Book Review: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

in blog •  4 months ago


Hey guys!

I wanted to try reading a non-fiction book for the first time and came across this book. I have never heard of this book but I was attracted to the dinosaur on the cover of the book. (Yup, I’m guilty of judging books by their cover). But as soon as I started reading it at the bookstore, I was hooked and decided to buy the book. And I’m glad I made that decision because, boy, I love it!

To describe this book in a simple way; It’s a compilation of answers to the questions submitted by the readers. The interesting thing about this book is, it is not answered in a boring, textbook-like way, instead it is accompanied with stick figures and it is full of humour.

Here are some amusing questions that Munroe managed to answer in the book:

What would happen if you made a periodic table out of cube-shaped bricks, where each brick was made of the corresponding element?

Is it possible to build a jetpack using downward firing machine guns?

From what height would you need to drop a steak for it to be cooked when it hit the ground?

What would happen if you tried to fly a normal Earth airplane above different solar system bodies?

How much force power can Yoda output?

How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?

If you have ever find yourself thinking about these questions, then this book will give you awesome answers.
Since Munroe uses real science to answer these question (he even uses computer simulations, researches, solving complicated equations), I find his effort to get the answers are amusing.

Munroe also included some questions that he can’t or prefer not to answer since they are “weird and worrying” but these questions just add humours to the book.

Although it’s a science book, I must say that it is entertaining too. Who would have thought that science book can be entertaining? And you don’t have to be a scientist to understand the answers as they are explained in a simple way.

Like I said, I enjoyed the book and definitely recommend it to everyone!

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I hope you like it and if you do, do poke the upvote button!!
With Love,
Vael Riey

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Val!!!!!!!! how's you?


Imma!!!!! I'm fine thank you. You?


Doing back home for a while. London guys are going to SF3..will Ian go?


Not sure if he can go but he will try to make it happen. Are you going?


Nope..i can't get away..enjoy yourselves Val!

Randal Munroe is a highly celebrated guy whose work is ubiquitous throughout the internet.

He's the reason why It is known that there's always a relevant XKCD comic regardless of the situation.

Great review for a highly underappreciated book!!


Thank you!

Hi @vaelriey! Than you for this wonderful book review. Your article has been upvoted by the Literature Guild on steemvoter ( The Literature Guild is an emerging association of steeemians (@literaturkritik, @rarebooksleuth, @reaggaemuffin, @city-of-berlin, @victorrain, @fragmentarion, @aydogdy) interested in literature, books and writing. Via the Literature Guild Upvotes from Guild-Members (Followers) are organized to support quality posts about books and literature chosen by responsible curators. You are invited to join the Guild. If you are also interested to be involved as a curator, drop me a comment. Hope to see you soon joining the Guild. Kind regards Literaturkritik