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
"One of the book's strongest parts is its laugh-out-loud humor." (Publishers Weekly)
"Sidesplitting." (Time Out New York)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Should have read the reviews before purchasing it. Couldn't force myself to listen past "F". A tale of knowledge vs. wisdom. NOT! It's just a sophmoric, alphbetized dribble; exacerbated by 3rd grade-ish (predictable) humor.
If this "author" made money on this, I'll take up writing instead of truck driving.
Had this as our 'bedtime story' learnt some good snippets of information (wish we could remember all of it!) It was funny, interesting and very well told. You can pick this up, listen to a bit and pick up where you left off.
A really enjoyable listen, thankyou.
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