An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't

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Random House Publishing Group, Jul 22, 2009 - Reference - 720 pages
73 Reviews
When it was originally published in 1987, An Incomplete Education became a surprise bestseller. Now this instant classic has been completely updated, outfitted with a whole new arsenal of indispensable knowledge on global affairs, popular culture, economic trends, scientific principles, and modern arts. Here’s your chance to brush up on all those subjects you slept through in school, reacquaint yourself with all the facts you once knew (then promptly forgot), catch up on major developments in the world today, and become the Renaissance man or woman you always knew you could be!

How do you tell the Balkans from the Caucasus? What’s the difference between fission and fusion? Whigs and Tories? Shiites and Sunnis? Deduction and induction? Why aren’t all Shakespearean comedies necessarily thigh-slappers? What are transcendental numbers and what are they good for? What really happened in Plato’s cave? Is postmodernism dead or just having a bad hair day? And for extra credit, when should you use the adjective continual and when should you use continuous?

An Incomplete Education answers these and thousands of other questions with incomparable wit, style, and clarity. American Studies, Art History, Economics, Film, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Science, and World History: Here’s the bottom line on each of these major disciplines, distilled to its essence and served up with consummate flair.

In this revised edition you’ll find a vitally expanded treatment of international issues, reflecting the seismic geopolitical upheavals of the past decade, from economic free-fall in South America to Central Africa’s world war, and from violent radicalization in the Muslim world to the crucial trade agreements that are defining globalization for the twenty-first century. And don’t forget to read the section A Nervous American’s Guide to Living and Loving on Five Continents before you answer a personal ad in the International Herald Tribune.

As delightful as it is illuminating, An Incomplete Education packs ten thousand years of culture into a single superbly readable volume. This is a book to celebrate, to share, to give and receive, to pore over and browse through, and to return to again and again.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Really good reference work. - Goodreads
Amusing and educational. - Goodreads
The writing is informative and very witty. - Goodreads
What a great reference book! - Goodreads
The premise is great, but the execution didn't suit me. - Goodreads
The book that proves reference can be fun...and funny! - Goodreads

Review: An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't

User Review  - Chelsey Cosh - Goodreads

Not your typical reference book, An Incomplete Education reads in a natural way, a way that you could read cover to cover recreationally. There's a reason why there's been multiple editions of this ... Read full review

Review: An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't

User Review  - Evan - Goodreads

A fantastic book to have on the shelf or bed-stand. Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Judy Jones is a freelance writer who lives in Princeton, New Jersey. William Wilson was also a freelance writer. Wilson went to Yale and Jones to Smith, but both have maintained that they got their real educations in the process of writing this book. William Wilson died in 1999.

From the Hardcover edition.

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