Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks
33,000 pages
44 million words
10 billion years of history
1 obsessed man

Part memoir and part education (or lack thereof), The Know-It-All chronicles NPR contributor A.J. Jacobs's hilarious, enlightening, and seemingly impossible quest to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z.
To fill the ever-widening gaps in his Ivy League education, A.J. Jacobs sets for himself the daunting task of reading all thirty-two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His wife, Julie, tells him it's a waste of time, his friends believe he is losing his mind, and his father, a brilliant attorney who had once attempted the same feat and quit somewhere around Borneo, is encouraging but, shall we say, unconvinced.
With self-deprecating wit and a disarming frankness, The Know-It-All recounts the unexpected and comically disruptive effects Operation Encyclopedia has on every part of Jacobs's life -- from his newly minted marriage to his complicated relationship with his father and the rest of his charmingly eccentric New York family to his day job as an editor at Esquire. Jacobs's project tests the outer limits of his stamina and forces him to explore the real meaning of intelligence as he endeavors to join Mensa, win a spot on Jeopardy!, and absorb 33,000 pages of learning. On his journey he stumbles upon some of the strangest, funniest, and most profound facts about every topic under the sun, all while battling fatigue, ridicule, and the paralyzing fear that attends his first real-life responsibility -- the impending birth of his first child.
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 all-consuming quest for factual knowledge and the undeniable gift of hard-won wisdom.

Topics: Marriage, New York City, Essays, Creative Nonfiction, Based on a True Story, Funny, Witty, Informative, Contemplative, Irreverent, Lighthearted, Fathers, Family, Infertility, Goals & Aspirations, Language, and First Person Narration

Published: Simon & Schuster on Oct 1, 2004
ISBN: 9780743272605
List price: $13.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for The Know-It-All by A. J. Jacobs
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

This was a really fun and funny book about Jacobs' trial reading the EB.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
New York writer sets to work on reading his way through the Encyclopaedica Britannica--book by book and then tries to impress his family and associates with his new-found knowledge one letter at a time. Hysterically funny--thoroughly enjoyed! I listened to this in the car; my teenagers usually ask if they can stop my audiobook and listen to the radio, but they loved this. They would hop in the car and catch a segment somewhere in progress; when we arrived home they would beg to stay in the car and listen to more. I wonder if the reason why we enjoyed it so much is because we are all so familiar with that type of character.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Entertaining, funny, the author endeared himself to me.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

This was a really fun and funny book about Jacobs' trial reading the EB.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
New York writer sets to work on reading his way through the Encyclopaedica Britannica--book by book and then tries to impress his family and associates with his new-found knowledge one letter at a time. Hysterically funny--thoroughly enjoyed! I listened to this in the car; my teenagers usually ask if they can stop my audiobook and listen to the radio, but they loved this. They would hop in the car and catch a segment somewhere in progress; when we arrived home they would beg to stay in the car and listen to more. I wonder if the reason why we enjoyed it so much is because we are all so familiar with that type of character.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Entertaining, funny, the author endeared himself to me.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Know-It-All is a wonderful book that charts the progress through the author's life one year of reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica set. Aside from imparting some of the knowledge he is picking up from the books, he lets us into his life as well (a lot happens as he works his way through the alphabet.) His sense of humor is self-effacing and infectious. I haven't laughed so much in a while (I need to get out more, apparently.) A couple of years ago, my wife talked me into giving away my set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. I really hadn't touched them since high school, but did have an emotional attachment to them. My parents bought them for me when I was a kid, to help me out in school. That was when EB had door to door salesmen peddling them. I guess they represented my parents' support for me, their willingness to do whatever it took to help me out, because the set wasn't cheap. And we weren't rich.I actually had the idea of reading the whole set at one time. I think I must've gotten the idea from the movie, Dr. No, when the character of Honey Rider, played by Ursula Andress, told Bond that she had started reading the encyclopedia from A-Z when she was 8. But of course, I never did. There aren't too many goals in my life that I have actually followed through on, so no surprise here. But reading this book makes me wish I had.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Jacobs, who I learned was an editor at Esquire, is a funny and engaging writer. He manages to make a really silly endeavor, reading the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica in a year, into a very personal narrative of his family, his wife, and his impending fatherhood. I particularly liked his wife, Julie--or, more accurately, the character of Julie--because she tempers Jacobs' tendency to run off in tangents. Very cool device.I think this book really worked for me because I read it in fairly short chunks over a couple of weeks. Usually, I gobble up books really quickly. This can be like spending too much time with a good friend; the little things start to annoy me. The format of the book helped me divide it out nicely. Because Jacobs inserts sections that mimic encyclopedia entries, it's easy to say, "hey, I'm going to stop after finishing the 'H' section." Portion control is my friend, I've found. So, yeah, I liked this a lot.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I cannot remember the last time I laughed out loud while reading a book by myself. This happened several times while reading this book. Not only is it humorous, but it is also very enlightening.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Load more
scribd