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

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  1,901 ratings  ·  406 reviews
Ken Jennings is here to tell us that mother and father didn't always know best. Yes, all those years you were told not to sit too close to the television (you'll go blind!), or swallow your gum (it stays in your stomach for seven years!), or crack your knuckles (arthritis!) are called into question by our country's leading trivia guru. Jennings separates myth from fact to...more
Audio CD
Published December 4th 2012 by Tantor Media
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W
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 Mythbusters-meets-Snopes.com parenting book runs down a list of frequently-heard old wives' tales, grandma's advic...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Lena
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...more
Eve
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 Som...more
Jenny
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...more
Neil
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...more
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
Robert
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.
Melissa
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.
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...more
Zack
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...more
Bronwyn
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
Christie
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...more
Danielle
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...more
Natalie
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.
Pamela
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...more
Annie
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...more
Anna
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
Lauren
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.

Also on http://lrjohnson13.blogspot.com/2012/...
Molly
I was really disappointed. I loved Maphead and Braniac! I got halfway through this and had disagreed with so many of his analyses and conclusions that I didn't feel like I'd gain anything from going on. He's really tough on holistic "wackos" of which I happen to be one, so that probably contributed to most of my discomfort with what he had to say about the myths he addresses in this book.
John
This book reviews bromides passed from parents to children, rating which are realistic and which are outdated or had no truth to begin with.

Unlike the translation of many books to audio, this book retains the speed and lightness of conversation. Read by the author, it is well-paced retaining its comedy. Unlike much comedic writing, when read aloud it develops little that could be called mean-spirited. It addresses the topics with research that is cited but weighing down the narrative. Its neces...more
Reema
Does sugar really make you hyper? Is it okay to swim right after lunch? Should we sit straight like we are told in school?
This book answers many questions like these. It's basically Mythbusters in a book, It was enjoyable and helped me win many arguments :P
Geoff
Very entertaining!

Jennings's writing style is what makes this book. His wit and references make every entry a laugh and easily approachable. Every topic is treated briefly, usually around a page and a half, and set against a final judgement of wither the notion is True or False. It's a very quick read and a type of 'cliff notes' of each topic. Not as in depth as a Straight Dope column or Snopes entry would be.

Each subject is boiled down to the greatest points of interest that validate or invali...more
Becky Trombley
Informative and funny. I bought it for a young person. Would recommend for teens.
Cara
I found this book snarky, interesting and supremely comforting. I also found myself talking about it a lot. A winner for sure!
Martin
Ken Jennings is screamingly funny. Not geekishly funny or nerdishly funny. Just plain really, seriously funny. This book is like Mythbusters in print, which is worth mentioning, because besides for his great sense of humor and fine research, he gives the show, The Straight Dope, and Snopes.com their proper due. His method of delivering this information should be brought to the masses, because it is well consumable and palatable in this way, and might achieve more than scholarly drone-inflected h...more
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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
More about Ken Jennings...
Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac: 8,888 Questions in 365 Days Greek Mythology (Junior Genius Guides, #1) Maps and Geography (Junior Genius Guides, #2)

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