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The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to…

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in… (original 2006; edition 2005)

by A. J. Jacobs (Author)

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4,3251531,697 (3.77)161
"Part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), The Know-It-All chronicles NPR contributor A.J. Jacobs's hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z. To fill the ever-widening gaps in his Ivy League education, A.J. Jacobs sets for himself the daunting task of reading all thirty-two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His wife, Julie, tells him it's a waste of time, his friends believe he is losing his mind, and his father, a brilliant attorney who had once attempted the same feat and quit somewhere around Borneo, is encouraging but, shall we say, unconvinced. With self-deprecating wit and a disarming frankness, The Know-It-All recounts the unexpected and comically disruptive effects Operation Encyclopedia has on every part of Jacobs's life -- from his newly minted marriage to his complicated relationship with his father and the rest of his charmingly eccentric New York family to his day job as an editor at Esquire. Jacobs's project tests the outer limits of his stamina and forces him to explore the real meaning of intelligence as he endeavors to join Mensa, win a spot on Jeopardy!, and absorb 33,000 pages of learning. On his journey he stumbles upon some of the strangest, funniest, and most profound facts about every topic under the sun, all while battling fatigue, ridicule, and the paralyzing fear that attends his first real-life responsibility -- the impending birth of his first child. The Know-It-All is an ingenious, mightily entertaining memoir of one man's intellect, neuroses, and obsessions and a soul-searching, ultimately touching struggle between the all-consuming quest for factual knowledge and the undeniable gift of hard-won wisdom"--Book description.… (more)
Title:The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
Authors:A. J. Jacobs (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2005), Edition: Reprint, 400 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs (2006)

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Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
This only gets 3 stars because I learned a few neat facts. If we go by his "story" and writing skills (lack thereof), I only give it a 1.5 or 2. ( )
  Adammmmm | Sep 10, 2019 |
This book is hilarious. Jacobs is very entertaining and has a wonderful sense of humor. As an added bonus, you get to learn a lot of useless trivia that you will be tempted to work into every day conversations-- though hopefully you will be more successful than Jacobs was :) . ( )
  Borrows-N-Wants | Sep 22, 2018 |
A.J. Jacobs decides to read the Encyclopedia Britannica in an effort to "know it all." His memoir of this feat takes us through the process as he attempts to find ways to show off his new-found knowledge. In most cases, he ends up looking silly, and his self-deprecating style makes him an amiable guide to both the encyclopedia and the wonderful world contained in its pages.
  witchyrichy | Jul 15, 2018 |
Humorous and informative. ( )
  SMBrick | Feb 25, 2018 |
I don't know. On the one hand, woe be to me to criticize anyone who wants to read more and learn more. On the other hand, this book managed to embody something really frustrating about education. This book feels pretentious and nowhere near as interesting as it should be given the wealth of material and information it could draw upon. And there's something very privileged about the idea that the Encyclopaedia Brittanica contains what you need to be "smart." ( )
  bucketofrhymes | Dec 13, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
Corny, juvenile, smug, tired. Jacobs -- a poor man's Dave Barry; no, a bag person's Dave Barry -- has a modus operandi: to drift through the encyclopedia he supposedly read, yank out an entry, tear open his Industrial-Strength Comedy Handbook and jerry-build a lame wisecrack.
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To my wife, Julie
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I know the name of Turkey's leading avant-garde publication. (introduction)
a-ak. That's the first word in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
That's where the real appeal lies [of the 1911 edition]--nostalgia for a world where it all made sense, where all was knowable, where one point of view was the correct one. . . . the world of the EB is still one that treats everything rationally and sensibly, that still believes in the overall progress of civilization.
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Average: (3.77)
1 16
1.5 9
2 67
2.5 12
3 238
3.5 75
4 425
4.5 48
5 217


2 editions of this book were published by HighBridge.

Editions: 1565119053, 1565119088

HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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