Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs

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Random House Publishing Group, Sep 12, 2006 - Games & Activities - 288 pages
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A witty, charming, and engaging dive into trivia’s colorful history, from America’s highest-earning game show contestant of all time
 
“Insightful, informative, and written with a strong dose of humor and humility. . . . I loved this book.”—Will Shortz, crossword editor, The New York Times
 
Ken Jennings is trivia’s undisputed king—and as he traces his rise from anonymous computer programmer to nerd folk icon, he explores his newly conquered kingdom: the world of trivia itself. 
 
Trivia, he has found, is centuries older than his childhood obsession with it. Whisking us from the coffeehouses of seventeenth-century London to the Internet age, Jennings chronicles the ups and downs of the trivia fad: the quiz book explosion of the Jazz Age; the rise, fall, and rise again of TV quiz shows; the nostalgic campus trivia of the 1960s; and the 1980s, when Trivial PursuitŪ again made it fashionable to be a know-it-all.

Jennings also investigates the shadowy demimonde of today’s trivia subculture, guiding us on a tour of trivia across America. He goes head-to-head with the blowhards and diehards of the college quiz-bowl circuit, the slightly soused faithful of the Boston pub trivia scene, and the raucous participants in the annual Q&A marathon in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, “The World’s Largest Trivia Contest.” And, of course, he takes us behind the scenes of his improbable 75-game run on Jeopardy!
 
But above all, Brainiac is a love letter to the useless fact. (Who knew that there’s a crater on Venus named after Laura Ingalls Wilder? Ken Jennings, that’s who.) Engaging and erudite, Brainiac is an irresistible celebration of nostalgia, curiosity, and geeky obsession—in a word, trivia.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ladycato - LibraryThing

I've watched Jeopardy throughout my life and Ken Jennings's spectacular run fascinated me in 2004 and still does so today. I always enjoy seeing him return for new bouts. I found Brainiac to be an ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - drmaf - LibraryThing

Just heaven for a trivia buff. Ken Jennings, who won a record 74 straight games on Jeopardy, uses his own experiences on the show to explore the arcane world of trivia in America, from fiercely ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Authors Note
What is AMBITION?
What is AUDITION?
What is ERUDITION?
What is AMMUNITION?
What is COMPETITION?
What is IGNITION?
What is COMPOSITION?
What is FRUITION?
What is TRANSITION?
What is COGNITION?
What is JUXTAPOSITION?
What is REPETITION?
What is TRADITION?

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About the author (2006)

Ken Jennings was born in Seattle but spent much of his childhood in Seoul, South Korea. A graduate of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, he worked as a computer programmer until becoming an unlikely celebrity due to his unprecedented record-breaking streak on the television quiz show Jeopardy! He lives outside Salt Lake City with his wife and son.

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