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Because I Said So! : The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids
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Because I Said So! : The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  2,261 ratings  ·  460 reviews
Don’t cross your eyes or they’ll stay like that!

Feed a cold, starve a fever!

Don’t touch your Halloween candy until we get it checked out!

Never run with scissors

Don’t look in the microwave while it’s running!

This will go down on your permanent record

Is any of it true? If so, how true? Ken Jennings wants to find out if mother and father always know best. Yes, all those
ebook, 256 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Scribner
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This was great & touched on a great number of every day 'facts' that are rooted so deeply in our collective consciousness that we don't even question them. He does & I found so many of them topical that my wife is teasing me that he's my new hero. Every conversation has, "Ken Jennings said..." in it somewhere.

I admit, I really like Jennings. We followed his run on Jeopardy! & every appearance thereafter with great attention. I've also read a couple of articles by him. Here's one in S
What if there's a 0.95 percent chance that a kid who bikes to school will get in a wreck, but a 95 percent chance that a kid who's not allowed to bike to school will grow up more tentative, complacent, lazy, and/or unhappy, because riding your bike to school is awesome?

Ever wonder if all of those "mom-isms" that you heard when you were little are actually, scientifically true? This parenting book runs down a list of frequently-heard old wives' tales, grandma's advi
Despite the easy accessibility of information, we're still passing on old-wives' tales. Some are wise, some not so. Jennings collected a bunch of stuff his parents told him, he catches himself telling his kids, and some other tidbits of advice from friends & online. Then he researched many of them through Straight Dope, Snopes, and and Mythbusters, but continued his research with the more original sources, the science journals etc.

I trust his information in the mini-essays that answer all t
Kelly Hager
In this book, Ken Jennings takes on many of the things that we were told as children (and may be passing on to our own kids right now). Do you really need to wait an hour after eating before you swim? If you shave, does the hair grow back thicker and/or darker? CAN YOUR FACE REALLY FREEZE THAT WAY?!

It's probably not a shock to anyone, but most of what our parents told us isn't 100% true. (Turns out that you shouldn't even teach your kids not to talk to strangers, but rather that there are differ
Brendon Schrodinger
Cross-posted from my blog The Periodic Table of Elephants

Ken Jennings gets out his bullshit detector after telling his son that he shouldn't run and eat a lolly pop because a tragic accident would ensue. He realised he got this from his mother and wondered if there were any basis to other 'parentisms' such as chicken soup for a cold, don't eat cheese before bed because you'll have weird dreams, running with scissors and not swimming for an hour after eating.

Ken digs through medical journals, int
Lisa Nelson
I have been a Ken Jennings fan ever since his long run on Jeopardy. I think it is fun to cheer on fellow Mormons especially super smart ones like Ken. I became an even bigger fan when I heard him give a fantastic talk in church a year or so ago here in Seattle and knew I needed to read his latest book.

Listening to this book was so much fun and I highly recommend listening over reading this one! Ken talks fast and if you don't listen up you will miss some very funny one liners. He has a quick wi
Satan's spawn.

That's the name my friend Marci—a two-time 'Jeopardy!' champion—gave Ken Jennings. You remember him: the smirking, Trebek-fawning human computer who defeated challenger after challenger for something like six interminable months a few years back. It was fun at first, but then we started to empathize with his challengers and loved to hate him. Then we just hated him, plain and simple. Our cheers could be heard for miles around when he finally was defeated by a woman named Nancy So
Jeopardy winner Ken Jennings puts his sharp mind to good use in this collection of short essays examining the fact and fiction behind the so-called common wisdom that our parents passed down to most of us.

In addition to clarifying whether it's "Feed a fever" or "Feed a cold," (and whether there is any truth to either) Jennings' book is full of fun facts like how many people end up in the emergency room each year for "toaster-related injuries."

Jennings' precise yet entertaining writing style make
via Edelweiss

I'm a longtime reader of Ken Jennings' blog, but I haven't read any of his books, until now. Because I Said So! is one of those rare books that I would recommend to everyone - male or female, young or old, numbers people or word people.

