Quick, Cute & Fun

I grabbed a copy of What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe because it was available as a free download on Amazon Prime. Munroe is a certified NASA scientist that compiled a book of absurd hypothetical questions. These questions ranged from things like “What if all the rain falling on the Earth came down at one time in one big drop?” and “What would happen if everyone on the planet jump up at the same time?”

While these are questions that are obviously impossible to answer, leave it to a NASA scientist to “run the numbers.”

I liked the way the book was laid out. It clearly states the question in a big bold font and then proceeds to break the answer down into a few or a dozen paragraphs written in a normal sized font.  What that allowed me to do was skim the questions to see if I was even interested in it at all.

Most of the time, I skimmed the question and then if it was a tiny bit interesting skimmed the answer. In fact, I really only read in detail one of two of the entries.  That is because the science behind some of the answers is extremely dry reading.

Munroe tries to keep it light with an upbeat writing style but you can only be so jocular about drag coefficients and energy expenditures. The other big positive of the book is the generous usage of stick figure diagrams that served to explain concepts as well as entertain.

While it was one of my quickest reads ever thanks to so much skimming, I did enjoy the premise. I could see where this could be a much more fun book if I was at a different stage in life.

by Chris Doelle