The idea of coming up with answers to questions you never thought to ask has great appeal and the interplay between presenters Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman can make entertaining viewing.
Osman is the source of a fine collection of bizarre information and can be very quick and witty.
However, the trouble with his new book is that it comes very close to total pointlessness.
And the World Cup idea is in fact the worst thing about it.
It is divided into sections which invite the reader to complete World Cups of various subjects including chocolate, animals, sweets, restaurants, game shows and so on.
For each of these, Osman provides 30 entrants and asks the reader to supply two more of their own choice before pairing them off in an eliminating contest to see which 16 go through to the second round.
So for the World Cup of Americans, for example, you are invited to choose between Neil Armstrong and Michael Jackson with the winner meeting Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
The imaginary contest continues until a winner emerges.
I find it hard to believe that many people will go through with this pointless procedure.
When it comes to the World Cup of Animals, I was appalled to see that Osman’s initial list did not include sloths.
When I added that as one of my free choice wild cards, I didn’t need to bother with the elimination stages at all but immediately crowned it the winner.
On a more positive note, before getting on to each World Cup contest, Osman fills the book with quizzes, random pieces of information, jokes and asides that can be both challenging and entertaining as well as informative.
I did not know, for example, (though might have guessed) that Icelandic dogs say “voff” or that budgerigars are the world’s third most popular pet after dogs and cats or that Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, from Walt Disney’s Cinderella, won an Oscar for Best Original Song.
As Osman says: “I’m not surprised at all. It is very hard to argue with either salagadoola or mechika boola and impossible to dispute bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.”
I do feel, though, the book should have ended with a World Cup of Most Pointless Osmanic World Cups.
That would have been a tough one to judge.