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

The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs
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's review
Mar 04, 2010

liked it
Read in December, 2009

The foreward should have read:
"Caution! Heavy reading ahead! Not because of style, but due to subject matter and storyline direction."
Or something to that effect.

"The Know it All" is a book about one of America's quirkiest authors. He has a day job writing tabloids and has the feeling that he is losing his brain matter with each passing day. To get his intellegence back, he takes it upon himself to read the entire Britannica encyclopedia (word for word) to become the smartest person in the world- and to beat his father in knowledge tests.

"The Know it All" was wicked funny at moments. Others, I found myself doing the awful act of skimming. There were plenty of things that I simply did not care to learn about- like the history lessons- but I was more interested in AJ and his wife's quest to become pregnant. I was interested in the funny anecdotes that surrounded AJ's encyclopedia reading, like when Julie said something similar to: "It's a $1 fine for every time you interrupt a TV program with useless fact telling."

And I will admit that I did mention a few things to my fiance, at random moments, just to show my intellect, like: "Did you know that male bandecoots have two penis tips and female bandecoots have two vaginal openings? Kind of makes you look at the video game 'Crash Bandecoot' in a new light, doesn't it?"

He usually responded with facts of his own... or just a shaking head.

This book is enjoyable, but I could definitely take breaks from it without feeling like I was missing anything. It took me 3 weeks to get through whereas I normally read 3 books per week.

Funny, Intellegent, Entertaining... but maybe just in small doses.

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