The Know It All One Man's Humble Quest To Become The Smartest Person In The World
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 d...more
Be the first to ask a question about The Know It All One Man's Humble Quest To Become The Smartest Person In The World
When Esquire editor A.J. Jacobs sets out to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, you can guess you're going to get lots of interesting trivia tidbits from the world's leading compendium of knowledge.
But what makes the book far more rewarding is that A.J. Jacobs is flat out funny. And after suffering through all the authors who attempt to write humor and do it badly, it is so good to be able to say that. I found myself laughing out loud every couple of pages....more
I have read an A.J. Jacobs memoir before; I read “Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Ques...more
In “The Know-it-All”, Jacobs aspires (tongue-in-cheek) to become the smartest person in the world by reading every word in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Jacobs does a great job mixing quirky/interesting/funny stories retold from the encyclopedia with stories from his life du...more
I read Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible last year and found it fairly enjoyable. Enjoyable enough to pick up his first book. Jacob came across as slightly neurotic but basically curious and endearing in Living Biblic...more
Anyway, this book is Great Fun! I know it sounds like the story of a guy recounting his foray into reading the entire library of Encyclopedia Br...more
It's found under humor, but is sort of a memoir? The guy complains his brain is turning to mush because the only information he takes in lately is regarding pop-culture. Why can he name all the members of N'Sync, yet forgets major historical events? So he sets out on a quest for knowledge and commits to reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.
This book includes author-deemed high-points of the encycloped...more
...Okay, so maybe I hang around with strange people who appreciate such facts. But my point still stands. It's actually amazing how intelligent one can appear when armed with an arsenal of trivia, so...more
For example from page 32:
Casanova: The famous 18th century lothario ended his life as a librarian. Librarians could use that to sex up their image.
Chalk: Chalk used in classrooms is not actually made of chalk, but a manufactured substance. More reason to distrust my teachers, those weasels.
Not all the entries are this short of course but you get the idea.
What is going...more
Jacobs pulls out the oddest facts from the EB and adds his own quirky commentaries. And he is frank about the motivations, joys, and hardships of his project. Indeed, some of my favorite parts are when he discusses the nitty-gritty details of how he went about the project. What is the best...more
Indeed, whether or not I loved the final product, I still have tremendous respect for Jacobs’ mission, which I would have probably given up on by about the letter B. The Know-It-A...more
Starting a blog is a very daunting task. There are millions of them out there on every subject imaginable, and that makes it so much harder for me to believe that anyone would find what I have to say interesting. Instead I remind myself that I find what I have to say interesting and if no one else wan...more
I found the parts relating directly to the encyclopedia entries mostly humorous and informative; I was surprised at the "facts" Jacobs claimed were "new" to him, as most were ones I'd thought were general knowledge. I liked his reports from MENSA meetings, the two day-long seminars on speed-reading and memory-retention (which turned out to be "infomercials" for expensive courses), and his aside on his appearance on "So You...more
Among Jacobs’ life experiments:
--The Know-It-All. The bestselling memoir of the year he spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in a quest to become the smartest person in the world.
--The Year of Living Biblically. The bestseller about his life as the ultimate biblical man. He followed every rule of th...more