Book Review: How To by Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe, writer of the popular xkcd webcomic has released his latest book, How To. I previously reviewed his book, What If? which gave scientific answers to absurd questions submitted by readers. I also wrote a series of posts answering questions from that book that Randall declined to answer. (Start here if you want to read them.)

How To is sort of the opposite of What If? Instead of serious answers to absurd questions, it gives absurd answers to serious questions (although both are powered by science). For example, Chapter 1 is titled, “How to Jump Really High.” Randall suggests getting a sailplane and jumping off a mountain for best results. And things get plenty weirder than that.

I was hoping How To would have some unanswered questions that I could follow up on like I did with my “What If? Rejects” series, but sadly, it doesn’t. The closest it comes is a few how-tos in the form of comic strips that are scattered throughout the book, but even those don’t leave a whole lot to add.

Even so, I enjoyed the book. It had a lot of the same absurdist humor and interesting scientific trivia as What If? and even though it’s not quite as good, it’s still a pretty fun read, and if you’re a fan of xkcd, I definitely recommend it.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5.

About Alex R. Howe

I'm a full-time astrophysicist and a part-time science fiction writer.
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