Anne's Reviews > The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
by A.J. Jacobs
by A.J. Jacobs
Mar 02, 08
Read in March, 2008
This is the first book by the author who wrote The Year of Living Biblically, which I read last month. In this one, Jacobs decides to become the smartest person in the world by reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica from beginning to end. Jacobs has a separate chapter for every letter, and within the chapter he divides the sections out by subjects within that letter - highlighting important facts for us, and throwing in stories about how this quest is affecting his personal life - mostly making him an incredibly annoying conversant during dinner parties. This way of arranging the book became tedious to me after about letter C. I found the basic premise interesting, but I would have preferred more of a 30,000 foot perspective. There's a reason I would never read the Encyclopedia Brittanica - there's no way I could retain any of the facts. This book felt the same way - Jacobs was so intent on showing that he had read each encyclopedia entry that he filled his book with too many forgetable facts causing me to lose his overall purpose. Too many trees and not enough forest. I've had the same problem with both of Jacobs's books, but he is certainly clever and I do look forward to seeing what he puts his mind to next.
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