Playing catch with a rattlesnake. Shooting oneself while explaining gun safety. Crashing a small plane in an attempt to moon the occupants of a similarly low-flying plane. People have met their fates performing these extraordinarily stupid acts-and for this they have been finalists for the wildly popular Darwin Awards. While these awards are relatively recent, the history of stupidity is quite long. Stupidity, in fact, is as old as civilization itself, and, as The Encyclopaedia of Stupidity lucidly demonstrates, one can't exist without the other.
Matthijs van Boxsel's rollicking compendium of human follies and foibles is like no other encyclopedia. Cataloging acts of stupidity past and present, van Boxsel introduces us to a world in which peasants collect water with a sieve, men attempt to build towers without ladders, and "village idiots" and "dumb blondes" prove the veracity of the stereotypes-a world that we call home. Van Boxsel's intent is not only to provide laughs on every page, which he does, but also to show readers how stupidity is the foundation of civilization. Through such anecdotes as "The Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain" and "The Hell of Fools," he dissects the idea of stupidity and finds that it is a crucial condition for intelligence, that blunders stimulate progress, and that failure is the basis for success.
Hailed as a "warming, enlightening, and invigorating read" (Manchester Evening News) and a "weirdly wonderful compilation" (Observer), The Encyclopaedia of Stupidity quietly instructs while it uproariously entertains, making the unassailable point that to err is indeed to be human.
If there is one publication that qualifies for immortality and is also inexhaustible, it should be The Encyclopodia of Stupidity. Vrij Nederland Matthijs van Boxsel has collected the most fantastic facts and knows how to share with the reader his pleasure in doing so. NRC Handelsblad A superb collection of improbable follies, blunders, errors, stupidities and howlers. An uncommonly cheerful and exciting book. Elsevier