Author: A.J. Jacobs
Title: The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World
Narrator: Geoffrey Cantor
Publication Info: Highbridge Audiobooks (2004)
Books Read by the Same Author: The Year of Living Biblically
A.J. Jacobs sets out to “become the smartest person in the world” by reading the Encylopedia Britannica in its entirety from A-to-Z. If you think this is a book about a man reading an encyclopedia and listing the facts he learns, well that’s exactly what it is. But to be fair many of the facts are interesting and/or funny. In between encyclopedic entries, Jacobs narrates his personal life. This includes his relationship with his wife as they try to conceive a baby. Then there’s his absolutely hilarious father who is also greatly interested in learning. And Jacobs has a nemesis in his brother-in-law who is an even bigger – and more confident – know-it-all. Along the way Jacobs attends adult education courses on speed reading and memorization, visits the Britannica publishing offices in Chicago, and appears on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? I expect that Jacobs might be a tad bit annoying if you met him in person, but in his writing he is funny and charming and this is an enjoyable book for nerds like me.