The book consists simply of a list containing approximately 14,000 random and sometimes abstract items, apparently compiled by the author over the course of 20 years. More than one million copies have been sold. In 1990, it earned a rank of 11th, tied with What to Expect When You're Expecting, The PreHistory of the Far Side, and The Language of Letting Go on the paperback bestseller list. A revised version with 1,500 new entries was published in 2007. The 25th anniversary edition, revised and with 4,000 new entries was published in 2014.