|The Average Life of the Average Person by Tadg Farrington|
|Category: Popular Science|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: Some of the most interesting and unusual facts in the world, and then some, wrapped up in some delicious writing. A great gift for anyone.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 408||Date: September 2009|
|Publisher: Square Peg|
Back in school, we would often bemoan the idea of 'average', saying that like being 'normal', if there were such a thing, who would even want to be it? There could be nothing worse, we thought, than being average. Except...there is by definition a whole lot worse than 'average' – the exact same amount that is better than average, in fact. And that was the problem.
Joe Average, is a funny chap. According to this book he will live 79.1 years and in that time he will, among other things, go through 1094 tins of baked beans. In follows, therefore, that the statements around farting (26 times per day) and toilet usage (271 days of your life are spent on the bog) are probably pretty reasonable. He'll also shudder through 4785 orgasms in his life, though I don't really want to be the one in bed with him when they happen. Who knows what else might squeeze out at the same time.
Judging by the swift speed with which I devoured it, this book is clearly the one thing that has been missing from my life thus far. With over 100 different topics, this is an eclectic mix of history, science, and solid fact. If you want to know how many words you'll use in your lifetime, or how much you'll be conned into spending of potentially unnecessary (given the odds) insurance, this book is for you. If you like to be the person with all the answers in the pub quiz, or just the amusing guy in the corner at the party, with fast, fun facts dripping off your tongue, then this book is for you. If you want to know everything about everything, and a bit more besides, then this book is for you. If you want to gasp and giggle and grimace in quick succession, then this book is for you.
Comparing yourself to the average man/woman/cat is an automatic reaction to reading this book. I'm sad that I've already used up a lifetime's worth of trips abroad, but I just need to surround myself with some passport-less peeps and that should make me feel better. They can cancel out my jaunts, you see, because this is just one of the many calculations based on the meaning of life, not the modeing or medianing... Maybe they'd like some of the aforementioned baked beans in my allocation, since I'm never going to touch them.
As well as a luxury to read, this book is a luxury read. Thick, glossy paper. Pretty print details. Exquisitely chosen illustrations. A satisfyingly heavy weight, meaning the book doubles up as a weapon in times of self-defence, or a means for accessing your house through the French doors on the conservatory when you've just realised you've locked your keys inside.
You might think that, given that it's just a collection of publicly available facts, anyone could have written this book. I certainly thought that before I got stuck in, but quickly changed by mind. Tadg Farrington (love the name – nothing average about THAT) is clearly a skilled, insightful, and witty writer. He develops wonderful tangents at times, but far from being irritating, these are rather endearing in the way they take you off topic. His cynicism is hard to beat, but you do get the occasional Important Message coming through, from why it's bad to waste water, to how to get rid of junk mail from your life and thus save the planet, one windowed envelope at a time.
This is a truly marvellous book. A great read for you, a great gift for someone else. With short, punchy chapters you can dip in and out of this book, read it straight through or use it for reference or inspiration. It would make a wonderful, lazy holiday read, since you'll want to read several snippets aloud, and therefore it's useful to be surrounded by a captive audience while reading. Stick it on your Christmas list now, if you can last that long.
Super dooper thanks go to the publishers for sending us this title.
While this book provides an awful lot of answers – to more questions than you could ever conceivably have wanted to know the answers to - life does have an infinite number of questions, including Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze? and Do Polar Bears Get Lonely?. So once you've devoured this one, why not pick up one of those?
The Average Life of the Average Person by Tadg Farrington is in the Top Ten Books For Your Boyfriend.
The Average Life of the Average Person by Tadg Farrington is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2009.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Average Life of the Average Person by Tadg Farrington at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Average Life of the Average Person by Tadg Farrington at Amazon.com.
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