I recently finished reading the book The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs. The book follows Jacob's quest to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z and is actually much more entertaining and funny than you might think. I started reading the book because I was fascinated by the idea behind it. I love to read, and learn, and go to school, and felt that deep down inside, Jacobs was a kindred spirit. Far from being a regurgitation of boring facts, the book weaves the narrative of a man trying to understand his relationship with his own father, while facing the possibility of becoming a father himself, into one year of nonstop encyclopedia reading. The book was both funny, heart-warming, and full of fascinating fun facts just waiting to be pulled out at your next party!
Here's a just a small sample of the things I learned from this book:
1. First of all we had a President named Millard Fillmore did you know that? He was apparently our 13th president. I thought I knew my history pretty well, but clearly I'm lacking in the area of previous Presidents.
2. We also had a President named William Henry Harrison (number 9) although I don't feel so bad about not know about him since he died one month into office.
3. Lacoste is not just the name of a clothing like with a cute alligator mascot. Rene Lacoste was a famous tennis player who earned the nickname "The crocodile". So technically speaking the Lacoste shirts all should have crocodiles on them, not alligators.
4. Myrrh is a substance that is used as incense, and to relieve sore gums. If you think about it myrrh is the only suitable gift that the wise men brought Jesus...what baby doesn't get sore gums?
5. Typewriters originally had two entire sets of letters, one uppercase and one lower case. The invention of the shift button changed typing as we know it!