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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

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  2,896 ratings  ·  551 reviews
"New York Times" bestselling author and all-time "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings delivers a characteristically engaging and surprisingly useful new book, revealing the truth behind all the terrible things our parents used to warn us about.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 clos ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Scribner (first published December 4th 2012)
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3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,896 ratings  ·  551 reviews

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Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1audio, 2non-fiction
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This book was a great read. Interestingly most of these warnings I had never heard of. Some of them were very freeing (like leaving the oven door open), some of them I have said to my kids, apparently lying in the process (carrots make your eyes strong), and some were just heart crushing (snowflakes aren't all different after all, sob!) He is a funny and entertaining writer, and I great enjoyed this book.
Barbara Nutting
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I watched the 74 episodes of Jeopardy with Ken Jennings and thought he was a nerdy dork, although super smart and knowledgeable. Pleasantly surprised at his wry sense of humor. This book was hysterical, laugh out loud funny as he debunks all the things our Mothers warned us about i.e. poinsettias are poisonous, drink 8 glasses of water daily, alcohol kills brain cells etc. Looking forward to reading Brainiac, his Jeopardy experience, hope it’s as amusing 🙃
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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.
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Ken Jennings always and forever. This was a fun read to share little bits of information with my family... also, Ken Jennings is hilarious.
Things I learned:
There is nothing magical about a rusty nail that it will give you tetanus, except that it’s dirty and dirty things can have tetanus spores.
Getting cold MAY be able to get you sick - your immune system could get weakened. But most of your body heat doesn’t exit through your un-hatted head. And when you have a stomach bug, “carbonated so
Noah Goats
I’m a sucker for a good myth debunking, and in this book, Ken Jennings provides a bunch of them. He takes many of the myths of childhood and destroys them (except, of course, the ones that are not myths and cannot be debunked). These myths range from “you have to drink 8 glasses of water a day” to “if you eat right before bed you’ll have nightmares,” and Jennings discusses them all with wit and good humor.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book does gives a rapid fire overview of different things that your parents or other caretakers in childhood told you, for example the "5-second Rule", and tells you if they were true, false, or inconclusive. It is a light and fun read, with a tone similar to "Mythbusters". It's not academic, but the author does share his sources when he can.

It's good to warn your kids about stuff that's dangerous, but make sure it is based on truth. 😉
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised at how many of these myths, tales, and warnings there were and how many I recognized. I didn't read the whole book thoroughly, but I sampled ones throughout the book that I found interesting. It was a good book to read for short times, since the vignettes are not long.
Shane Phillips
Some interesting facts but the authors weak attempt at humor really irritated me.
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It isn’t just parents who give forth erroneous info. It’s those annoying know-it-alls we’ve all had to listen to, as well. In fact, I’ve heard the myths and tales much more often from them. You know who you are. I’ll keep this book handy to quote from because you’ll never read it.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Fun, well researched and informative, if a bit random and scattered in approach.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many fun facts. That is what you would expect from Ken Jennings. I now feel like I refer to this book more than myth busters to set things straight. I don't want to be that know it all guy. But, I do want to know it all. :)
Aug 01, 2013 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
Keith Moser
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We listened to this audio book on a road trip last month. The book is read by the author himself, Ken Jennings, and is energetic and fast paced for non-fiction. We laughed out loud many times and other times were surprised by Jennings' findings. Every myth and saying is well researched and thought out, and it was really fun to listen to. I wouldn't recommend having young kids read it though. A couple of the topics near the end had the teenage boys in the backseat widen their eyes a bit.
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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
“(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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