed. Overall, an excellent choice for the scientifically inclined, or those who balk at conventional wisdom and practices.
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  • Cale
    January 1, 1970
    While not as strong as What If, this volume of applying science to situations well beyond the level of absurdity is still very entertaining. From using Butterflies to transport data to the temperature issues involved in building a lava moat, Munroe provides coherent scientific explanations for absurd situations with his dry humor and love of numbers. The celebrity inclusions are inspired and informative as well, and the art is vintage XKCD. While ultimately nothing in the book is practical, that While not as strong as What If, this volume of applying science to situations well beyond the level of absurdity is still very entertaining. From using Butterflies to transport data to the temperature issues involved in building a lava moat, Munroe provides coherent scientific explanations for absurd situations with his dry humor and love of numbers. The celebrity inclusions are inspired and informative as well, and the art is vintage XKCD. While ultimately nothing in the book is practical, that doesn't make it any the less entertaining, and it did have me laughing out loud at some of the ideas. Another must for fans of XKCD, and anyone who believes science can be fun, especially when exploring the strangest hypotheticals you'll ever see.
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  • Brandy
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this. As a layman's-science nerd, this book was absolutely delightful. As someone who follows threads of thought far past logical extremes into absurdity, this book Spoke to me. And also--I learned stuff!Some of the entries take a long, winding path to answer the question presented, but I found these trails to be interesting and fun to read. The comics interspersed throughout the entries sometimes helped to clarify the absurdity, and sometimes were just fun little asides.This is really m I loved this. As a layman's-science nerd, this book was absolutely delightful. As someone who follows threads of thought far past logical extremes into absurdity, this book Spoke to me. And also--I learned stuff!Some of the entries take a long, winding path to answer the question presented, but I found these trails to be interesting and fun to read. The comics interspersed throughout the entries sometimes helped to clarify the absurdity, and sometimes were just fun little asides.This is really more high school level and above (the MATH involved here, most of which I admittedly glazed over), but I can think of a few of my middle-schoolers who will enjoy this as much as I did.Via NetGalley. Thanks, Netgalley!
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  • Ric
    January 1, 1970
    Randall Munroe is amazing, and everything he writes is somehow completely brilliant and utterly ridiculous at the same time. It’s comedic gold and also somewhat informative. For example, I now know how to build a lava moat around my house if I wanted to, and also how to keep the heat from burning the house down. I also know things like how to safely deliver a package from space or how far the average NFL QB can throw a blender. Not stuff I ever thought I’d need to know, but if happy I do. This b Randall Munroe is amazing, and everything he writes is somehow completely brilliant and utterly ridiculous at the same time. It’s comedic gold and also somewhat informative. For example, I now know how to build a lava moat around my house if I wanted to, and also how to keep the heat from burning the house down. I also know things like how to safely deliver a package from space or how far the average NFL QB can throw a blender. Not stuff I ever thought I’d need to know, but if happy I do. This book is perfect for inquisitive, scientific minded people who want to learn as much random stuff as possible. I’m a big fan of Munroe’s work, and I’d highly recommend it.
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  • Allie
    January 1, 1970
    This rating/review is based on an ARC from Netgalley.Probably a 3.5 star book, rounded up. Definitely not his best work, and definitely not as good as What If. I still absolutely devoured it, but some of the chapters kind of trailed off and lost the thread of the initial premise. In fact the book starts really strong and kind of peters out as it goes along. I loved the interviews with real people, like Col. Chris Hadfield legit answering his weird questions about bonkers aircraft landings. I als This rating/review is based on an ARC from Netgalley.Probably a 3.5 star book, rounded up. Definitely not his best work, and definitely not as good as What If. I still absolutely devoured it, but some of the chapters kind of trailed off and lost the thread of the initial premise. In fact the book starts really strong and kind of peters out as it goes along. I loved the interviews with real people, like Col. Chris Hadfield legit answering his weird questions about bonkers aircraft landings. I also love that he asked Serena Williams to hit a drone out of the sky! I would say for fans of Munroe's writing, start with What If then explore from there.
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  • kris
    January 1, 1970
    How To details ridiculous ways to do regular or routine things. That ridiculousness is the appeal of Munroe's works: let's move a house with jet engines; let's mail things from space; let's take a selfie in front of Venus; etc. All that said, while I enjoyed this it didn't work for me quite as well as What If?, which took ridiculous premises very seriously. How To suffered from some of the same issues as What If?: some scenarios get spun into strange tangents without cause or explanation, and th How To details ridiculous ways to do regular or routine things. That ridiculousness is the appeal of Munroe's works: let's move a house with jet engines; let's mail things from space; let's take a selfie in front of Venus; etc. All that said, while I enjoyed this it didn't work for me quite as well as What If?, which took ridiculous premises very seriously. How To suffered from some of the same issues as What If?: some scenarios get spun into strange tangents without cause or explanation, and there are occasional gaps that never get addressed. (Serena Williams does take down a drone in the same of science, though!)
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