Jennings takes those stock phrases familiar to all, from the patently ridiculous "If you cross your eyes your face will stick that way" to the aggravating "Put on a sweater, I'm cold!" to the seemingly-logical "Don't run with a lollipop in your mouth
Ken Jennings is always a fun read. He has a light, entertaining style that is an enjoyable read despite the fact that the majority of his jokes are the worst kind of puns - groaners. Still, I enjoyed his book about trivia ('Brainiac'), and I enjoyed this one as well, though not as much.

In this one, he tries to debunk or prove several parental maxims, and while a decent amount of them are fairly interesting, too many prove to fall into common sense and probably should not have been included. Also
David V.
Received as an ARC from the publisher. Funny (sometimes laugh aloud); informative; and it dispells most of the "junk" my parents taught me, such as sitting too close to the TV will hurt your eyes; shaving will make the hair grow back thicker. This book could help you win bar bets, not that I hang out in bars. One thing that's not in the book, and isn't a myth-----it's more like a prediction of the future that mothers have when you're running along, and she says, "Don't run, you'll fall." And jus ...more
Jennings takes on the things our overcautious parents always told us. We thought they were overcautious when we were growing up, but here, at least in a majority of cases, is the proof. Jennings comes up with evaluations of the old saws, like not feeding a dog chocolate, or closing your eyes when you sneeze. He rates them as true, false, mostly true or mostly false. I found the coverage in the book excellent - a nice cross section of "common wisdom". I also liked the length of the sections - he ...more
The recipe for this book: Snopes + Mythbusters + Ken Jennings's patented wit and snark = a quick, easy read. Jennings analyzes how parental "wisdom" stacks up against empirical studies. Some of this debunking you've likely read before, but enough of it is new, and enough of it is funny that you should enjoy it.

This isn't Jennings's best book—I preferred both Maphead and Brainiac—but if you appreciate his style of writing you might want to give this a look.
Juggy Brodeltien
This book is not very absorbent. I tried drying my dishes without much success. I actually had to rewash some of them because the pages were full of ink. Not to mention, it is completely unusable after one round of dish drying. I could not recommend this book to anybody with a lot of dishes.
A wonderful book! Nothing gives me more pleasure as a parent than saying, "Because I said so!" (I often add the caveat "And I'm the mommy!") & it's nice to be correct about a lot of my parental wisdom.
I had no idea how easy-going my parents were until I read this. Most of these parental warnings are either unfamiliar or only vaguely so through my childhood friends. Jump on the trampoline in a thunderstorm? Sure, but don't drip on the floor. Jump off the dining room roof into the snow? Sure, but don't make too much noise.

So this book wasn't written for me--I'm neither a overly-protected child nor a parent but I still found it pretty interesting. The few warnings my mom did pass on were partic
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Today I drove up to Asheville, NC for a book signing with a whole bunch of authors, including Lenore Appelhans and Beth Revis. On the way, I finished up this audiobook in the car. Expect this to be a short review, both because I've got things to do and because there's not a whole lot to say.

Basically, this book is a whole bunch of trivia about the things your parents tell you. For example, I now know that my mom was lying when she told me I would damage my eyes by reading in a room with low ligh
Synopsis: Ken Jennings examines the well-intended but frequently incorrect nostrums that parents pass off on their children.

Thoughts: You can read this in one sitting, as I did, or dip into it here and there; there's no through-narrative and very little in the way of introduction. Raises an interesting question, though: if most of your renown comes from being a stupendous record-setting Jeopardy! phenomenon, but, that phase of your life being largely behind you, and hoping to branch out into a m
As I read this, I wavered between giving this book three or four stars. I was aggravated by some entries because Jennings seemed to leave out some important points. For example, it was interesting to learn that it can actually be healthy to eat your own boogers, but he failed to mention that most people, especially kids, don't wash their hands after picking. Yeah, your own germs won't hurt you, but what about the rest of us?! It is Jennings wit and humor that nudged the fourth star out of me. I ...more
First sentence: "I was sitting in my parents' kitchen not long ago when my young son, Dylan, came whipping around the corner with a grape Tootsie Pop firmly clamped in his teeth."

