Baby Boomer in Raleigh NC. Faves include James Lee Burke, CJ Box, Baldacci, Flynn, Child, DeMille, Crais, Connolly, Thor, Coes, L'amour. Average two books/week.
Very David Sedarisian and quite Bill Bryson-esque.
My normal "reads" are crime and covert-ops espionage so the occasional side venture to humor are always welcomed. The narrator here even sounds like David Sedaris who I always felt is a long lost son of Woody Allen.
Great travel choice with the family. Maybe a few hours longer than necessary but easy to leave and come back to without having to recall any plot lines or characters..... there is no plot or characters.
Promising idea. I wasn't sure you can actually get a whole book out of it, but apparently you can. It's really just as the summary suggests, guy reads the Encyclopedia Britannica, gives all kinds of interesting facts that he reads about, along with personal stories, and his journey to become smarter.
Interesting read. I've listened to the audio version of the book on Audible, and the narrator is the best narrator I've listened to. he made the book a joy to listen to.
The wonderful mix of learning & humor, the author is fantastic, and the man reading the book is the Best! He is one with the words, my favorite book of the decade.
When I finished, I had to start lisening to it again, so much I wanted to remember.
He did them all OUTSTANDING.
MANY EXTREME LAUGH OUT LOUD TIMES, AND MANY WOW MOMENTS.
I love this audio, and I think that people who don't like it didn't pay attention to the description before buying. It's ' The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World,' not, ' A Concise Summary of the Encyclopedia Britannica.' So it is the story of his reading it, why he chose to, and his life away from the books, just as described. And it's funny. He is nicknamed 'the great conversation stopper' by coworkers at Esquire, takes a speed-reading class, drops in at his high school and embarrasses himself, goes on 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire,' and aggravates his wife.
I really like the reader also, who does many great voices. I checked a few words that I thought might be mispronounced, and several were just an alternate pronunciation. It didn't really bother me too much, because the Encyclopedia does not contain pronunciation guidelines, and it is easy to mispronounce a word you learn by reading it, so it just seemed to fit, to me. He does sound like an NYC Jewish guy, and since the author is a Jewish guy who lives in NYC that seems reasonable. Some people have commented here that that annoyed them, so listen to the sample first.
He comments a lot on what he learns, so you will get some new facts from this, although that is not a major reason for reading it, since the new facts are based on what the author was struck by as he sat on the couch with his big, heavy, hardcover volume.
We bought this book to listen to on our move across the country, and at first I wasn't interested, but as the story progressed I began to really enjoy it. The personal notes that were included we a very pleasant touch to the book. I thought it was going to be about the encyclopedia more, but turned out to be pleasantly surprised. I found myself sympathizing with the author's duel quests in the book and enjoyed it thoroughly.
I had considered doing the same and I am certainly glad I didnt start. After reading this book you have an appreciation for the feat, you understand the author, and you appreciate the humanity of someone who does something this monumental.
I wasn't sure what to expect but this is one of the most enjoyable listens I have heard. This is probably better than reading even if I had the time. Laugh out loud. Buy it now. Don't wait. I can't wait to get back into my car to listen again.
Listening since 2004. Mystery, thrillers and anything that can blend with a walk, jog, exercise, long drive or a wait at the airport.
The gaps between laughs are long and deep valleys of boredom. Uninteresting information from Britannica has been specifically selected so that you have to strain yourself to be awake. If one were reading this book as a stand up comic, the deafening silence in the room would have set a record.
However, do not trust this review as I gave up listening to this book after just crossing the half way mark! Driving asleep is dangerous!
Not easy to write a review about a book one has not read. Well I read about 30 minutes of it. And within 30 minutes I found the author to be a bit naive about what constitutes trivia as opposed to more serious knowledge. I was truly curious about this book and would have given the author the benefit of the doubt, forced myself hoping for some kind of revelation after one hour or two. But the narrator gave it the fatal blow. The forced enthusiasm, the loud nasal voice, the unnecessary frantic pace were too much for me to endure. I gave up.
Pretentious, smug and boring. The narrator can't pronounce words of more than two syllables, and he's working with dreck to begin with. The author obviously thinks he's cute--someone MUST disabuse him of this notion, else he kills the next hapless victim he corners at a cocktail party. Less an amusing romp through the alpahabet than a sad and pathetic insight into the things people do to try to give themselves prestige. Mr. Jacobs should have stuck to whatever it was he did at Esquire.