On a recent book buying spree - one of my regular rituals - I bought The New Times Guide to Essential Knowledge. The book is as thick as the title is long. The tag line on the cover reads, "A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind."
This is not one of those cover-to-cover reads - it has over 1,300 pages and thousands of bits of information. The inside book cover flap reads, "This one volume is designed to offer more information than any other book on the most important subjects as well as provide easy-to-access data critical to everyday life."
It has facts and figures on science and technology, business and finance, geography, literature, dance, music and the environment. I love being able to read about the history of mathematics or why the currency exchange matters.
Granted, I could type any of those questions into google and find information. Nonetheless, flipping the pages of this bible-size book, I find answers to questions that I didn't know I had in the back of my mind.
I'm not a stage in my life that I can memorize much of the facts contained within those 1,300 pages but, I can always flip back through and re-read what I forgot. Many professional writers have a copy of one of the World Almanacs desk side - as do I - but this essential guide to knowledge is or should be essential to all professional writers.