It's Raining Books Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | September 18, 2014

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing



On a hot July evening years ago, my Toyota Tercel overheated on a flat stretch of highway north of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A steam geyser shot up from... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The High Divide

    Lin Enger 9781616203757

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$0.95
List price: $16.00
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
5 Local Warehouse Reference- Reading

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

by

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World Cover

ISBN13: 9780743250627
ISBN10: 0743250621
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 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 struggle between theall-consuming quest for factual knowledge and the undeniable gift of hard-won wisdom.

Review:

"Imagine, the original Berserkers were 'savage Norse soldiers' of the Middle Ages who went into battle stark naked! Or consider the Etruscan habit of writing in 'boustrophedon style.' Intrigued? Well, either hunker down with your own Encyclopaedia Britannica, or buy Esquire editor Jacobs's memoir of the year he spent reading all 32 volumes of the 2002 edition — that's 33,000 pages with some 44 million words. Jacobs set out on this delightfully eccentric endeavor attempting to become the 'smartest person in the world,' although he agrees smart doesn't mean wise. Apart from the sheer pleasure of scaling a major intellectual mountain, Jacobs figured reading the encyclopedia from beginning to end would fill some gaps in his formal education and greatly increase his 'quirkiness factor.' Reading alphabetically through whole topics he never knew existed meant he'd accumulate huge quantities of trivia to insert into conversations with unsuspecting victims. As his wife shunned him and cocktail party guests edged away, Jacobs started testing his knowledge in a hilarious series of humiliating adventures: hobnobbing at Mensa meetings, shuffling off to chess houses, trying out for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, visiting his old prep school, even competing on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Indeed, one of the book's strongest parts is its laugh-out-loud humor. Jacobs's ability to juxtapose his quirky, sardonic wit with oddball trivia make this one of the season's most unusual books. Agent, Sloan Harris. (Oct.) Forecast: NPR listeners have heard Jacobs interviewed in about a dozen segments since he started this reading project, and will be eager to lay hands on the book." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Plenty of good fun pours out of this prose, but Jacobs' Britannica-incited quest to become the smartest person in the world assumes that command of data is the mark of education rather than any sharply honed critical faculties." Booklist

Review:

"[A] comic triumph....It is all enormous fun, educational even....Doubtlessly more enjoyable than reading the EB itself, with lots of arcane nuggets readers can casually drop on the unsuspecting like sacks of flour from a great height." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"The Know-It-All is a terrific book. It's a lot shorter than the encyclopedia, and funnier, and you'll remember more of it. Plus, if it falls off the shelf onto your head, you'll live." P.J. O'Rourke, New York Times bestselling author of Eat The Rich

Review:

"[C]orny, juvenile, smug, tired. Jacobs [is] a poor man's Dave Barry; no, a bag person's Dave Barry....The lead zeppelin jokes are interspersed with musings about his wife's pregnancy and his interaction with his quirky family. This material is even less entertaining." Joe Queenan, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[S]o breezy you half expect to see the words lift off the page and float around the room....Whatever genius it took to turn the weighty task of reading the encyclopedia into such an entertaining frolic of a book, my bet is that Jacobs had it all along. (Grade: B+)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"I fell in love with this book on page one and I have laughed out loud on every page since. With his hilarious Britannica-fed insights on life, A.J. Jacobs uncovers the profound by way of the trivial. The Know-It-All is endlessly entertaining. Genius, pure." Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Review:

"The Know-It-All is funny, original, and strangely heroic. I found myself rooting on Jacobs's quixotic, totally endearing quest." Jonathan Safran Foer, New York Times bestselling author of Everything Is Illuminated

Review:

"The Know-It-All is a hilarious book and quite an impressive achievement. I've always said, why doesn't someone put out a less complete version of the encyclopedia? Well done, A.J." Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show and author of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America

Synopsis:

Alarmed and more than a little chagrined at the massive gaps in his personal knowledge base, Jacobs sets for himself a suitably daunting, and some might say insane, task: to fill in the holes in his Ivy-League education by reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. With endearing wit and a disarming frankness, The Know-It-All recounts the unexpected and comically disruptive effects Jacobs's freshly harvested knowledge has on every part of his life — from his marriage to his sweetheart Julie, to his complicated relationship with his lawyer father and the rest of his charmingly eccentric New York family, to his job as an editor at Esquire.

Synopsis:

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 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 struggle between the all-consuming quest for factual knowledge and the undeniable gift of hard-won wisdom.

Synopsis:

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 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 struggle between the all-consuming quest for factual knowledge and the undeniable gift of hard-won wisdom.

