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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  ·  Rating Details ·  2,544 Ratings  ·  498 Reviews
Don't cross your eyes or the'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
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published December 4th 2012 by Scribner
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Mar 10, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2non-fiction, 1audio
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
Nov 05, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it
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
Dec 06, 2012 Kelly Hager rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 01, 2017 Nicole rated it it was amazing
This book was actually very interesting because it listed very cool facts that I didn't even know. It also is very cool because it lists what parents often tell you and the book says if those facts are actually true.
Brendon Schrodinger
Jan 28, 2013 Brendon Schrodinger rated it really liked it
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
Mar 12, 2013 Eve rated it really liked it
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
Feb 24, 2013 Lena rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jul 24, 2012 Jenny rated it really liked it
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
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
Feb 04, 2013 Neil rated it liked it
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.
Oct 15, 2012 David V. rated it really liked it
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
Nov 17, 2016 Christie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Lots of fun to read and I learned a lot. Notes to the studies mentioned would have been nice, though, and I was a little disappointed by the number of questions that were already commonly known to be myths/urban legends. However, several gave me information that will change the way I do things in my daily life as a parent, so for me it is a book worth reading. I also just have to say that Ken Jennings in his writing is much funnier and more likable than I would have expected. I think I can forgi ...more
Jan 04, 2013 Robert rated it liked it
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.
Mar 13, 2013 Melissa rated it liked it
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.
Juggy Brodeltien
Dec 04, 2012 Juggy Brodeltien rated it liked it
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.
Pap Lőrinc
Feb 01, 2017 Pap Lőrinc rated it it was amazing
Awesome book written in a very humorous style about all the crap we were fed as children .. and adults.
I wasn't surprised at most findings, but was still worth reading.
If you think that shaving strengthens your hair, or venting when you're angry reduces your anger, or that you get a cold from ... ah ... cold, read this :)
Aug 01, 2013 gina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Interesting, if you like what reads like blogposts and/or a newspaper column. If not, you won't want to sit down and read it justlikethat. Some of the old wives' tales I knew were hokum; others, don't surprise me. Because yeah, parents control their kids anyway they can, especially little boys with more curiosity than sense! I will say, I stabbed myself in the knee with a pair of scissors at about age 10 by running with them on carpet. I tripped and fell, and ended up getting 2 stitches.) About ...more
Jun 17, 2013 Zack rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
Keith Moser
Oct 02, 2014 Keith Moser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love books like this; Everything You Know Is Wrong is the first the jumps to mind, which I read a few times as a child. There's something about learning what "common knowledge" is blatantly wrong (I was learning how to become an Um, Actually Guy in middle school!).

My biggest complaint about books like Because I Said So! is how it presents so many ideas that range from completely false to completely true and everywhere in between. With so many final decisions, it's hard to remember how each "m
Dec 22, 2016 Elena rated it liked it
This was a cool "debunking"or confirming of common warnings passed down from parents to kids for generations. Granted, some of his final decisions seemed pretty controversial and some even seemed to go against that same research that he quoted 2 paragraphs earlier! I guess he chose to use his "expertise" gained on Jeopardy (which he mentions at least 10 times!!) to make the final decision.

Overall - an interesting and quick read. Author/narrator was a bit annoying and snarky, but overall it was
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
Mar 19, 2015 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
Feb 25, 2013 Bronwyn rated it really liked it
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
Jan 23, 2013 Pamela rated it really liked it
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
Carl Nelson
Dec 16, 2012 Carl Nelson rated it really liked it
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
Aug 04, 2013 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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“(Trunk-or-treating, for those who don’t know, is just like trick-or-treating, except with cars instead of houses, lame decorations instead of awesome ones, and no fun instead of fun.)” 0 likes
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