As a dedicated bar trivia enthusiast, you pride yourself on knowing random and obscure nature, pop culture, and Science! factoids, such as the names of the last two sisters to simultaneously be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards (Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave in 1966) and which country boasts the largest elephant population (Botswana). But we’ve got one nugget you may not have stumbled across in your quest to be the greatest hoarder of useless knowledge: Who just compiled his 619th trivia game, has a database of 20,000-plus questions, and brought bar trivia as you know it to the Hub? Answer: Michael O’Neill (who also wrote both of the aforementioned questions).
That last bit of information actually isn’t useless. O’Neill — who established Pop Quiz Team Trivia in 1998 — has recently authored your next go-to holiday, birthday, and bar mitzvah present, and possibly] the tool you’ll use to dig out of the middle of the pack and into the winner’s circle: The Best Bar Trivia Book Ever: All You Need for Pub Quiz Domination. Divided into 15 chapters that double as trivia categories — movies, business, and history, to name a few — the book provides a foundation for building a serious weapons cache of deployable facts. O’Neill says that one-tenth of his 15-years-in-the-making personal database comprises the guts of the book, and along the way he offers advice on how to seek out and stow away information. He even offers tips on how to assemble a better team (knowledge is power, people).
Aspirations for gifting supremacy and bragging rights aside, the book is just damn interesting. Flipping through aimlessly, you’re bound to learn about something outrageous. Say, the unlikely seven-day period in November 1994 when the talent-less Tim Allen simultaneously starred in the highest-grossing film in the US, topped the New York Times bestseller list, and starred in the number one most-watched television show. Unfortunately, O’Neill can’t teach you how to prevent yourself from surpassing that brilliant sweet spot that exists somewhere between elegantly buzzed and completely sloshed. That’s only mastered with practice. And oh, do you ever practice.