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

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Ken Jennings has risen from anonymous computer programmer to nerd folk icon as the all-time champion of "Jeopardy!" In this book, he explores his ... Show synopsis

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

Overall customer rating: 3.000
kfunque
by kfunque on May 27, 2007

I was optimistic heading into this book, being a hardcore Jeopardy! fan myself, but found myself disappointed with this work from the 74-game champ. Not a horrible read by any means - I was easily able to read the book cover-to-cover - but not something that I'll eagerly be picking up again anytime soon. Throughout the chapters, Jennings alternates between anecdotes from his experiences on Jeopardy! and stories of his travels around the U.S. talking with other trivia whizzes, compilers, and competitors. He weaves in a history of trivia, in both its competitive and non-competitive forms, and why sects of society have become so admiring of it. As a bonus to trivia fans (who, no doubt, make up the book's entire audience), each chapter is infused with 10 trivia questions, the answers of which are at the end of the given chapter. Jennings also throws in the humorous observation here and there. Although most of it a bit pretentious, he somehow avoids sounding arrogant by sprinkling in some self-effacing jokes as well. I genuinely laughed a few times in the course of the book, perhaps because I do have taste for niche humor that 90% of the public wouldn't "get", but a few of the lines seemed to have a forced edginess that bordered on offensive (e.g. "[the questions] beat me like Ike Turner" ... ouch).

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