How to Take Over the World by Ryan North

What a weird wonderful book. If you have ever wanted to create a villainous plan, this is a great primer on what will and what will (probably) not work.


A tongue-in-cheek introduction to the science of comic-book supervillainy, revealing the true potential of today’s most advanced technologies

Taking over the world is a lot of work. Any supervillain is bound to have questions: What’s the perfect location for a floating secret base? What zany heist will fund my immoral plans? How do I control the weather, destroy the internet, and never, ever die?

In How to Take Over the World, bestselling author and award-winning comics writer Ryan North details a number of outlandish villainous schemes, drawing on known science and real-world technologies. Picking up where How to Invent Everything left off, his explanations are as fun and informative as they are completely absurd.

As he instructs readers on how to take over the world, North also reveals how we can save it. This sly guide to some of the greatest challenges and existential threats facing humanity accessibly explores ways to mitigate climate change, improve human life spans, prevent cyberterrorism, and finally make Jurassic Park a reality. from Goodreads


This how-to manual for daring evil plans and plots filled my heart with so much ridiculous joy. I mean, c’mon, it is a whole book based on the science of which world domination plots will work and how to increase your chances of being immortalized forever as a masterful evil-doer.

Much like Randall Munroe’s What If?, this book uses ludicrous questions – specifically rooted in supervillainy – as the beginning to explore which endeavor merits the special focus of an evil brain. My favorite part of the book is the first part, Superbasic Supervillainy. This delightful first 80+ pages is a primer for all the things an evil genius will need.

In the middle third, each chapter explores how to take over the world. North takes us through each of the following:

  • Cloning Dinos
  • Controlling the Weather
  • Holding the Earth’s Core Hostage
  • Time Travel
  • Destroying the Internet

I’ll be honest. Some chapters are better than others. More precisely, some chapters contain enough information to remain interesting. Others go into a level of detail that made me give the book a little side-eye. If some of these chapters were people at a party, I would have sent out an SOS half way through. I hazard a guess that this would be different for each reader. Some of us may need more on how to get through to the Earth’s core. Others, less. Personally, I could not get enough of the many ways people have attempted to start their own countries. Truthfully, I did not enjoy the Weather chapter simply because I just feel so darn helpless when it comes to global warming. However, I find myself inspired to hold the world hostage until they get agree on a plan that can help the Earth.

The final third of the book is focused on how to keep your evil name alive for generations. Some of these were hilarious, some made perfect sense, and some (like everything else in the book) were way way out there.

If you have ever wanted to think through a supervillanous (is this a word? it should be a word) plan that might actually work, or are interested in the science behind large scale villainy, this book is for you.

Tell me, please! Are you a sucker for a quality villain?


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