Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Know-It-All

Nope, the title does not pertain to a descriptive analysis of me or anyone that I know of. Sadly, I don't know a lot of Know-it-alls (the good ones), except for the legend that is my father (more on that in some other post). However, what I am referring to is the book by A J Jacobs which is a must-read for all the book and facts lovers out there.

The Know-It-All is a literary summation of Jacobs' attempt to read the Encyclopaedia Britannica from A to Z and in doing so, he takes the reader on a fun, entertaining, enriching, part-philosophical, part-idealistic ride along with him.

And to Jacobs credit, the book is tremendously humourous. As an author and as the central character, he has put himself in a self-deprecating light, wherein he is not a super hero but just someone who wants to be the Smartest person in the world, and always seeing the joke on himself. And well, lots of jokes on what he reads too. At the total cost of repeating myself, I had a  greatly entertaining time reading this novel. And am sure, all the readers I know will enjoy it too.

Refer following

I move on to Aaron, the brother of Moses. Seems he was sort of the Frank Stallone of ancient Judaism. The loser brother, the one Mom didn't talk about too much. "Oh, Aaron? He's doing okay. Still finding his way. But back to Moses. Did you hear about the Red Sea?"


A mystery solved. I've always wondered why Greenland -- which is basically a massive sheet of white ice -- is called Greenland. Turns out the country's name was coined by an Eric the Red, who had been banished from Iceland in 982 A.D. for manslaughter. He called his new home Greenland in order to entice more people to join him there. In other words, it was all a shady P.R. ploy by a felon. Shady, but smart. No doubt he got more takers than if he'd gone with something more accurate, like Bleakland or Depressingland or Youllstarveland.''

For detailed reader  reviews on the same, do visit the link below....

Reviews for The Know-It-All

There is just SO much knowledge out there and just like Jacobs, on reading the book, I wondered will I ever know it all? Am not under any delusions, so I know the answer is NO. But it gets you thinking, why have we stopped asking questions or why have we stopped learning? I know I know, some of us will have rebuttals for that too, but how many of us know about the great poets of the past, the reasons for atmospheric changes and colours, the wars fought over the ages, the history of the Spice trade, the boundless geographies, the brilliant philosophies....
How many of us want to know it all?

We all have lovely memories of our childhood wherein we had our favourite books and stories and we would love to revisit them often, soaking it all in and memorising every single detail. Knowledge of stars, planets, people, family, places was NEVER enough. How many of us still do that for ourselves? Get to the inside out of every opportunity, every trip... Like a child, display enthusiasm for that NEW in our lves, for that intelligence which we felt only learning could get us.

Ok, snapping out of dreamy mode right about now.
The point of this entry is not to be preachy (NO), nor is it to send out a message to all. it's more on the lines of a self-discourse to myself.
Learn something every day and by learning I am referring to knowledge; of things, the world, history et al. And keep things simple...
That rocks my boat... you can choose yours. Or for starters, Pick up the Jacobs book and atleast get a crash course in some interesting facts, which gives you lots of food for thought.