In 1973, Wallechinsky became fed up with almanacs that regurgitated bare facts. He had the idea for a reference book to be read for pleasure; a book that would tell the often untold true tales of history. He worked alone for 12 months before being joined by his father for a further year of research. The People's Almanac was published by Doubleday in 1975 and became a best-seller.
One of the most popular chapters was a selection of lists, which spawnedThe Book of Lists.
The People's Almanacs depart from a conventional almanacs by including many entertaining facts, lists and esoteric knowledge. Special sections include ones on natural and man-made disasters, "Footnote People in World History," biographies of fictional characters (such as Superman), past predictions by psychics--both correct and incorrect, and predictions for the years 1975 and on. Odd and unexplained happenings are also discussed (such as the Devil's Footprints), though authoritative references are generally not given.