Cover Image: How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi

How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi

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Member Reviews

I had never heard of Nerd Nite before now and it's truly a shame. Nerd Night is essentially like Ted Talks for science. This book is a collection of short informational essays written by authors working in STEM fields who have a history of appearing at Nerd Night across the world. The big idea is to make science comprehensible for the layman. And make it funny too.

Luckily, because this book comes from multiple authors, if there was one particular essay that was above my head (looking at you "Getting to Know Infinity" by Dr. Zajj Daugherty) then I could always take a brain break by reading one of the other, more accessible essays.

If I'm being totally honest, a small background in science will help you understand more of these. Overall, excellent.

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How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi was a fun read and i learned a lot of facts about mushrooms !

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Thank you very much to the publisher and NetGalley for my review copy!

Admittedly, I was not familiar with Nerd Nite prior to reading this compilation. I certainly will be now! I am a verified Nerd, and to have levity along with learning about our world and all that is in it; it's a great combination!

I would highly recommend!

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I'm a fun gal and based on the title, I was expecting more of my sporulating and non-sporulating friends. What I got was a menagerie of written Ted Talk like science snippets. While it was too much randomness to read in one sitting, I slowly worked my way through revisiting the book when I had 3-10 minutes of dead time. The snippets are broad, quirky, interesting, and thought-provoking. This would be the perfect bathroom book for anyone who loves science or maybe just needs to learn a little more science. Great for a high-schooler or college kid's Easter basket, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and any random holiday your gift giving nerd wishes to celebrate!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.

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Very eclectic and funny. Nerd Nite would be awesome to attend! Loved this one.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced copy.

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I received a gifted copy of HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE FUNGI by Dr. Chris Balakrishnanm and Matt Wasowski from St. Martin's Press.

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE FUNGI: Collected Quirks of Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math from Nerd Nite is the first book brought out by the co-founders of the global science organization Nerd Nite. This is an organization that has delivered interesting STEM topics to in person audiences around the world for the last twenty years. This book collects some of those same topics with a wide variety of subjects from strange happenings in the animal world, the science behind hangovers, and of course zombies.

I didn't know much about Nerd Nite going into this, but I enjoy a good quirky read and learning interesting facts, so the title and the description caught my attention. I had thought this would be a book I'd likely pick up here and there throughout the month, but I wound up binging the whole thing in one go.

This book does a great job of mixing humor and intelligence, giving interesting information from the world of science with a focus on keeping things fun. The topics are very much all over the place and the collection of experts on each subject the same. The book includes extra graphics and such to help deliver information in an interesting way. I also picked up the audiobook from the library and the use of different narrators was well done to distinguish the shifts in topics. I also enjoyed that the narrators gave us a bit of information about each of the subject matter experts.

This was a really fun read and one I would recommend!

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This is collection of quirky scientific, tech, engineering and math facts. This collection is from series of Nerd Nite talks. From story about fermentation to civil war amputations to mathematics of gossip to dating apps to how and why cancer to artificial gravity. This is instant feel-smarter book where you read a chapter and instantly feel smart! While some of us retain information, I retain very little and so smart quotient might not be a lot but this was super entertaining!

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This was a cute compilation of Science Talks given at Nerd Nite at bars around the US. Part Story Collider or The Moth and part Jorge Cham or XKCD. You will learn something and you will laugh. You will learn things you wish you could unlearn and you will cry. Each story has a personal connection to the storyteller’s identity or research and each science fact could be useful and impactful in your everyday life.
The arrangement in the book is very logical to me and there’s a nice flow of lighter and deeper topics and stories. This is an excellent bathroom read or gift for the nerd you love.

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Mostly very interesting. I learned a lot
my library did purchase this book. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

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A collection of entertaining and accessible science. Co-creators of Nerd Nite bring pop culture, the mysteries of science, and STEM to the masses in a palatable format and makes it easy to enjoy.

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With perfect bite-sized bits of cleverly summarized, conversational nerd-topics “How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi: Collected Quirks of Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math from Nerd Nite” founders Dr. Chris Balakrishnan & Matt Wasowski (4 stars) (Pub Date: Out Now!) is a thematically grouped collection of in-person Nerd Nite’s presentations, augmented with hilarious but helpful drawings of the strange, fascinating, and sometimes naughty content within.

