By A. J. Jacobs
Half memoir and half schooling (or lack thereof), The Know-It-All chronicles NPR contributor A.J. Jacobs's hilarious, enlightening, and doubtless very unlikely quest to learn the Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z.
forty four MILLION WORDS
10 BILLION YEARS OF HISTORY
1 OBSESSED MAN
To fill the ever-widening gaps in his Ivy League schooling, A.J. Jacobs units for himself the daunting job of interpreting all thirty-two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His spouse, Julie, tells him it is a waste of time, his associates think he's wasting his brain, and his father, a super lawyer who had as soon as tried an analogous feat and give up someplace round Borneo, is encouraging yet unconvinced.
With self-deprecating wit and a disarming frankness, The Know-It-All recounts the unforeseen and comically disruptive results Operation Encyclopedia has on every thing of Jacobs's existence -- from his newly minted marriage to his complex courting together with his father and the remainder of his charmingly eccentric manhattan kin to his day activity as an editor at Esquire. Jacobs's undertaking checks the outer limits of his stamina and forces him to discover the true that means of intelligence as he endeavors to affix Mensa, win a place on Jeopardy!, and take up 33,000 pages of studying. On his trip he stumbles upon many of the strangest, funniest, and so much profound evidence approximately each subject below the sunlight, all whereas combating fatigue, ridicule, and the paralyzing worry that attends his first real-life accountability -- the upcoming delivery of his first child.
The Know-It-All is an creative, mightily exciting memoir of 1 man's mind, neuroses, and obsessions, and a fight among the all-consuming quest for actual wisdom and the indisputable reward of hard-won knowledge.
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Alexandra informed me a narrative to make me consider larger. a number of years in the past, Alexandra and Eric went out to dinner with one other couple. After their waitress took their order and left, Alexandra used to be all atwitter. "That's a Colombian accessory on that waitress," she acknowledged. "Not simply that--I imagine she's from my place of origin of Cali. " Eric shook his head emphatically. "That's now not a Colombian accessory. that is a Slavic accessory. " and then he proceeded to offer a speech concerning the linguistics of the Balkan states. whilst the waitress got here again with their appetizers, Alex acknowledged, "Where are you from? " "Colombia," stated the waitress. "Which city in Colombia? " "Cali," stated the waitress. Alex used to be floating on air. Eric shrugged it off. it is a interesting tale. not only simply because Eric was once incorrect, that's great, without doubt. i am fascinated with the truth that he pooh-poohed his Colombian-accented spouse relating to Colombian accents--that takes a few cojones. doubtless he declared the waitress's accessory to be Slavic with no doubt. now not a second of hesitation. a similar tone he'd use to nation his eye colour, or that the conflict of Hastings happened in 1066. Now, i am not asserting that Eric does not comprehend much. he is gathered an obscene volume of information. yet what approximately these infrequent events while he isn't convinced of anything? good, he is not going to allow a bit aspect like that cease him. it truly is affirmation of anything i have been toying with for a few months: one mystery to being a profitable know-it-all is severe self belief. simply kingdom your truth loud and proud, whether, as is the case with me, the main points are frequently pale and jumbled up. As my pal the monetary analyst as soon as instructed me approximately his line of labor: occasionally correct, occasionally flawed, continuously yes. the opposite day, an individual on the place of work pointed out twins. I had a great thing about a truth for him. "Did you recognize that during conventional Vietnamese society, boy-girl twins have been pressured to marry? " I acknowledged. "Because it was once assumed that they had intercourse within the womb. " an exceptional story--but it used to be truly Balinese society. I knew it wasn't Vietnam, yet i could not be mindful the rustic of marrying twins. So I simply made it up. I guessed my dialog companion didn't have a doctorate in East Asian obstetrics. I guessed correct. Indian Mutiny This used to be a failed uprising opposed to the British regime in 19th-century India. The Indian Mutiny was once impressive for the unusual approach that it all started. In 1857, the Brits hired Indian soldiers--called sepoys--to serve the British East India corporation. however the Brits made the error of introducing the hot Enfield rifle to their Indian troops. This gun required the warriors to chew off the ends of lubricated cartridges. The lubrication in query? a mix of pig and cow lard, which controlled the neat trick of offending either Muslim and Hindu infantrymen, who have been prohibited from consuming pig and cow, respectively. The Indians rose up and killed British officials, however the English positioned down the uprising with biblical ferocity. to cite the Britannica: "In the top the reprisals a ways outweighed the unique excesses.