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

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Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.5 inches | 0.45 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.


Juggles scholarship, humorous anecdote and critical insight with a diabolical, almost sinister dexterity.--Michael Dirda
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.--Katy Waldman
[Geary takes] a quirky approach for a quirky topic.
Wit's End is delicious. James Geary has managed to produce a witty book about wit that steers an elegant path between waggishness and wisdom.
[James Geary] raps, rhymes, puns, quips, jives, and dialogues his way through this rich history and analysis.... The end result is an extended dance remix on the art of the quip that is both humorous and instructive.--Ephrat Livni
Readers roaring with laughter at outrageous puns one moment find themselves carefully assessing psychological studies the next.... An exhilarating romp, entertaining and enlightening.
A playful book that celebrates all forms of wit... 'To see clearly, look askance, ' Geary advises. He heeds his own advice to entertaining effect.
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 lifesaving.--David Shields, best-selling author of Reality Hunger and The Thing About Life Is One Day You'll Be Dead