Good Things: The content is grouped by themes, allowing for a “skip-around” experience when reading. Not in the mood to read about space? Flip back to the scintillating “Doing It” section for fun facts about the impact of microbes on your sex life. Each entry is nicely titled with the Nerd Nite/Location/s and the expert or author. This allowed me to go look up specific books or research by some of these folks (Hey there Dr. Jane Gregory, your 2023 book about misophonia is now on my list!) The prose is conversational and really does feel like you’re sitting at a nerdish Open Mic of the Mind. The drawings included in some of the sections were also LOL funny, and helpful.

Opportunities: This collections strength is also its weakness, although it’s not really a weakness to keep things short and snappy on purpose… BUT, I felt like I was just getting engaged with the theme or the content and it switched to the next and the next. So what might have been a longer and more involved reading experience really was just a “read an essay in the bathroom” kind of experience. I would have liked “to learn more go HERE” links or content at the end of each essay, so that I could have gone deeper on demand.

Final Thoughts: This will make a great gift, and it’s one I will queue up for a number of folks this year, as it’s light reading with a broad array of topics for quick and fun consumption, I particularly liked the idea of going to a Nerd Open Mic, instead of the open mic nights I remember from my “I want to be a poet” days where the bands sucked and everyone talked over my spoken word “Monday Night Rant’s” <similarly brief blurbs about ridiculous people, places, and events>, Nerd Nite sounds like the kind of thing I should have heard about before this book, and it’s certainly something I”ll be looking into in my city.

I appreciate the opportunity afforded me to have an early read of this story by netgalley and St. Martin's Press. The opinions in this review are expressly those of ButIDigressBookClub and are intended for use by my followers and friends when choosing their next book. #butidigress #butidigressbookclub #howtowinfriendsandinfluencefungi #nerdnite #nerd #stem #stmartinspress @StMartinsPress #netgalley #netgalleyreviewer #arc #arcs

Review Shared on Goodreads -
Publishing Review 2/24/2024

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I’m almost embarrassed to say that before reading this book I had never heard of Nerd Nite. Which shocks me as it’s something that would be right up my alley. How to Win Friend and Influence Fungi is a collection of stories/scientific essays on a myriad of subjects raging from camal spiders to antigravity in science fiction to dating apps and much more. And as the title would suggest there is more than a bit of humor involved. If you enjoy other ‘funny and silly scientific’ books like What If? there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this one as well. I’d like to thank St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review an eARC of How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi.

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This is the perfect read for all the science nerds out there who have a short attention span but want to read ALL THE THINGS about ALL THE THINGS. Covering an exceptionally wide range of topics, How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi has a little something for everyone from medical science to careers in science and everything in between.

What I loved about this book is that the information for each topic was not only clearly given by experts in the field but were extremely informative in just a few pages per topic. This made it perfect for a quick read while waiting in line at the grocery store or during ads on a streaming channel, because honestly I'd rather read about microbiomes than watch another pharmaceutical ad for a disease that last time I checked, I did not have. The quirky humor that I share made the individual articles all the more entertaining. Some of the chapters were a bit more technical and boring than others, but that is personal preference and also probably based on the fact that I was an English major who made the mistake of marrying a math nerd and then birthed two math nerd babies so the Math is Fun chapter was decidedly not fun for me.

This book is the perfect gift for yourself or your fellow nerdy friend or lover. If you are a huge fan of Mary Roach or Nerd Nite, I highly recommend you don't miss out on this. I read many of the articles out loud to my husband before bed and neither of us had heard of Nerd Nite before. It has now been added to our bucket list the next time they are performing in town and we can't wait for any future books to be published from Nerd Nites across the country.

Thank you to NetGalley, Dr. Chris Balakrishnan, Matt Wasowski, and St. Martin's Press for an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.

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How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi is a fun, engaging, and yes, nerdy collection of trivia curated and collected by Dr. Chris Balakrishnan and Matt Wasowski. Released 20th Feb 2024 by Macmillan on their St. Martin's imprint, it's 296 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links.

Nerd nite is an informal collection of fun/funny/engaging mini talks, sort of TED-lite, or Baker Street Irregulars with more self-awareness. It's illustrated throughout with catchy simple line drawings by Kristen Orr.

The entries are arranged somewhat thematically: zoology and natural science, neurobiology, bodily fluids (yep), sex and attraction, health (lots of really cool info about gut microbiomes and other squishy stuff in this chapter), pathogens, death, space, tech, math, and jobs in STEM and related fields.

Four stars. This would be an excellent choice for public or school library acquisition, home use, gift giving, and reference. It's not set up like most trivia catalogs and will have limited applicability for trivia teams. It's just a collection of cool, widely varying, STEM info with a lot of humor which is layman accessible.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

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Thank you to the authors Dr. Christopher Balakrishnan and Matt Wasowski, publishers St. Martin's Press, for an advance hardback copy of HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE FUNGI. Thank you also to NetGalley for a widget. All views are mine.

