Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It

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Product Details

$23.95  $22.27
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
5.7 X 0.8 X 8.5 inches | 0.8 pounds
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About the Author

James Geary is the author of four previous books, including the New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase, and is the deputy curator at Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalism. A sought-after speaker and avid juggler, he lives near Boston, Massachusetts.


Comedy is famously impossible to describe without destroying it, so James Geary--in this entertaining and informative and funny book--makes a very smart and effective move: he embodies the many different forms that wit takes, from poems to jokes to jive to rap. In a time of constant, unintentional humor, here is a purposeful and valuable reminder that sometimes it's on purpose and sometimes it's very nearly life-saving.--David Shields, best-selling author of Reality Hunger and The Thing About Life Is One Day You'll Be Dead
Whoever was the foremost authority on this topic is now second-most.--Bob Mankoff, author of How About Never--Is Never Good for You?
If you've ever spent hours overanalyzing your favorite stand-up special or sitcom episode, this is the kind of insightful, carefully reasoned deep dive you'll love.--David Litt, New York Times best-selling author of Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years
Readers roaring with laughter at outrageous puns one moment find themselves carefully assessing psychological studies the next... An exhilarating romp, entertaining and enlightening.
Crucially, instead of analyzing wit to death, Mr. Geary chooses to embody it... [He] writes not just playfully but with panache... Geary's chief success is in conveying the power of wit to refresh the mind.
Wit's End juggles scholarship, humorous anecdote and critical insight with a diabolical, almost sinister dexterity. No shrinking violet, Geary fully intends to strut his stuff, to glitter and beguile, and he does so with remarkable ingenuity and chutzpah.
Geary is a keen storyteller, promiscuous with quotes and figures. One could do worse at a cocktail party than simply opening his book at random and reading aloud.