We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
The Know-It-All Audiobook

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

Regular Price:$29.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Early in his career, A.J. Jacobs put his Ivy League education to work at Entertainment Weekly. He emerged five years later knowing which stars have fake boobs, which stars have toupees, which have both, and not much else. This realization led Jacobs on a life-changing quest: to read the entire contents of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, all 33,000 pages, all 44 million words.

The mission began in October 2002, with the word "a-ak". The word launches hilarious misadventures through 32 volumes, as Jacobs accumulates useful and less-so knowledge, and along the way finds a deep connection with his father, examines the nature of knowledge vs. intelligence, and learns how to be rather annoying at cocktail parties.

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

©2004 A.J. Jacobs; (P)2004 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"One of the book's strongest parts is its laugh-out-loud humor." (Publishers Weekly)
"Sidesplitting." (Time Out New York)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (506 )
5 star
 (137)
4 star
 (180)
3 star
 (106)
2 star
 (54)
1 star
 (29)
Overall
3.8 (240 )
5 star
 (75)
4 star
 (78)
3 star
 (57)
2 star
 (23)
1 star
 (7)
Story
4.0 (238 )
5 star
 (99)
4 star
 (75)
3 star
 (42)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jason Phoenix, AZ, USA 11-30-04
    Jason Phoenix, AZ, USA 11-30-04 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "What a great story"

    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.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Winsted, CT, USA 11-19-04
    John Winsted, CT, USA 11-19-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Fun Fun Fun"

    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.
    jp

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-16-04
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-16-04 Member Since 2016

    Legal Thrillers, crime, fiction. humor and a bit of management sprinkled with some self improvement. All through Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    270
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    321
    72
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    1
    Overall
    "Wake me up before you go go!"

    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!

    4 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A reader New York 12-12-09
    A reader New York 12-12-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    201
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    137
    30
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A none review"

    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.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Noblesville, IN, USA 12-15-04
    Lisa Noblesville, IN, USA 12-15-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Dreadful"

    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.

    2 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire 09-17-12
    Claire 09-17-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "boring"

    I kept waiting for this to get interesting...I gave up and didn't finish it. I found the author ego-centric and shallow.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sandra DECATUR, TX, United States 12-22-10
    sandra DECATUR, TX, United States 12-22-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Meh"

    Good premise, but the telling drones on with brief flashes of humor. It "read" like actually reading through the encyclopedia, NOT the best material to hook a reader or listener beyond the first handful of factoids.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sophie Arcadia, CA, United States 12-08-10
    Sophie Arcadia, CA, United States 12-08-10 Member Since 2013

    Sophie Albert

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
    Overall
    "Interesting tidbits, but can't stand the author"

    This book has a few things going for it, it has several witty facts that are enjoyable, and the narrator is quite good. However, the author grated on my nerves as the book went on. By the time I was four hours into it I thought he was very pompous. He continually reminds the reader how clever he was as a child, and how much he's learning. Even when he seemingly tries to be humble it comes across as him being full of himself. His other books are even worse, especially the ones he narrates himself.

    In short, great idea for a book, superior narration, but a pompous and irritating author.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dustin Troy, IL, USA 12-14-05
    Dustin Troy, IL, USA 12-14-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Just like it sounds"

    Whats more boring then reading 32 volumes of the enclyclepedia Britannica? Listing to somebody talking about how he read 32 volumes of the enclclepedia Britannica. This book is a horrible listen. Some of the stories are intresting, but you are still listening to a guy go thru the enclyclepedia letter by letter. GOSH, what was I thinking when I ordered this. URGH.

    3 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 12-26-09
    Paul 12-26-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    42
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Remember the Saying: No One Likes A ..."

    I tried very hard to get through this book to gleam some sort of redeeming value, but I couldn't, I just couldn't. Found that the voice selected to narrate the book was a finger nails on the chalkboard sounding boyish-man. I know some like this book, just not for me. Do not like that I wasted my time and my money. There truly are so many more important things to do in life than to read an encyclopedia and then to write about it.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.