The Know-It-All

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

Author: A.J. Jacobs

Summary: The premise of this book is quite simple: Jacobs, then an editor for Esquire, decides to fill the ever-growing gaps in his education by reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The whole thing, from start to finish. As his ‘knowledge’ increases, so do the hilarious encounters between his mostly-patient wife, his father (who once attempted the same feat, but stalled B), his obnoxiously smart brother-in-law, Alex Trebek, and the staff of the hallowed encyclopedia itself.

Organized from A to Z, this is a very funny book with a very big heart, especially concerning the struggles of Jacobs and his wife to conceive. Full of trivia (including Descartes’ preference for cross-eyed women), and amusing anecdotes about modern life, this book is probably a better way to spend an afternoon then hefting a volume of the Britannica – not only will it make you feel smarter, it will put a smile on your face.

Who will like this book?:Fans of comedic writing, trivia masters, confirmed know-it-alls or know-it-alls in training.

If you like this, try this: Jacob’s latest book, The Year of Living Biblically. For a more serious look at famous reference books, go for The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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