Book Review: 1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop (John Lloyd)

Book Review: 1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop (John Lloyd)

1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, and James Harken

Facts and Trivia

If you come to my blog, you are most likely here due to it being a beer and craft beer blog. Which means you are probably fully aware of pub trivia or bar trivia or brewpub trivia. So I think thats what drew me to this as I was walking around and snorting around the Hershey Library. It also looked like a relatively quick read (and it was), and that interested me to help with my 110 Book Challenge this year. (Yea… sometimes you need to just read a quickie to help keep yourself in the mood…. and motivated….)

There is also something about trivia and facts, that its fun to digest them and read them. Like we fake ourselves into feeling like we’re smarter than we are due to knowing some small minute trivial matter that doesn’t really matter. (For example, I can name all of the Star Wars aliens in the Cantina scene or the Jabba’s Palace scene, or tell you what species they all are…… yea… excited now aren’t you ladies?).

Its a large part of our fascination with shows like Jeopardy; that idea of expertise, or knowledge. Not even so much as wisdom, but the complete accumulation of all knowledge. But, like everything, there is a fine line, a difference between things. Wisdom does not equate to knowledge. And I’m not meaning this as an attack on people who love reading trivia or facts or those who love Jeopardy (I love watching Jeopardy), or go to brewpub trivia. But its interesting how we as society love and value this ‘knowledge gathering’ and hoarding of facts. We all have that one friend who can spout out some random fact or trivia piece about the Otter or the Three Toed Tree Sloth or Uganda or the surface temperature of Io. I do have some great quotes of wisdom versus knowledge that I’ll probably plaster at the end of this article after the full review.


The biggest thing about a book or anything about facts and trivia is verification. And here we run into the first biggest issue on this book. They say you can’t access a website address to verify the facts in the book…. ……the website address “no longer exists” or “404” or whatever pops up when going to it. A redirect to their main page, or something. And no search on their page turns up an actual ‘fact check’ page. So right out of the gate, thats a huge disappointment.

Especially since there are a lot of dubious facts in the book. Some things like “the only lady in England with X name…” or similar equivalent. Which… ok, sure, but that might be at the time of writing, and the very next second that can easily change, or a ton of other things changeable or just questionable with a trivia fact like that. Especially with no dating or timing or anything else on it. And there are a few ‘facts’ that are also of the spurious nation, things that are not just temporal or timely, but downright just questionable due to how it was worded or things that are not exactly fully verifiable facts to begin with.

The back of the book, on page 337 notes this for its verification:

“A Note on Sources”

For anyone keen to verify any of the facts in the book, they can be found online by going to and typing the relevant page number in the source finder. There is also a wealth of additional background detail about much of the information. Please do let us know if you have a quibble or a correction and add your own discoveries via our Twitter account @qikipedia.

1,339 Quite Interesting Facts (Book)

This page: does not exist. Redirecting to a “404 page not found” page. And this then leads you to a “shop” page.

Book Review

GoodReads blurb:

From the creators of the hugely popular BBC quiz show QI, a brilliant sequel to their New York Times–best-selling 1,227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off.

1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop is bursting with mindboggling morsels of trivia—informative, hilarious, sometimes arcane or utterly useless, but always entertaining.

Did you know?

• Wagner only ever wore pink silk underwear.

• There are 34,000 statues of Kim Il Sung in North Korea.

• There is a cult in Malaysia that worships a giant teapot.

• Earthworms have five hearts.

• Your eyebrows renew themselves every 64 days.

• Charles Darwin’s tortoise Harriet died in 2006 at the age of 176.

Every fact in this magnificent little volume has been researched with punctilious care in order to bring you the truth in its purest form.

1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop (GoodReads)

The facts come at you hard and heavy and fast in this quick to read but compact and dense volume. There is four facts per page and there isn’t an exact order to any or all of them. You’ll go from Tolstoy learning to ride bike at 67 to The Swiss are the only Europeans to eat dog meat.

Which right there is one of those spurious ‘facts’ as I mentioned earlier. Firstly, its an extremely over generalized comment / fact. Secondly, its extremely loosely defined. I understand what the ‘fact’ above is saying – that the culture of Swiss people accepts eating dog meat and do so regularly; but it also feels – especially now in the modern (2020’s) era, that its just a massive simplification and over generalization. Especially also throwing out the “only Europeans” part too.

Moving on, we come to one that as a “myth” has been debunked by many many many people over the past decades. From page 215:

The lower the ration between a man’s index and ring fingers, the longer his penis will be.

This has been debunked so often throughout the history of sexual knowledge and education. Its also one of the most regularly Googled things (men looking for help on the size of their penis, if their big enough, if their too small, how do you know the size of a man’s penis by looking at him, is there a correlation between feet size and penis, is there a correlation between finger length and penis size, etc etc etc etc). And time and time again it has been shown that there is no correlation.

But here it is in print…. but don’t worry, they have a site you can use to get more information and to fact check right? Oh…. oh no….. that leads a to a ‘404 Not Found’.

Hmmm, so just how many other facts aren’t really facts?

Some more facts:

  • It is illegal for US Citizens to eat Penguin meat. (217)
  • Nostophobia is the fear of going home. (83)
  • Turning up the music 22% in a bar makes people drink 26% more. (97)
  • Earthworms have five hearts. (129)
  • One in every seven minutes spent online is spent on Facebook. (268)
  • You can only see a rainbow if your back is to the sun. (305)

And there is plenty more.

This is a fun volume, and lots of the ‘oh cool’ or ‘oh thats interesting’ or ‘hmmmmmm’ type of trivia and facts. Part of the problem with volumes like this though, is that the facts are presented so fast and furious at you that there’s no real way to retain any of it all. (Outside of looking up these facts, I wouldn’t remember them.) And thats just a hindrance of the style and format of books like this, not necessarily an indication of this book in particular.

Its a perfect book to quick read on the ‘john’ or for car rides and things like this. Its super quick to read if you just read it straight through in a couple of sittings. And its perfect as an accompaniment to things like Mental Floss YouTube videos and the such. Sadly I find that the facts might be things you could quibble on, find fault in, or might be wrong. And as per their own book and site, you can’t fully fact check them, so that’s a big problem for me right there. But I guess, luckily, you are far likely not to remember too many of the facts afterwards anyway, so its a ‘wash’.

My GoodReads rating: **
My LibraryThing rating: **.5
Global Average GoodReads rating: 4.10 (as of 2.1.22)

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As promised (and almost forgotten) here are some of the quotes I mentioned earlier that I would plaster at the end of the article:

  • Science is organized knowledge, life is organized wisdom. – Immanuel Kant
  • Knowledge is being aware of what you can do, wisdom is knowing when not to do it. (Unaccredited)
  • Knowledge without wisdom is like water in sand. (Genesis proverb)
  • Knowledge comes from learning. Wisdom comes from living. (Anthony Douglas Williams)
  • Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience. You need experience to gain wisdom. (Albert Einstein)
  • The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. (Socrates)

Thanks For Reading

Hope you enjoyed this book review. As I make my way through my GoodReads 110 Book Challenge this year, I am hoping to get all or nearly all of the 110 books reviewed for up on the site, so be on the lookout for all of them to accompany all of the beer reviews, hike reviews, brewery reviews, brewery news, and other shenanigans we have going on.


-B. Kline

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