mental_floss Presents Condensed Knowledge
ed. Will Pearson et al
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Buy *mental_floss Presents Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again* online

mental_floss Presents Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again
Will Pearson, Mangesh Hattikudur, & Elizabeth Hunt, editors
352 pages
April 2004
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Call it the Idiot’s Guide to Being Smart, or maybe Intelligence for Dummies, or how about The Lazy Person’s Guide to Everything. For anyone who has ever wanted to know anything about, well, anything, mental_floss Presents Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again is a must-read. Just think - you too can have genius-level knowledge at your fingertips! Why, you’d be the life of any party; the know-it-all who keeps them laughing and wondering just how you got to be so darned smart anyway.

The editors of this “feast for hungry minds” have put together a plethora of knowledge about all matter of things into one nifty book, and made it fun to read and funny to boot. You can learn the basics of philosophy, religion, science, music, performing arts, history, pop culture, chemistry, biology, art history, psychology, physics and economics in this brilliant mini-encyclopedia that serves as floss for a foggy brain in need of neuron stimulation.

Some of the important subjects you can brush up on (and wow your friends and colleagues with) include works of literature written while under the influence; major mistakes on the world map; metals that meddle with your body (watch out for that mercury); parts of your body that are not alive (dem bones, dem bones…); sexy dances that will leave you drooling (I must re-read this section); the real words behind those tricky lyrics (Remember “Blinded By the Light?”); ways to be religious while having sex (must re-read that section, too); ways radioactivity lights up your life; and my absolute favorite: traditions of theatrical cross-dressing. You can even master the basics of physics or chemistry in just a few short hours of reading time. No college or university can make that promise!

Now not all the information provided in this all-you-can-eat buffet for hungry minds is silly and irreverent. In fact, these little condensed tidbits of knowledge include some mighty critical stuff that most of us should be aware of, like what parts of our anatomy are alive or dead, and which countries don’t take American Express. I had a blast reading through the sidebars (“The History of Frontal Lobotomies” was pretty nifty) and absorbing the hundreds of factoids, anecdotes and historical examples, all written in a light and breezy tone and style that allow even the dumbest of dummies to come away feeling like Einstein or Da Vinci.

mental_floss Presents Condensed Knowledge is a great book for college students who need a quick reference guide, writers who want some handy facts, or anyone anxious to improve their intelligence level and show off to friends and family their newfound wit and wisdom. Forget four expensive years of college! Who needs scholarly books? Why bother taking night courses! Just buy this book and you will know all you need to know about knowledge.

Just don’t forget to brush first.

© 2004 by Marie D. Jones for Curled Up With a Good Book

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