Thursday, June 2, 2016

Book Review: You Could Look it Up

You Could Look it Up: The Reference Shelf From Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia
Jack Lynch

This is a fun book for anyone who's interested in facts and the acquisition thereof. (And if you're not one of those people ... why are you here?) You Could Look it Up is itself a bit more than simply a collection of facts--it's not itself a reference book. Jack Lynch has the ambition of structuring his work around a question: what is it, through written history, that people have felt that they needed to know but couldn't keep in memory? It's no real knock that he doesn't fully succeed; it's a big topic.

This book will appeal to fans of Simon Winchester, for obvious reasons. It also reminded me of this, although You Could Look it Up is better.

1 comment:

  1. Those things are increasing, too, since we are outsourcing so much of our memory to external sources. This is both good and bad. I kind of look down on education that emphasizes rote memorization (right or wrong). And I don't even remember people's phone numbers anymore, since my phone does it for me. The whole internet is where you can look it up.