Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It” as Want to Read:
Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It

by
3.28  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  12 reviews

"A witty book about wit that steers an elegant path between waggishness and wisdom." —Stephen Fry


Much more than a knack for snappy comebacks, wit is the quick, instinctive intelligence that allows us to think, say, or do the right thing at the right time in the right place. In this whimsical book, James Geary explores every facet of wittiness, from its role in innovation

...more
Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by W. W. Norton & Company
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Wit's End, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Wit's End

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  64 ratings  ·  12 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
K.J. Charles
Embarrassingly, excruciatingly bad. I'd ask how anyone let this twee nonsense get to publication but a cursory Google tells me it's a bloke who went to Harvard and worked at a bunch of media outlets, so he obviously has important friends. Sadly, they were not good enough friends to tell him not to do this.

The book starts with a prologue written in the style of Alexander Pope, only the heroic couplets *do not scan*. Not even slightly. Geary has no grasp at all of scansion or meter and it's physi
...more
Andrienne
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each chapter offers the delight of what wit can do. It’s a brilliant way of showing how wit works rather than merely describe it.

Thanks to the publisher for access to the advance reading copy.
Michael G
Geary puts wit on the spit. Well done.
Trudy
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Geary's Wit's End is not strictly a humor book, though there is plenty of humor within it. In portions of the book he explores how we think and what wit is (and is not) on a historical and even a neurological level. Extensive notes, bibliography, and index are included for those who wish to delve into this subject more deeply.
Mich
James Geary extols all aspects of wit. Starting with puns, then repartee in conversations, jokes, scientific evaluations of brain images associated with wit, visual wit in art (troupe d’oeil), historical, literary, folk tales, biblical and Talmudic references are dissected in a (what else?) witty way. Each chapter is presented in a different style and sometimes font so one can be in dialogue, another in verse, then spiritual sermon, neuroscience in a scientific paper, and jive and rap.
It’s quite
...more
Ivan Mitrovic
Not much more than a wit classification book, with chapters devoted to pun, metaphor, jive... and examples. I was hoping for “instructions” on how to train your wit. Found one useful thing though. The book mentioned RAT (Remote Associations Test) which I think is very useful for kids. We played RAT competitions (guess the 4th associative phrase given 3) on a few nights and kids loved them.
Anne Libera
I wanted this to be better. I wanted to like it better. There is really good information about comedy, humor, and wit here and there are elements that are conveyed with (yes) true wit in the sense that a truth is genuinely illuminated in a novel and artful fashion. But there is a lot of showing off to wade through to get there.
Andrea Engle
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2019
The gifted author is obviously a witty follower of his own sage advice ... clever notes on how to be creatively humorous ... a very entertaining read ... although I nearly gave it up when the author proposed a dialogue between Denis Diderot and Madame De Stael ...
Danielle Baranowski
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
An interesting look at wit, told via various forms of humor. Interesting, but not to my taste.
Denise Nader
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, others, comedy
3.5/5
Ivor Armistead
Wit. Amusing, a bit.
Nick Armstrong
Skip over the chapter with all the medical references and you’ll have a 4-star book, easily.
Barry
rated it really liked it
Feb 09, 2019
Alyna Khan
rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2018
Jeff
rated it it was ok
Feb 07, 2019
Vivek
rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2018
Alison
rated it really liked it
Feb 02, 2019
Alan Baczkiewicz
rated it it was ok
Dec 21, 2018
Donny Martel
rated it it was amazing
Nov 19, 2018
Elvina Barclay
rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2019
Stephen Cole
rated it it was amazing
Feb 10, 2019
Vlieta
rated it really liked it
Dec 04, 2018
Bad an islam
rated it liked it
Dec 17, 2018
Hayden Hamilton
rated it liked it
Jan 06, 2019
Abanoub Mounir
rated it did not like it
Dec 17, 2018
Bart King
rated it it was amazing
Dec 15, 2018
Noah Jensen
rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2019
tom oconnell
rated it liked it
Nov 24, 2018
Holly
rated it it was amazing
Dec 24, 2018
Dynah Thirst
rated it did not like it
Feb 03, 2019
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: #70 Wit's End 1 3 Nov 15, 2018 02:28PM  
  • Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture
  • Cool: How the Brain's Hidden Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World
  • This Will Kill You: A Guide to the Ways in Which We Go
  • WTF, Evolution?!: A Theory of Unintelligible Design
  • Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us
  • How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq
  • Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most
  • Film: A Critical Introduction
  • Hothouse Kids: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child
  • The Locavore's Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-mile Diet
  • Spinglish: The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language
  • Something Old, Something New: Classic Recipes Revised
  • Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change
  • Master Your Money
  • Hollywood Economist 2.0, The
  • Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000
  • Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System
  • The Film Snob*s Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Filmological Knowledge
26 followers
James Geary is the author of Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It, I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World, Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists, the New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism, and The Body Electric: An Anatomy of The New Bionic Senses. He is the deputy curator of the Ni ...more
“Diderot was so flustered by the affront that he only thought of a clever retort as he was walking down the stairs on his way out. The encounter led him to devise the term “l’esprit d’escalier,” “the wit of the staircase,” for the experience of thinking of a witty comeback only after it is too late to deliver it.” 0 likes
“The malice of a good thing is the barb that makes it stick.” 0 likes
More quotes…