Encyclopedia Paranoiaca

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Simon and Schuster, Nov 20, 2012 - Humor - 385 pages
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A comprehensive, informative, and utterly debilitating compendium of surprising ways you might die a horrible death at any moment—all of them based on actual research about the perils of everyday life—from master humorists Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf.


Did you know that carrots cause blindness and bananas are radioactive? That too many candlelight dinners can cause cancer? And not only is bottled water a veritable petri dish of biohazards (so is tap water, by the way) but riding a bicycle might destroy your sex life?

In Encyclopedia Paranoiaca, master satirists Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf have assembled an authoritative, disturbingly comprehensive, and utterly debilitating inventory of things poised to harm, maim, or kill you—all of them based on actual research about the perils of everyday life. Painstakingly alphabetized, cross-referenced, and thoroughly sourced for easy reference, this book just might save your life. (Apologies in advance if it doesn’t.) Beard and Cerf cite convincing evidence that everyday things we consider healthy—eating leafy greens, flossing, washing our hands—are actually harmful, and items we thought were innocuous— drinking straws, flip-flops, neckties, skinny jeans— pose life-threatening dangers. Did you know that nearly ten thousand people are sent to the emergency room each year because of escalator accidents, and, despite what you’ve heard, farmers’ markets may actually be less safe than grocery stores? And if you’re crossing your legs right now, you’re definitely at serious risk.

Hilarious, insightful, and, at times, downright terrifying, Encyclopedia Paranoiaca brings to light a whole host of hidden threats and looming dooms that make asteroid impacts, planetary pandemics, and global warming look like a walk in the park (which is also emphatically not recommended).


The Definitive Compendium of Things You Absolutely, Positively Must Not Eat, Drink, Wear, Take, Grow, Make, Buy, Use, Do, Permit, Believe, or Let Yourself Be Exposed to, Including an Awful Lot of Toxic, Lethal, Horrible Stuff That You Thought Was Safe, Good, or Healthy; All Sorts of Really Bad People Who Are Out to Get, Cheat, Steal from, or Otherwise Take Advantage of You; and a Whole Host of Existential Threats and Looming Dooms That Make Global Warming, Giant Meteors, and Planetary Pandemics Look Like a Walk in the Park (with Its High Risk of Skin Cancer, Broken Bones, Bee Stings, Allergic Seizures, Animal Attacks, Criminal Assaults, and Lightning Strikes)

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

From National Lampoon co-conspirators Beard (Golf: An Unofficial and Unauthorized History of the World's Most Preposterous Sport, 2012, etc.) and Cerf (co-author: Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won ... Read full review

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Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16

Section 9

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About the author (2012)

Henry Beard attended Harvard College and was a member of the Harvard Lampoon during the period when it published nationally noted parodies of Playboy, Life, and Time. He went on to found the National Lampoon with Douglas Kenney (the writer/producer of Animal House and Caddyshack) and served as its editor during the magazine's heyday in the 1970's. He is the author or coauthor of five New York Times bestsellers--Miss Piggy's Guide to Life, Sailing: A Sailor's Dictionary, French for Cats, Leslie Nielsen's Stupid Little Golf Book, and O.J.'s Legal Pad--and more than two dozen other popular humorous works, including Latin for All Occasions, Xtreme Latin, Bill Gates' Super Secret Laptop, The Official Politically Correct Dictionary, Zen for Cats, Mulligan's Laws, and a series of humorous pocket dictionaries, including Golfing, Fishing, Skiing, and Sailing.

Christopher Cerf is the co-editor of The Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook, The Gulf War Reader, The Iraq War Reader, and The Eighties: A Look Back at the Tumultuous Decade, 1980-1989. He is a former contributing editor to the National Lampoon, and he co-edited the newspaper parody Not the New York Times.

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