- 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 Pursuit(R) 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.