Foreword Reviews


Britannica's 300 Lists That Will Blow Your Mind

Andrew Pettie’s Listified! collects far-ranging factoids that are fabulous, fascinating, and often funny.

Scannable and organized, lists are easy to love; they’re one of the most accessible ways to present information. Ranging from the Big Bang to the tiny tardigrade, these 300 lists cover the entire space-time continuum. Loudest burp? Check. Tiniest dinosaur? Check. Longest tongue? Check. But the work is not just about superlatives. The lists also include, among hundreds of items, ten machines that make holes, the origin of the word “chocolate,” a caterpillar that disguises itself as a venomous snake, and famous last words. In short, there’s very little in history and prehistory that isn’t touched upon by at least one of the lists.

Whether you flip through picking up a fact here (Silly Putty was once called Nutty Putty) or a fact there (Turophobia is the fear of cheese), or read it from cover to cover, Listified! is an easy book to get lost in. The format is clear, the illustrations are colorful, and the amount of text on any page is never overwhelming.

Because lists cannot be comprehensive, some questions arise: where, when, and why was the world’s largest chocolate bar created? Of the Pawnee word for “phone” (rarácawakataku): what is the literal translation? When Shizo Kanakuri collapsed during the 1912 marathon, how far into the race had he gotten? Why is George Eliot only a footnote to the list of women who blurred gender boundaries? And why is Amelia Earhart on the runners-up list as the second person to fly across the Atlantic alone, when she was the first woman to do so?

Still, Listified! is an irresistible compilation for young and old alike; it captures the weird and wonderful elements of life across the universe.

Reviewed by Randi Hacker

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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