Author(s): A. J. Jacobs
Alarmed and more than a little chagrined at the massive gaps in his personal knowledge base, Jacobs sets for himself a suitably daunting, and some might say insane, task: to fill the holes in his education by reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica. With endearing and disarming frankness, The Know-It-All recounts the unexpected and comically disruptive effects Jacobs's freshly harvested knowledge has on every part of his life - from his marriage to his sweetheart Julie, to his complicated relationship with his lawyer father and the rest of his charmingly eccentric New York family, to his job as an editor at Esquire. Operation Encyclopaedia tests the outer limits of Jacobs's stamina, illuminates the value of wisdom over facts, and explores the real meaning of intelligence, as he endeavours to join Mensa, get onto Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, and absorb 33,000 pages of learning. On his journey, Jacobs discovers some of the strangest, funniest, and most profound facts about every topic under the sun, all while battling fatigue, ridicule, and the paralysing fear that attends his first real-life responsibility - the birth of his first child. Jacobs's singular feat naturally calls for some heavy intellectual lifting - the entire Britannica set weighs in at a combined 125 pounds. But his brand of humour and lucid articulation of wisdom gives The Know-It-All a thoroughly light and entertaining touch.
A.J. Jacobs is the editor of What It Feels Like and the author of The Two Kings: Jesus and Elvis, America Offline, and Fractured Fairy Tales. He is a senior editor of Esquire and has written for the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, New York magazine, The New York Observer, and many other publications. He lives in New York City with his wife Julie.