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The Know-It-All

Cover: 'The Know-It-All'

Staff Review: "The Know-It-All" by A.J. Jacobs


Jacob's fears that his expensive college education is receding into a haze; a long, slow dive toward spending his days watching Wheel of Fortune and drooling into a bucket. To stave this off, he undertakes reading the entire "Encyclopaedia Britannica" from A-Ak to zywiec, 33,000 pages. He finds that this challenge recharges his brain which overflows with facts and factoids not always relevant, but always interjected in everyday conversations. His wife even comes up with a fine system for irrelevant facts bantered about. Jacob's self-deprecating wit really gets him out of a lot of odd situations. Never the less, he perseveres in his quest, ever expanding on curiosities he finds in the "EB", seeking out experts and experiences related in some way. He endeavors to join Mensa, and be selected for Jeopardy! and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. As his knowledge increases, he slowly becomes aware that his presumption that he was the smartest boy in the world growing up might not be true. It's a wonderful and funny journey through the Encyclopedia.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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