What If

Randall Munroe
Dec 24, 2014

What would happen if you had a mole of moles?  Or if everybody on planet Earth decided to jump up and down at the same time?  How high up would you have to drop a steak for it to be cooked by the time it hit the ground?  Former NASA scientist Randall Munroe has been amusing the internet with his stick figure drawings since 2005, mostly on the popular website xkcd.com, but the popular comics website is also home to a column where he answers hypothetical (and very often insane) questions about physics, space, chemistry and just about everything else.  

A compendium of the answers has now been gathered in one place.  What If is internet-age information at its best--well-researched, lateral-minded and extremely witty.  Munroe consults a variety of experts for his answers and punctuates his responses with the clever drawings that made him famous.  Like the best popular science books, Munroe takes difficult concepts and makes them accessible and interesting without resorting to simplistic or patronizing language, and best of all, the book makes hard science laugh out loud funny.  In my opinion, this is one of 2014's must-read books.

Reviewed by Library Staff