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

Ken Jennings

Top 10 Best Quotes

“After all, we're currently living in a Bizarro society where teenagers are technology-obsessed, where the biggest sellers in every bookstores are fantasy novels about a boy wizard, and the blockbuster hit movies are all full of hobbits and elves or 1960s spandex superheroes. You don't have to go to a Star Trek convention to find geeks anymore. Today, almost everyone is an obsessive, well-informed aficionado of something. Pick your cult: there are food geeks and fashion geeks and Desperate Housewives geeks and David Mamet geeks and fantasy sports geeks. The list is endless. And since everyone today is some kind of trivia geek or other, there's not even a stigma anymore. Trivia is mainstream. "Nerd" is the new "cool.”

“I pick up Dylan. He certainly takes after his father: about three-quarters of his body weight seems to be head, and three-quarters of that is ears.”

“What are those bulb things you're slicing?" "You've never seen fennel? It looks like celery and tastes like licorice.”

“Trivia, as I’ve said before, shouldn’t really be called “trivia.” Facts about history, geography, books, movies, music—this is the stuff that used to be called good old-fashioned “general knowledge,” the stuff that everybody was supposed to remember from school, regardless of their career niche. We lost something the more we specialized—it started to drain away this vast pool of information that everybody knew. Knowledge was what connected us, and now it distinguishes us.”

“In this country, we were not into detail. Europe developed detail.” “Why do you think that is?” “Weather. The whole history of England consists of finding things to do out of the weather. Which tells you why Russia was even worse. That’s why Russian novels have 182 characters: bad weather.”

“The commercial break before Final Jeopardy is usually the only time that the show stops tape. You’re given as long as you want to do the math required to make your wager.”

“So maybe we never would have realized we were so compatible if we hadn't been trading song lyrics and movie dialogue. That's textbook trivia right there." Mindy looks unconvinced. "But that's how *everybody* gets together. They find some dumb thing they both know a little about that they can talk about until the waiter brings dinner. According to you, there probably isn't a marriage or a relationship or a friendship anywhere today that wasn't jump-started by trivia." "I think that's exactly right," I agree. "To trivia.”

“As a kid, I always assumed the know-it-alls on Jeopardy! were obviously the smartest people in America. If you were smart, that's how you showed it: by knowing all your state flowers and kings of Saxony. But what if Rob's right and that's a different, much shallower kind of intelligence? Is my mountain of flash cards all for naught?”

“...there probably isn't a marriage or a relationship or a friendship anywhere today that wasn't jump-started by trivia.”

“To a nation of grandparents nostalgic for a time when everyone listened to Toscanini on the radio, tired of having to watch people on TV win money for bungee jumping and eating goat rectums, Jeopardy! is sweetly cerebral relief piped in straight from the Eisenhower era, a time capsule from ana age before America dumbed down.”

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Book Keywords:

fennel, ears, funny, relationships, jeopardy, ken-jennings, trivia, quiz-shows, intelligence, vegetable, head, humor, celery, programming, licorice, television

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