Opening Quote: Please let us get this out of the way. The contributions in this chapter are not about zombies. We’re sorry. Loc.454

Three (or more) things I loved:

1. I adore that the endeavor, Nerd Nite, seeks out professionals who are still earning their bona-fides, so that the careers of these professionals are served while the audience is being entertained and educated.

2. This collection of essays starts with two of my favorite animals-- first spiders (or in this case, a spider myth-mimic, the camel spider, which is even more amazing) and then cephalopods. Yes I'm aware that word describes a class and not a single animal. I'm kind of in love with this book.

3. Very useful topics covered: Misophonia (the experience of finding certain sounds heating on the nerves or emotions); synesthesia (tasting colors or feeling songs); wildlife preservation;

4. The section introductions are hilarious! From one of them, I was reminded of the terrible and titillating diarrhea ditty of my childhood, which was both a joy and a gross out 💩😆

5. The chapter on worms is wonderfully disgusting!

6. I love that Dr. Ali Mattu, in the essay "How Not to Destroy Ourselves," reminds me that [there] was a treaty signed by the entire world to fix the hole in our ozone. And... it worked! Loc.2364 I was in elementary school when this happened, but I remember the sense of urgency gripping everyone. That was before the environment became a politicized issue. But it gives me hope that people not only can come together on the issue of the environment, but they can accomplish great things when they do.

Three (or less) things I didn't love:

This section isn't only for criticisms. It's merely for items that I felt something for other than "love" or some interpretation thereof.

1. I disagree that microdosing is the best option science has given us to treat psychiatric illness.

2. This book is unquestionably liberal in tone. Regardless of my personal politics, I'm not a fan of this sort of didactics, especially when couched in popular science. "If you care about teens, don't ever vote for a Republican." Loc.1636

3. These essays are very short. Which can be good. But a page or two about a scientific topic is nothing and often I wished the author's had given me just a little bit more.

Rating: 🧲⚗️🔬🧬 / 5 nerdy essays
Recommend? Yes!
Finished: Feb 20 '24
Format: Digital arc, Kindle, NetGalley
Read this book if you like:
🪳 stories about insects
🐕 stories about animals
🗿 stories about history
📃 very short essays

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If you're like me and love knowing little tidbits about many different things and find STEM topics fascinating but can't wrap your mind around a career in STEM, this is the book for you.
There are tons of quick little essays that delve just deep enough into a wide variety of topics to help you understand just how amazing the topic discussed is. Some do go a little too hard into the complicated points, but if there's one thing that I most enjoyed about this book, it is that the authors are perfectly willing to chime in and recognize when things get too complex for the average Joe.
As is the case with most anthologies and essay collections, there are some that I wish were a lot longer and some that come off as rambly. I feel that this is pretty much mandatory with collections as not everything will be for everyone, yet it's the one thing that kept this from being a full five-star read.

Very happy thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the educational read!

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I had never heard of Nerd Nite before but I bet it's fun. Like any book with a selection of authors, there is a selection of skills. Some of these are funny, most interesting, and I have to admit that I didn't get some of them. Worth your time. I'm positive it's better with beer :).

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I think Nerd Nites are probably a lot of fun and I would definitely be interested in checking one out with friends. Unfortunately it didn’t translate to the written page for me and I ultimately decided to DNF. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the free book to review.

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I’m a nerd. I love science. I love finding the strange in the real world. How to Win Friends and Influence Fungi is such fun for someone like me to read. I am not familiar with Nerd Nite, yet. If everything they do is so informative and entertaining then I will be soon.

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From the founders of Nerd Nite, which has been putting on live shows in 100+ cities since 2003, comes an epic collection of short essays from experts in their fields about a wide variety of bizarre and fascinating STEM topics - like The Science of the Hangover, Mass Extinction, Zombies Are Real and You Might Be One, Cut It Off!:A Civil War Amputation, What Does Google See?, Artificial Gravity in Science Fiction, and What I Learned About Dating Apps (Generally) After I Spent Five F**king Years Studying Them for a PhD.

This book is so fun to read - I’ve been picking it up and reading a few essays at a time - and it would make a great gift for any nerd in your life (I’m passing along my copy to my dad when I’m done). The essays are all quick reads and serve as a great starting point to find a topic that sparks your interest. Love it!

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