Tuesday, 18 July 2017

THE KNOW-IT-ALL: ONE MAN'S HUMBLE QUEST TO BECOME THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD

THE KNOW-IT-ALL: ONE MAN'S HUMBLE QUEST TO BECOME THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE WORLD - BOOK COVER
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World is a book by Esquire editor A. J. Jacobs, published in 2004.

It recounts his experience of reading the entire Encyclopædia Britannica; all 32 volumes of the 2002 edition, extending to over 33,000 pages with some 44 million words. He set out on this endeavour to become the "smartest person in the world". The book is organized alphabetically in encyclopedia format and recounts both interesting facts from the encyclopedia and the author's experiences.

“The Know-It-All has to be one of the most entertaining and informative book reports in existence. It is charming, humorous, instructive, fascinating, even kind of inspirational. But Jacobs’ book is more than that. He puts it all into the context of his life, and a text that could have been utterly dry winds up charming us with Jacobs’ honesty and vulnerability. Jacobs is courageous enough to risk looking stupid by sharing his quirks and insecurities . . . and he wins the gambit. He comes across as nothing short of endearing.”

–The Philadelphia Inquirer

FACT

A.J. Jacobs was not the first to read the entire Britannica. The earliest recorded example was Fath Ali, who upon becoming the Shah of Persia in 1797, was given a gift of the 3rd edition of the Britannica. After reading all of its 18 volumes, the Shah extended his royal title to include "Most Formidable Lord and Master of the Encyclopædia Britannica". Roughly a century later, Amos Urban Shirk, an American businessman, read the entire 23-volume 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica over a period of four years. He then went on to read the entire 14th edition, spending on average three hours per night.
Bill Gates read the entire World Book Encyclopedia in his youth.
In 2008, Ammon Shea published his account of reading the complete Oxford English Dictionary.
In fiction, a character in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Red-Headed League is hired to copy out the Britannica by hand—for no other reason (at least apparently) than his red hair—although his job is terminated before he finishes the entries beginning with "A". 


Download the book: The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World.pdf

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