The Areas of My Expertise

  • by John Hodgman
  • Narrated by John Hodgman
  • 6 hrs and 57 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the great tradition of the American almanac, The Areas of My Expertise is a brilliant and hilarious compendium of handy reference tables, fascinating trivia, and sage wisdom on all topics large and small. Although best sellers such as Poor Richard's Almanack and The Book of Lists were certainly valuable, they also were largely true. Here is a different kind of handy desk reference, one in which all of the historical oddities and amazing true facts are sifted through the singular, illuminating imagination of John Hodgman, which is the nice way of saying: He made it all up.


What the Critics Say

Audie Award Finalist, Humor, 2007
"One of the funniest and most entertaining books to play on readers' imaginations in recent memory. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"For the hyper-well-read fans of publications like McSweeney's, this is a treasure trove of twisted absurdist miscellany." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


I must admit that I was a little dubious about this one. If you've seen the actual book, you know it is full of tables and lists and lots of other things that would seem to make for a truly horrid audiobook. What a great surprise! The audio version of "Areas...." is *completely* reworked, absolutely hilarious, and an excellent example to anyone who would like to work in this medium. Hodgman adds examples, music, and stories to replace the most of the hopelessly complex tables. This obviously took more effort than the typical "sit down and read it" audiobook, and it was well worth it. This is very very funny.
Don't play it for anyone under 13; there is some risque language, and they won't get it anyway.
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- Margot Vigeant "Mom, engineer, and cook"

Monty Python Silliness w/o the Quality

If you like nonstop absurdity read where the sheer volume of humor ultimately read with author as its straight man reading with all due seriousness (like the "Airplane" or the "Naked Gun" movie series) - it's not the first joke that gets you but the 25 that come right in a row that finally gets you smiling or laughing, then you might like this book. Yes, it is whimsimal and very silly. Still, I felt like this was all being written right off the top of the author's head. Serious silliness requires some serious planning. Yes, it took time to think of 700 really silly hobo names but listening to them all became dull. There were only one or two laugh-out-loud moments for me. The rest is mildly amusing. I tend to over-rate books so three stars from me is LOW. Monty Python humor is seriously intellectual. Not this book, it is absurdist - to be sure- but not laugh out loud craziness. Airplane movies at least have a plot and physical comedy. If your expectations are low you will enjoy it, if you are expecting comic genius (as I was) you will be somewhat disappointed. One note: The audio version does some jokes involving the musical parts/background also done with the same deadpan mock seriousness where the jokes involve getting the right musical sound. It is nice to feel you are getting a bonus for buying an audio-edition and that the author exploited that angle. Still, it wasn't enough to make it a "must listen".
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- Scott "Don't you just love a great story well told?"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-11-2006
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio