The Know-it-all

The Know-it-all

One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

Book - 2004
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33,000 pages
44 million words
10 billion years of history
1 obsessed man
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.
Publisher: New York City, New York : Simon & Schuster, Inc., ©2004.
ISBN: 9780743250603
9780743250627
Characteristics: ix, 386 pages ;,25 cm

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h
hofnvet
Mar 02, 2016

It started out good. Got some chuckles. But then it started toallbethesame. I didn't finish it. Maybe ill check it out again later and finish it.

b
bunnie01
Jul 14, 2012

This was a fun read.

v
Vivica
Jun 18, 2012

quirky...great fun!! - worth the read

b
bbb1771
Mar 01, 2012

Very Funny and very well written. Well worth the read.

s
stewadbc
Apr 12, 2011

Loved loved loved this book! Witty, funny and full of information. I was wondering how he was going to make the encyclopedia interesting and he did wonders with it!

b
brieps04
Jul 15, 2010

I just finished this enlightening, yet laugh-out-loud hilarious book chronicling Jacob’s quest to read the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z. By effortlessly combining anecdotes of his personal life (including working at Esquire, his relationship with his wife, and their fertility problems) with the informational entries, Jacobs successfully transforms trivial facts into an entertaining read! Throughout his quest, readers follow Jacobs as he utilizes his newfound knowledge to join Mensa, interview Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, and compete on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. An impressive achievement, indeed!

t
taraw104
Jul 01, 2010

This was a bit of a slow read for me, but I still enjoyed it, especially the personal stories Jacobs weaves in and the overall plot line. He choses interesting and unusual facts to highlight, and he writes with his usual self-deprecating humour. I enjoyed The Year of Living Biblically more, though.

l
Lianoid
Jan 14, 2010

Reading this book was like hanging out with a friend. A really smart and hilarious one at that! It was interesting how much information was in EB and how varied it all is. After I finished reading this, I kinda wanted to read the EB as well.... we'll see.

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taraw104
Aug 26, 2010

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.

t
taraw104
Aug 26, 2010

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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