How To is a self-declared book of ‘bad ideas’, and quite a good one at that! A perfect companion to the author’s previous volume (which answers absurd questions with ‘serious’ scientific answers), How To discusses, in its own words ‘absurd scientific advice for common real-world problems’.
The book starts off on a strong note, in the classic style mixing dry humour, science, history and stick figure cartoons that characterize Randall Munroe’s comics. Assessing the possibilities on how to jump really high—from pole vaulting (practical), to using an outfit shaped like a sail plane (not so much) —Munroe takes the reader through the increasingly absurd variety of ways an answer can be reached.
So, while the book may not have practical suggestions on how to approach any given situation (it starts with a disclaimer against any adverse effects resulting from actually applying information in the book), it provides fascinating insights to the importance of even bad ideas, blending everything from weird-but-true incidents and experiments; theoretical models of what seemed to be illogical and yet turned out to be revolutionary, to the jaw-droppingly absurd.