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The World’s Greatest Idea by John Farndon

The World’s Greatest Idea by John Farndon

Icon Books (2010)
Democracy, Capitalism, Sewers, Internet, Wine, Farming, Romance – what’s the greatest idea ever? In this book, John Farndon, author of the best-selling Do You Think You’re Clever? sets out to find the answer. With each chapter arguing for a particular idea, this is a witty, erudite and regularly surprising voyage of discovery through the most powerful intellectual, social, scientific and creative sparks of genius humans ever had. The ideas are ranked according to a public vote on www.theworldsgreatestidea.com - will you agree with the verdict?
Foreign editions:
Turkey - Dogus Grubu Iletisim
Romanian – Litera Inernational
Korean – Woong gjin Think Big Co Ltd.
Indonesia – PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama
France – Roularta 
 
The Wish List top 50 books of 2011, Exclusive Books, South Africa.
Books for pop scientists and clever clogs, Our Book Club, 2010
 
 
 
Reviews
"writing that is both witty and insightful. As a history buff, I enjoyed this book immensely..."
Myles Gough, Cosmos
"This is a witty and surprising read – you learn something new with each idea, even if it’s just where the public rates the idea! This is another great holiday/commuting book – it’s easy to read and the short sections make it an ideal book to dip in and out of whether travelling on the train or sunning yourself by the pool."
Laboratory News
"Read this fascinating book.”
Frank’s Book reviews, Voice FM, Ballarat
"very interesting reading"
Maria Court, Bournemouth Echo
"each idea... is given its own chapter providing a potted exploration – nourishing in itself, but also providing some readers with just enough to want another portion by reading further.”
Sheen Hastings, Yorkshire Post
"`The World's Greatest Idea' strikes me as a perfect example of the whole's being greater than the sum of the parts. The parts: the fifty great ideas of course. The whole: the human mind itself, fizzing and sparking away in a rather comfortless universe, conjuring up dreams, stratagems, cunning devices, systems of belief... John Farndon's book succeeds where quite a number of more portentous studies of human thought have failed, in converying a sense of our dazzling inventiveness, and the sheer scale and range of our achievements, mostly admirable, but occasionally villainous... I heartily recommend his book.”
Michael Douglas Porter, Amazon uk, customer review*****
"Great book"
Annette J Dunlea, Irish Author’s Literary blog
"[Each idea is introduced with]...a short, clear and well explained essay."
Boeklog
“John Farndon counts down his top 50 [ideas], including everything from bread to the internet to marriage to printing. What will be his number one? Buy the book and find out."
Warcry, Book Review ****
"Farndon now argues the case for each of the ideas, showing how stirrups assisted in the spread of feudalism, how wine has changed the course of history and how the number ‘zero’ opened the way to a new type of mathematics..”
Worth a read, South Africa
"thought-provoking discussions "
Angel Magazine
"John Farndon's THE WORLD'S GREATEST IDEA is a brilliant book by a scintillating science writer."
Barbara, Amazon UK customer review *****
Radio, TV and Web
  • Hannah Murray, Talk Radio Europe
  • REM Mediterraneo
  • Newstalk, Ireland, 106-108fm
  • SAFM Lifestyle (South Africa)
  • Chris Gibbons, Cape Talk Radio
  • BBC Radio Sussex
  • Manx Radio, Isle of Man
  • Weekend Nights with John Scott, Radio 4BC, Australia
Related media
Do You Think You’re Clever by John Farndon

Do You Think You’re Clever by John Farndon

Icon Books (2009)
Why can’t you light a candle in a spaceship? What books are bad for you? Is feminism dead?
Every year interviewees for Oxford and Cambridge colleges are posed such curious conundrums, aimed at separating the merely bright from the truly clever.
Providing dazzling responses to 60 of these infamously perplexing problems, Do You Think You’re Clever? explores the twisting paths your mind can take when you’re really made to think.
From philosophy to physics and from literature to logarithms, John Farndon traverses the great mountain ranges of the mind and considers why the pole vaulting record will never exceed 6.5m, whether there are too many people in the world, how crime might be reduced through architecture and much more...
 
Shortlisted Society of Authors Education Award, 2010
 
 
Books for pop scientists and clever clogs, Our Book Club, 2010
Reached, no 23, Amazon UK bestsellers, Over 300 days in top 100 Humour books on Amazon
Reached no 7, South Africa, bestsellers
Reached no 13, bestsellers, Turkey
64 ***** votes Nemira website, Romania
 
 
Foreign editions:
Thailand - WeLearn Co Ltd Japan - Kawade Shobo Shinsha Ltd Romania - Nemira Publishing House 
Turkey - Dogus Grubu Iletisim 
Korea - Random House Korea 
Chinese (simplified) Mainland, excluding Taiwan, Hong Kong & Mac – Xinhua Publishing House
The Wish List top 50 books of 2011, Exclusive Books, South Africa.
 
 
 
Reviews
“John Farndon gives the reader insight into a world most people will know nothing about; if you have not been for interview at Oxford or Cambridge you may not be aware of the amazingly abstruse questions that might confront you. At first glance this could mean that the book will appeal to a very limited market, however the demonstration of how lateral thinking and mental agility can be applied is a useful process for every student. The book celebrates being 'clever' in its widest possible sense, championing the free thinker, the alternative, the individual, the power of deep thought.”
Judges Comments, Society of Authors Education Award, 2010
"A great book to dip into...you can hardly stop yourself wanting to see the next question.”
Evan Davis, BBC Radio 4 Today
"As well as putting your smug relatives to the test, this book is an entertaing way of encouraging unusual thought and debate.”
The Oldie
“’Do You Think You’re Clever?: The Oxbridge Questions’, brings together the toughest, most esoteric examples of the genre, and writer John Farndon – a graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge – sketches out winning responses to each.”
Daily Telegraph
“Test your knowledge and see where you rank in relation to the nation's elite with this light-hearted and informative quiz book. Featuring actual questions taken from undergraduate admissions interviews” 
Woman and Home
“Questions and answers from Oxbridge entrance exams that has been a real hit with students and tourists alike. It outsold all fiction titles as well last year.”
Broad Conversation, Oxford Blackwell bookshop blog
"I think the author has done a great service for his readers in effortlessly demonstrating the latent thinking and issues behind some seemingly innocuous everyday questions. A lot of people today do not care enough to dig deeper into social and philosophical issues that surround and affect them. They often don’t see the relevance. Without bashing the concepts over the readers’ heads, Farndon has help to bring these issues to the foreground. People ought to be thinking about some of the topics in the book as they will affect their lives in some ways. If the thoughts lead to constructive actions, I think the book will have done some real good.
The subjects discussed are diverse, including ideas about fate and why can’t you light a candle in space? All the discussions are interesting and well presented. The writing style is elegant and often relieves the gravity and somberness of the topics.
I particularly like the questions, “if you could go back in time to any period of history, when would it be and why?” Farndon’s astute treatment of this simple, hypothetical, almost the kind you asked after several pints in a pub, question was immense fun to read and surprisingly inspirational.
Forlorn Hope, Ops-Centre
"A wonderful collection of oddly brilliant questions and answers taken from the infamously challenging Oxbridge interviews. This is a book for everyone who likes to think they’re clever, or who thinks they’d like to be clever.."
Vahshatedul’s Blog, A surfeit of reading

 

Radio, TV and Web
  • Hannah Murray, Talk Radio Europe
  • Today, BBC Radio Four
  • BBC Asian Network
  • BBC Radio Oxford
  • BBC Radio Bath
 
 
Other media:
Do Not Open by John Farndon

Do Not Open by John Farndon

Dorling Kindersley (November, 2007)

Psst! Want to know a secret? Do you dare open me up? Because inside you'll find the incredible TRUTH about mind-boggling confidential stuff 'they' don't want you to know! From the publishers who brought you the totally fantastic Pick Me Up, Put Me Down, find out where the Bermuda Triangle is, whether alien abductions actually happen, and the truth about crop circles. Explore lost worlds, unravel secret codes, marvel at mysterious places and meet spooks, spies, secret keepers and scandal makers of the world. When you've finished riddle solving, close me up in my funky cage so no one else can get at my secrets! But ssh! Don't tell a soul.

Awarded by the Voice of Youth Advocates organization --VOYA Nonfiction Honor List, 2008

New York Times Bestseller

Washington Post Kids Post Book of the Week 16th Dec 2007
A Good Read: 41 ***** ratings, 35 **** ratings
Amazon.com: 23 ***** ratings

Buy on Amazon

 
 
Reviews
"My ten year-old daughter and I have been really enjoying 'Do Not Open' ...a colorful book filled with unexlained mysteries' a colorful book filled with unexplained mysteries, bizarre anecdotes through the ages, great escapes, codes, optical illusions, hoaxes, and explanations of secret systems and complexes."
Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing
 
"Do Not Open comes peeking out from between the bars of its own little prison door and will. . . make children immediately ignore the warning of its title. . . This is a good bet for pre-(and full) teens."
The Wall Street Journal
 
“The title says "Do Not Open," but once you do, you won't want to close it again. The art is bold, the pages are eye-popping and the stories range from odd to awesome.”
Washington Post
 
'Do Not Open is lavishly illustrated, well thought out and lots of fun.'
Times Educational Supplement,December 14, 2007
 
“If you enjoy solving mysteries with the detectives, examining the evidence like a CSI, or reading choose-your-own adventure or 5-minute-mystery novels, this is your book....Do Not Open is aptly named, because once you open and start reading, it’s nearly impossible to put down.”
W L Clark, Last Broadcast

What Happens When ...?: You Turn on the TV, Flick on a Light, Mail a Letter by John Farndon; illustrated by Steve Fricker and Mike Harnden

45 pages Scholastic/Wayland (1996)

An explanation of the technological processes behind such things as ordering a pizza by telephone, flushing a toilet, and watching a weather forecast on television. Colorful cartoon-style illustrations accompany the text.
 

