Smile Politely

More Information Than You Require is Funnier Than Most

If you’re looking for a last-minute Christmas gift, then I would highly recommend More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman. You may not know Hodgman, a self-professed “famous minor television personality,” by name, but his visage is well-known as the PC in the Mac commercials. More Information Than You Require may not be the deepest, most life-changing book available in your local bookstore, but it’s endlessly entertaining and easily consumed in short bursts, if necessary.

I don’t consider myself too easily amused, but this book reduced me to giggling fits on nearly every page. Hodgman maintains a consistently amiable tone, despite his completely nonsensical subject matter. As in his previous book, The Areas of My Expertise, Hodgman assembles this volume in the form of a fake almanac. There is even a list of “Shitty Aphorisms,” per the law that any book calling itself an almanac must contain at least four of them.

Hodgman gives worthless advice on any number of topics, from How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft (“Don’t Use Your Name as Your Password!”) to dealing with pest infestations (“There is much you can do on your own to keep your home pest-free using just what you have around the house, plus a little diligence, and surprisingly enough, fire.”). He saves his worst advice for gambling, “the sport of the asthmatic man.” Hodgman describes the rank of different poker hands, like a Full House, which is comprised of “three ‘children’ cards accompanied by a Widower, a Goofy Pal and John Stamos,” and a Royal Flush, which is “same as a Straight Flush, but the cards are made of velvet.”

Whenever things run the risk of getting bogged down in aimless goofiness, Hodgman will reference his bottomless stock of crackpot conspiracy theories to bring things back to his version of reality. The Secret World Government, The Seven Portals to the Hollow Earth (that’s where the Mole-Men live: “the race of humanoids who live in the complex warren of tunnels and vast caverns beneath the earth”) and each President get full coverage.

As it’s title promises, there is definitely More Information than You Require contained within the pages of the book. Hodgman lives by his invented credo, “REALITY, while generally PROBABLE, is not always INTERESTING.” There are no bounds to an almanac of false trivia, and after two books on pretty much the same topic, Hodgman shows no sign of running out of madcap fake facts.

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