Ever wonder what truth there is to all the things your parents told you while you were growing up? Things like "Eat your bread crusts that's where all the vitamins are" (actually no vitamins but many antioxidants), "Don't look in the microwave while its running" (no danger from this unless you are leaning or sitting on
How could you read this subtitle and not be intrigued? I mean, you KNOW your parents have been lying to you, and now finally someone is going to tell you what about. (Incidentally, you know your parents lied to you as a child as soon as you have children of your own who are old enough to ask inane questions and do stupid things and you find yourself spouting the same warnings your parents said to you.)
I really liked Jennings's other books, so I figured his writing style and this topic were sure
This book was okay. I toyed with the idea of 2 or 3 stars and settled on 2 since there's no 2.5.

So, some of these parental myths I'd never even heard of. Who says those things? Seriously. But some were ones I'd heard as jokes "don't make that face, it'll stay that way!" but no one, not even the parent issuing the warning believed it. So already we're off to a bad foot. Then, there were a select few that were truly interesting. Some ended up true, some somewhat false, some false. But there were f
I really enjoyed how easy this book was to pick up and put down. I could come back to it at anytime and not feel like I had to keep reading, although I wanted to many times. This was the prefect book for me at this stage in my life. For some reason I have a hard time reading fiction. I feel like I need to be learning something to justify my time reading a book. This fulfilled that obstacle I have put in my mind. I loved Jennings added humor and his ability to laugh at himself.
I realized, shortly after beginning this book, that the only reason I thought I didn't like Ken Jennings was because I was massively jealous of him. I watched much of his Jeopardy! run and was so jealous that this guy could fit all that stuff into his brain. Also, he made a lot of money doing it, but it was really, for me, his trivia mastery that made me cranky.

But then I read this book. Now I'm a believer. Ken Jennings may, in fact, be like my quasi-soulmate, but he's married and seems happy, s
This is an amusing book of old wives' tales and parental guidance that are confirmed or dispelled. Remember waiting an hour after you eat before going swimming? False! In fact, competitive swimmers eat in between long workouts to maintain their energy level. Should you "starve a fever and feed a cold?" No. Just eat when you're hungry and get plenty of rest whether you have a fever or a cold. Should you go with your first answer on a test because your gut feeling is probably right? Again, no. You ...more
Carl Nelson
Well-researched, concisely-summarized information presented in a breezy, fun style. Ken Jennings gives an engaging look at our society's aphorisms and maxims passed from generation to generation. Will your face truly freeze like that? How permanent is your permanent record? Should you really have to pull out a cord by the plug?

"Because I Said So!" is logically organized into sections, like medical, childhood, and nutrition. Each topic is about a page, give or take, and presents current expert op
Funny, interesting, and engaging.
I love this book; it's exactly my thing. Nothing like learning the truth behind things you always either assumed were true or wondered about (or even assumed were untrue). The warnings included vary from things I'd been told as a child (for instance, my cuts were cleaned with peroxide) to things I had never heard of in my life (such as not looking in the microwave while it's running).

Ken Jennings has such a "dad joke" approach to writing, making the book very readable, even if it is often fairly
This was such an entertaining read. I was surprised by Ken's clever and witty writing; I laughed so many times! I think my husband may have grown tired of me sharing "did you know..." and "can you believe..." tidbits as I read. At one point I said, "I'm learning all sorts of fascinating things that I'm going to instantly forget!" (I do wish I had the memory of Mr. Jennings.) Maybe I'll at least remember enough of the truths so that I can stop propagating some of the silly myths I used to believe ...more
Note: I received this book via Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster

Jennings finds an entertaining way to prove the truths or falsities of common every day home myths. The book seems to be well researched with a pleasurable and diverting way off expressing the facts. He does not take a side and is extremely informative about his approach. Overall, it was a good read.

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Kenneth Wayne Jennings III (born May 23, 1974) holds the record for the longest winning streak on the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy! Jennings won 74 games before he was defeated by challenger Nancy Zerg on his 75th appearance. His total earnings on Jeopardy! are US$3,022,700 ($2,520,700 in winnings, a $2,000 consolation prize on his 75th appearance, and $500,000 in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tour ...more
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