Review — The 10 Worst of Everything: The Big Book of Bad by Sam Jordison

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Sam Jordison has packed his non-fiction book The 10 Worst of Everything: The Big Book of Bad with mindboggling facts related to our past and present, which he displays in countdown lists from ten to one, with the worst offenders left to last. The author must have carried out a tremendous amount of research both in compiling lists from scratch and in sourcing existing ones.

I love it when a book teaches me loads of new stuff in an entertaining way. The author’s subjective comments are often hilarious, maybe some of them tongue-in-cheek, but who knows? He enjoys making passing jibes about Brexit and Trump, although for him he’s showing amazing restraint on the political front! I didn’t always agree with his choice of worst things. For instance, I happen to be a great fan of Game of Thrones (no. 9 in his list of worst TV programmes of all times) and adored the movie Dances with Wolves (no. 5 in the list of worst winners of the best picture Oscar).   

He has divided the book into ten main sections that, in turn, he divides into sub-sections. You may not find each one of equal interest but there’s something for everybody. I read the whole book from cover to cover, but struggled a bit with lists appertaining to sport. Also, I think there’s one too many lists dedicated to The Beatles, where just one would suffice. On the other hand, I’m quite tempted to check out “The Worst Duets in Pop History” on YouTube, especially as his footnote warns you against doing so. His list “The Ten Most Brutal Shakespearean Insults” has filled me with the desire to re-visit the bard’s works, following their past slaying by the school curriculum.    

For me, the two most fascinating main sections of the book were “Bad Nature”, which includes the deadliest insects and plants, scariest human parasites, and most venomous snakes; and “The Olden Days”, which includes punishments in ancient mythology, the craziest Roman Emperors, worst Popes, absurd popular scientific theories, and worst medical procedures.       

Ultimately, this book demonstrated what a miracle it is that the human race has survived for so long, despite… well, I’ll leave you to fill in the ellipsis by reading the book in its entirety. And when you reach the final sub-section “The Ten Most Likely Ways the Earth is Going to End”, you’ll be delighted to discover that humans could prevent five out of ten of them.

A highly recommended read.                 

Sam Jordison is a journalist for The Guardian and writes regular articles about books and publishing on their website . He’s the author of several bestselling books, including the Crap Towns series, Literary London (co-written by Eloise Millar) and Enemies of the People. He’s also the co-director of the award-winning publisher Galley Beggar Press.

The 10 Worst of Everything: The Big Book of Bad is available from all good bookshops in the UK, as well as from HiveWaterstones, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. She's into nature, gardening, and natural health. Her sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

8 thoughts on “Review — The 10 Worst of Everything: The Big Book of Bad by Sam Jordison”

  1. I would greatly enjoy this book, my friend. I’m such a list nerd, and such a fan of useless trivia. lol At least I admit my shortcomings. 🙂 Good to see something new from you. Wishing you peace and happiness this holiday season, dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hee, hee, confession time! Such honesty 😉 I greatly enjoyed the book and am also a list nerd — whether in the reading or writing of them. My main protagonist in my crossover middle grade children’s novel loves lists and “wrote” a few very eccentric ones related to his imprisonment and his planned escape.

      You gave me a jump for a moment, wishing me peace and happiness for the holiday season. I wondered if December had crept up on me, whilst I was otherwise distracted!

      Wishing you peace and happiness, my dear friend, whatever the time of year 🙂

      Like

    1. It’s certainly a great talking point, Andrea 🙂 It would be a very boring world if everybody agreed, although I wish people could be more civil in their disagreements sometimes and think before they fly off the handle. That’s why I very rarely visit Twitter these days!

      Liked by 1 person

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