The Know-it-all: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World

By AJ Jacobs

You go to school. You work hard. You go to university. You learn a lot. You're pretty pleased with yourself. You're erudite, well-read and know a whole bunch of obscure facts guaranteed at some point to appear in the questions on Mastermind or University Challenge. Then you get a job, and ten years later you stumble over Beckett but are eloquent about Big Brother and you discuss Kyle like you used to discuss Kierkegaard. Sound familiar?

Well it happened to AJ Jacobs too. But he decided to do something about it. An editor at Esquire, Jacobs had built up an impressive knowledge of celebrity trivia - the cure was going to take a long time. It was big - 33,000 pages, it was heavy - 9 stone. It was the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Join Jacobs on his journey of discovery as he learns every known fact - however arcane - in the entire world. Sympathise with his long-suffering wife. Share his glee at finding a mistake. Wince with embarrassment as he fails to get into Mensa - even armed with all this information, and blows it on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Grimace as he pathetically attempts to turn every dinner party conversation to topics beginning with "A" - he'd only just begun then.

Imagine Bill Bryson meeting Schott's Original Miscellany and Woody Allen at a party - that's The Know-It-All. Part assemblage of fascinating trivia, part journey through adulthood, all laugh-out-loud funny.

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