It's About Nothing

Schott’s Original Miscellany, Ben Schott, Bloomsbury.

Just like Seinfeld this little book is about nothing, and everything, at the same time. A quick flip through its modest 158 pages uncovers an extensive array of randomly arranged trivia—everything from wine bottle nomenclature to a list of famous left-handed people to the longest word in the English language. The first thing one might say after picking up “Schott’s Original Miscellany” is, “This is a fascinating collection of information.” Your second observation might be, “The author must spend an inordinate amount of time in the library.” 

It's easy to see why “Schott’s Original Miscellany” has become so popular, for it makes an invaluable addition to any home reference library. Without a doubt it's the first book to reach for when you can’t recall a U.S. constitutional amendment, the names of all the Ivy League colleges, or how to convert degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius. There’s even a page devoted to phobias. The word for fear of failure or defeat? Kakorrhiaphobia.