About the Author

A.J. Jacobs is the editor of What It Feels Like and the author of The Two Kings: Jesus and Elvis and America Off-Line. He is the senior editor of Esquire and has written for the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, New York magazine, New York Observer, and other publications.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 5 comments:

Kentucky Fan, September 28, 2011 (view all comments by Kentucky Fan)
The Know-It All is funny, gratifying and informative. In his quest to become the most informed man on the planet,(or annoying party guest)you get the history of the world through the various Encyclopedia Brittanica clips that author A.J.Jacobs chooses to share with the reader. The book also chronicles this magazine editor's struggle to find his place in the world and his family. I'm looking forward to what other challenges he decides to tackle beyond reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica and becoming a father!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Stacie Morrell, September 24, 2011 (view all comments by Stacie Morrell)
Unexpectedly facinating and fun. Packed with obscure facts intelectuals (or info geeks) will love, with a sprinkling of personal anecdotes that help connect the reader and the author, but not TMI. Keeps a brisk pace and light tone, with a deep thought dropped in from time to time. An expanding and entertaining read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
William Ulrich, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by William Ulrich)
A fine book to challenge the mind and spark some intellectual curiosity. I loved it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 5 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743250627
Author:
Jacobs, A. J.
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Learning and scholarship
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
United States Intellectual life.
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B102
Publication Date:
October 2005
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 11.9 oz

Other books you might like

  1. Fractured Fairy Tales Used Trade Paper $3.95
  2. Oedipus Wrecked Used Trade Paper $6.50
  3. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale...
    Used Trade Paper $0.95
  4. The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to... Used Hardcover $14.50
  5. Cassandra French's Finishing School... Used Trade Paper $5.95
  6. Candyfreak: A Journey through the...
    Used Hardcover $3.95

Related Subjects


Biography » General
Featured Titles » Humanities
History and Social Science » Current Affairs » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Books on Books
Reference » Featured Titles
Reference » Reading

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$0.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780743250627 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Imagine, the original Berserkers were 'savage Norse soldiers' of the Middle Ages who went into battle stark naked! Or consider the Etruscan habit of writing in 'boustrophedon style.' Intrigued? Well, either hunker down with your own Encyclopaedia Britannica, or buy Esquire editor Jacobs's memoir of the year he spent reading all 32 volumes of the 2002 edition — that's 33,000 pages with some 44 million words. Jacobs set out on this delightfully eccentric endeavor attempting to become the 'smartest person in the world,' although he agrees smart doesn't mean wise. Apart from the sheer pleasure of scaling a major intellectual mountain, Jacobs figured reading the encyclopedia from beginning to end would fill some gaps in his formal education and greatly increase his 'quirkiness factor.' Reading alphabetically through whole topics he never knew existed meant he'd accumulate huge quantities of trivia to insert into conversations with unsuspecting victims. As his wife shunned him and cocktail party guests edged away, Jacobs started testing his knowledge in a hilarious series of humiliating adventures: hobnobbing at Mensa meetings, shuffling off to chess houses, trying out for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, visiting his old prep school, even competing on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Indeed, one of the book's strongest parts is its laugh-out-loud humor. Jacobs's ability to juxtapose his quirky, sardonic wit with oddball trivia make this one of the season's most unusual books. Agent, Sloan Harris. (Oct.) Forecast: NPR listeners have heard Jacobs interviewed in about a dozen segments since he started this reading project, and will be eager to lay hands on the book." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Plenty of good fun pours out of this prose, but Jacobs' Britannica-incited quest to become the smartest person in the world assumes that command of data is the mark of education rather than any sharply honed critical faculties."
"Review" by , "[A] comic triumph....It is all enormous fun, educational even....Doubtlessly more enjoyable than reading the EB itself, with lots of arcane nuggets readers can casually drop on the unsuspecting like sacks of flour from a great height."
"Review" by , "The Know-It-All is a terrific book. It's a lot shorter than the encyclopedia, and funnier, and you'll remember more of it. Plus, if it falls off the shelf onto your head, you'll live."
"Review" by , "[C]orny, juvenile, smug, tired. Jacobs [is] a poor man's Dave Barry; no, a bag person's Dave Barry....The lead zeppelin jokes are interspersed with musings about his wife's pregnancy and his interaction with his quirky family. This material is even less entertaining."
"Review" by , "[S]o breezy you half expect to see the words lift off the page and float around the room....Whatever genius it took to turn the weighty task of reading the encyclopedia into such an entertaining frolic of a book, my bet is that Jacobs had it all along. (Grade: B+)"
"Review" by , "I fell in love with this book on page one and I have laughed out loud on every page since. With his hilarious Britannica-fed insights on life, A.J. Jacobs uncovers the profound by way of the trivial. The Know-It-All is endlessly entertaining. Genius, pure."
"Review" by , "The Know-It-All is funny, original, and strangely heroic. I found myself rooting on Jacobs's quixotic, totally endearing quest."
"Review" by , "The Know-It-All is a hilarious book and quite an impressive achievement. I've always said, why doesn't someone put out a less complete version of the encyclopedia? Well done, A.J."
"Synopsis" by , Alarmed and more than a little chagrined at the massive gaps in his personal knowledge base, Jacobs sets for himself a suitably daunting, and some might say insane, task: to fill in the holes in his Ivy-League education by reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. With endearing wit and a disarming frankness, The Know-It-All recounts the unexpected and comically disruptive effects Jacobs's freshly harvested knowledge has on every part of his life — from his marriage to his sweetheart Julie, to his complicated relationship with his lawyer father and the rest of his charmingly eccentric New York family, to his job as an editor at Esquire.
"Synopsis" by , 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 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 struggle between the all-consuming quest for factual knowledge and the undeniable gift of hard-won wisdom.

"Synopsis" by ,
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 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 struggle between the all-consuming quest for factual knowledge and the undeniable gift of hard-won wisdom.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.