From the creator of the wildly popular xkcd, What If? gives hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions. How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind - or at least a really big explosion.
This audiobook edition is read by geek icon Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stand by Me, The Big Bang Theory) and has been adapted for audio in collaboration with the author.
©2014 xkcd inc (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
The book itself was fantastic but I found that I just couldn't listen to Wil Wheaton for very long. I just hated his attempt to prove himself as a serious actor by reading a book. Too much acting.
if only will wheaton was around to read me bed time stories all the time! “what if we use mooooore power?!?”.... good times
Recommended for anyone with a curiosity for science and wildly impractical scenarios.
To top it off, Wil Wheaton narrates this fantastic read in a way that keeps you laughing and wanting more.
Not my type of humour. It had potential to be funny or at least a little informative. Glad I bought so I could listen to it or at least partly (3hrs or so). I will return it to audible for a refund. Audio sample was the best part of the book.
Well worth it. Every chapter offers a new hypothetical gem ! Will be looking out for more from this author. 4 stars
"So when is the next edition coming out ?"
What a fantastically geeky, funny, serious and entertaining book. I've been reading XKCD for years but only found out about this book yesterday. Then finished it this afternoon. Any book read by Will Wheaton is always a treat and he puts in a perfect performance here. What a combination - Munroe and Wheaton. Get this book and prepare to be entertained, learn something and have a laugh.
"Good fun that descends into silliness"
Certainly Wil, who is high energy and adds an awful lot to what's here. Randall perhaps on the basis of his overall reputation or as seriously light relief. Not on the basis of this book!
This isn't really that kind of book. It's comedy nonfiction bite sized chapters on different topics. I chose it for going to bed or quick moments to listen, and it suits that. The whole book in one go is a bit too much of the same and it stops being funny.
I went in expecting something like the New Scientist series of light hearted questions to things you've always wanted to know. I liked this book less, because how it works is a reader puts forward a completely strange question, Randall answers that question in about half the chapter, and the second half is taken up with an even more outlandish aside to the question that interests Randall. This invariably involves MORE explosions, MORE mass deaths, or MORE planets being destroyed.
I can see some readers really enjoying that,but I found it same-y.
"Amazing book for Geeks"
I certainly would. What if answers all the questions you wanted ask but didn't know who to ask.
Will Weatons narration
The question about the periodic table
Just get it, its amazing.. Please do another!!!
"Brilliant, just brilliant!"
Funny insightful entertaining
Not nearly as funny, but just as informative - Death from the Skies by Phil Plait
I love the website, and the book is even better. Wil Wheaton was a perfect choice for narrating this, he really makes this book and brings it to life.
Recommend this for anyone who has ever pondered what would happen if the Earth suddenly stopped, if the sun has ever set on the British Empire or what would happen if a baseball was pitched at you at the speed of light. Couple this with Randall Munroe's almost obsessive need to blow things up in ever increasingly bizarre ways and you have an excellent read! Hope he releases a volume 2..
"Mad and yet superb!"
General questions taken to their extreme conclusions or absurd questions given a logical answer.
Both observations fit this book but don't get across how mad this book is. Yet no matter how bonkers the last Q & A was you can't stop listening.
I wasn't sure about Wil Wheaton reading this book before I started, and the first 10 minutes was Wes Crusher reading it to me, but after that I forgot my total nerdism and it was just some American narrator who did a wonderful job, especially when conveying the authors humour.
I would highly recommend Wes... I mean Wil for other audio books.
My only criticism is that it is over so quickly and that there aren't any more books in the series yet.
Please write another!!!
"Very well researched and entertaining"
Enjoyed it very much, found the questions interesting and the answers even more interesting! A great listen
"a nerds dream"
have you ever thought what if? or have you ever seen a film and gone: well that is not possible! the required energy to exolode earth is higher than 3 nuclear weapons!! if you have this is the book for you, all the science behind childrens questions
"QI in book form"
QI in book form but with citations and an actual scientist. Kind of like reading the New Scientist "Last Word" series, but with more references to Star Wars and Pokemon. Wil Wheaton is the perfect narrator for the job and he really delivers on this one. It's so important to have an enthusiastic narrator, something that was sorely lacking in Alec Sand's "The Koran" Audiobook by Trout lake Media. It is not lacking here. For those of you who don't know, this book is written by the creator of webcomic XKCD Randall Munroe, an ex roboticist and scientist from NASA who quit his full time job making space robots to draw stickmen on the internet. When dealing with something outside his field he asked old friends and colleagues from a relevant field, demonstrating the humility of a true scientist.
Had fun listening to it at work. Scientific, yet entertaining and very light on background knowledge needed.
"Exactly what it says on the tin"
I read a lot of popular science books and I'm really in two minds about this one. On the one hand, it's entertaining and extremely well read by Will Wheaton. On the other hand, the questions really are absurd and hypothetical, to the point of me listening for 7 hours and learning basically nothing (except perhaps that many scenarios lead to the world being destroyed!!) but maybe that never was the point. Worth a try but, for me, 3 out of 5.
"Great and Thought Provoking"
A really accessible book, very interesting every day concepts and questions answered using math and science. Great fun
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