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Monday, February 10, 2020

Only the Sh*t You Need to Know! Book Review

Book titles are getting a bit more bold these days. That, and long. The full title of this book is All the Sh*t You Should Have Learned: A Digestible Re-Education in Science, Math, Language, History...and All the Other Important Crap. Think of it as a recap of everything you should have learned in school, but probably forgot since then, if you even learned it in the first place.
The book is broken down into five major parts: history, language, math, science, and foreign language. The table of contents then breaks down each section to specifics, like for history, there is everything from Mesopotamia and the First Civilizations, all the up to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, with about 30 other topics in between. Looking at a specific topic like the US Civil Rights, you then get sub-sections of specific facts about the topic, like Brown v Board of Education, Rosa Parks, Project C, Desegregation of the University of Alabama, The March on Washington, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, where each sub-section is literally a paragraph long and you re-learn a specific fact about the event. This goes on for about 300 pages.

The thought behind the book is you probably forgot the answers to at least half of the book's topics. By providing the answers again in small bits, you might actually remember them this time. I can also see it as a study guide for a TV show like Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? If you've ever watched the show, you've probably thought that you should know the answers to the questions but just can't remember them. With the help of small doses of knowledge, the knowledge might actually stick this time around. Why you might want to remember it now, I wouldn't know, but that's the reason why you'd make the purchase.

With a college Math degree, I took the closest look at the Math part. There are thirty sections here that take you from basic math through calculus and statistics and beyond. Most of the sub-sections were familiar to me. I might not have remembered everything about a topic, but enough to not embarrass myself too much. Most surprisingly to me, some topics I've never even heard of before, like The Rules of Brahmagupta. Sure, many I learned before and have forgotten, this was one I have zero recollection of, ever.

The Foreign Language section I found the least useful, though it depends on how you look at the topics/languages there. If you travel around the world a lot, the twenty-ish sections can teach you the helpful phrases for "where is the toilet?" and "thank you" in lots of different languages. But, in school, I only had the opportunity to learn one, Spanish in my case. So, that means the other twenty sections I could basically skip, as I never learned them before and have no real interest in them now.

Overall, I like the way the information in the book is presented. You don't have to read it cover-to-cover, with a definitive start and end. Instead, you can pick up the book anywhere and learn the next little bit of knowledge. The question then becomes, do you forget it again, or find room in that brain to remember it for a change?

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions stated are my own and may differ from yours. See my disclosure policy for more information.

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