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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

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Dustin
  • Troy, IL, USA
  • 12-14-05

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

  • 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

  • Overall

Waste of time, money & patience

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.

1 of 14 people found this review helpful