The Know-It-All

One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

Average vote of 528
| 7 total contributions of which 7 reviews , 0 quotes , 0 images , 0 notes , 0 video
33,000 PAGES

44 MILLION WORDS

10 BILLION YEARS OF HISTORY

1 OBSESSED MAN

Part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), The Know-It-All chronicles NPR contributor A.J. Jacobs's hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to rea

44 MILLION WORDS

10 BILLION YEARS OF HISTORY

1 OBSESSED MAN

Part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), The Know-It-All chronicles NPR contributor A.J. Jacobs's hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z.

To fill the ever-widening gaps in his Ivy League education, A.J. Jacobs sets for himself the daunting task of reading all thirty-two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His wife, Julie, tells him it's a waste of time, his friends believe he is losing his mind, and his father, a brilliant attorney who had once attempted the same feat and quit somewhere around Borneo, is encouraging but unconvinced.

With self-deprecating wit and a disarming frankness, The Know-It-All recounts the unexpected and comically disruptive effects Operation Encyclopedia has on every part of Jacobs's life -- from his newly minted marriage to his complicated relationship with his father and the rest of his charmingly eccentric New York family to his day job as an editor at Esquire. Jacobs's project tests the outer limits of his stamina and forces him to explore the real meaning of intelligence as he endeavors to join Mensa, win a spot on Jeopardy!, and absorb 33,000 pages of learning. On his journey he stumbles upon some of the strangest, funniest, and most profound facts about every topic under the sun, all while battling fatigue, ridicule, and the paralyzing fear that attends his first real-life responsibility -- the impending birth of his first child.

The Know-It-All is an ingenious, mightily entertaining memoir of one man's intellect, neuroses, and obsessions, and a struggle between the all-consuming quest for factual knowledge and the undeniable gift of hard-won wisdom. ...Continua

Ha scritto il 19/08/10
Abandoned after 1/3
Was quite fun in the beginning, but up to 1/3 of the books he already repeated four times how he learned that he was not as smart as he thought. I was growing tired of reading the same thing.
Ha scritto il 21/03/10
I read it again in English. It's still fun and full of minor knowledges and jokes, even through the main point is talking about the life of the A.J. Jacobs.
Ha scritto il 16/03/09
A must-read, informative as well as humorous!!
Ha scritto il 06/06/08
感覺有點在看Britannica的cliff notes...great book to test your vocab for GRE!
Ha scritto il 18/02/08
A very interesting book about acquiring knowledge.

First I still want to question American way of using the word "smart". It seems that Americans have the concept of "intelligence" and "knowledge-based possession" mixed together. (用中文來說就是聰明跟博學的

First I still want to question American way of using the word "smart". It seems that Americans have the concept of "intelligence" and "knowledge-based possession" mixed together. (用中文來說就是聰明跟博學的分別) Just as we can see in the subtitle--Does reading the whole EB make you more intelligent?
The answer is probably negative. Just as the author himself found out: Knowing much about chess does not make one a chess master.
But, after all, the author himself did learn much from the EB.
The first time I saw this book in a bookstore in Taiwan, I read through the first few pages and began to hate it, the author as well. I felt like he was just a pop-guy peeping the world of knowledge, not respectful to the Great EB.
However, when I picked it up again in America, it really felt different. I don't know whether this has anything to do with translation. Yet I think that the author's style changed through the book.

During the progress, he had new experience that he might never have without the encountering EB: He joined Mensa, attended a TV trivia program, understood how shallow his old self was.
Now, after reading this "Hitchhiker's guide to the Britanica", I have to extend my respect to Mr. Jacob, for he has become a different person, "smarter" or not. ...Continua

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