reviews What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
Why did I read this book?
Randall Munroe is the author of the popular XKCD webcomic in which he takes a witty take on the world of science and geeks. I really like how he is often able to explain difficult concepts in a simple comic – and takes us by surprise. Even after all these years he keeps delivering new things his way, sarcasm and all.
I’ve heard of his book before but hesitated. Was this a book I could enjoy? Was it something I was truely interested in? Would it be worth my time and money? Well after hearing a lot of positive reviews I downloaded the trail version in iBooks, started reading and still wanted more when I got to the buy button. 🙂
How was it?
The book has a good pace. It is not a pageturner, that wouldn’t fit for this type of book, but it still manage to leave you wanting for more. Randall answers a question in about 10 pages each, making it an ideal book to read before bed.
My favourites where the very simpel questions. For them Randall gave the simpel solution and then he added his “yeah but what if we” twist to it, resulting in some very out of the box – fantasy- results. Fantasy because you simply know that things cannot be tested nor proven and yet it just makes sense. He questions everything but researches it as well; making this a book that feels very solid and quotable. As a side effect it challenges your mind and forces it to think beyond the found solution, reaching for more and more.
Would you recommend it?
I would recommend this book. But it is not for everyone. I have friends who would love it and friends who would be utterly frustrated by it’s fantasy-out-of-the-box thinking aspect. If you like absurd science-cy thinking things, with a wiff of sarcasm and geeky science fantasy, you will like it.