Shortlisted, Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Junior Prize 1997


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Reviews

"What Happens When...? explains how Internet messages travel, how weather forecasters predict the weather and how flowers get to florists. Copious illustrations show the often elaborate chain of events behind everyday activities like flipping on a light switch or having a pizza delivered."
Publishers Weekly

"In a world of microwaves and instant-just-add-water, it's easy not to pause and think about where that water came from. Farndon, Fricker, and Harnden have created a visually entertaining format for simply stated, clearly defined explanations of the technology behind 13 ordinary processes...a wonderful place to stop wondering about the world and start understanding the way it works."
Kirkus Reviews

"My boys (3 & 6) love this book and read it over and over again... I recommend it for any child who is always asking how things work."
dm keegan, Amazon customer

Collins Children's Encyclopedia by John Farndon (Author)

Collins Children's Encyclopedia by John Farndon (Author)

272 pagesCollins (July 3,1996; 2000)/Award

With over 700 entries, this encyclopaedia covers 130 different subjects from Ancient Greece to Modern America, breathing and eating to butterflies and moths, climate and weather to computers and electronics - and is ideal both for quick fact-checking or as a source of information for more detailed projects. The subjects are arranged thematically, which presents information in a wider context, and fact panels and detailed captions throughout invite the reader to "browse" through the subjects and explore them in more depth. Tables containing geographic, astrological and biographical details at the end of the book provide further essential information.


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The Big Book of Knowledge by John Farndon, Angela Koo

The Big Book of Knowledge by John Farndon, Angela Koo

383 pages Parragon (January 2002)

Tons of fascinating facts about people, animals, plants, and more! This unique reference offers full-color illustrations, helpful diagrams, fact panels, quizzes, and more, all designed to exercise your mind.


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Reviews

"I love this book! ..the book is awesome and it handles the science talks very responsibly and maturely and even though there were pages I did not personally believe in and chose not to teach my children -- I would not hesitate in purchasing it again!"
D.Alton, Amazon customer

"I cannot praise this amazing, wonderful book enough. I bought it for my sharp, curious four-year-old daughter and she loves it, often requesting a reading from it at bedtime instead of her storybooks... It is factually accurate, SPECTACULARLY illustrated, visually interesting, very readable, and somehow, believe it or not, excellent and useful for persons aged 4 through adult. If I could, I would buy every child a copy."
A L Green, Amazon customer

Encyclopedia (Pocket Guides) (Paperback) by John Farndon

Encyclopedia (Pocket Guides) (Paperback) by John Farndon

512 pages DK CHILDREN; 1st American ed., rev. ed edition (April 1, 1997)

An amazingly compact, full-color, illustrated encyclopedia that is really small enough to carry in your pocket. With information on every major subject, more than 1,000 photographs, and fact boxes, this is an indispensable family reference book. - This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Buy on Amazon
 

 
 
Reviews

"The Pockets Encyclopedia--which must be the world's smallest one-volume encyclopedia--gives new meaning to the idea of ready reference. This heavily illustrated mini-encyclopedia with maximum answer potential would make a thoughtful gift for just about anyone, especially students and trivia buffs...the print is tiny. But how else could they have included 10,000 facts, figures, and statistics?"
Marcie Bovetz, Amazon.com

 

"What a wonderful little book!! The book is small and the color pictures are awesome and so it the wealth of information. I carry it in my purse to read when I have time away from home"
gdhse, Amazon customer

Acting (Super.Activ) (Paperback) by John Farndon

Acting (Super.Activ) (Paperback) by John Farndon

128 pages Hodder Children's Books (15 Jun 2000)

An enthusiastic and motivational guide for all budding young actors, whether dreaming of winning an Oscar, or performing in the school play. Readers are taken step-by-step through the basics of acting techniques, building a set, acting for the screen, camera work and jobs in the industry


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4000 More Things You Should Know by John Farndon (Author)

4000 More Things You Should Know by John Farndon (Author)

243 pages Miles Kelly Publishing Ltd (August 1, 2001)

Other books:

  • Dorling Kindersley Concise Encyclopaediaby John Farndon
    128 pages Dorling Kindersley; Rev Ed edition (January 28, 1999)
    Buy on Amazon
  • 100 Things You Should Know about Archaeology by John Farndon
    Mason Crest (2010)
    Buy on Amazon
  • 100 Things You Should Know about Special Forces by John Farndon
    Mason Crest (2010)
    Buy on Amazon
  • 100 Things You Should Know about Spies by John Farndon
    Mason Crest (2010)