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Mental Floss: Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets [Paperback]

Editors of Mental Floss

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Book Description

May 18 2006

Friends? Romans? Countrymen?
You never know whom you'll have to impress
at your next corporate shindig or keg party.

Whatever the target audience, mental_floss knows staring facedown into the punch bowl isn't the trick. In fact, that's exactly why we're handing you Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets—a totally effective, foolproof guide to starting and sustaining conversations on every topic under the sun. Want to wax wise about barbarians, socialist theory, and jazz musicians? What about Keynesian economics, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and James Joyce's Ulysses? Well, it's all right here in front of you.

We've jam-packed this book with jaw-dropping facts and hysterical anecdotes that are sure to please. So go ahead and stock up for your next soiree. We're not guaranteeing it will make you the most knowledgeable person in the room . . . just the most interesting.

Product Details

Product Description


“A lot like that professor of yours who peppered his tests with raunchy jokes: it makes learning fun.” (Newsweek)

“A delightfully eccentric and eclectic new magazine.” (Washington Post)

“Part scholarly journal, part Spy magazine protégé.” (Charlotte Observer)

“For the discerning intellect, mental_floss cleans out the cobwebs.” (Chicago Tribune)

“The titans of trivia.” (Newsweek)

“An ideal reference to settle arguments or jog your memory.” (Calgary Herald)

About the Author

Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur met as first year students at Duke University. Ignoring the lures of law school and investment banking, the pair co-founded mental_floss and have been grinning ever since. Maggie Koerth-Baker is a freelance journalist and a former assistant editor at mental_floss magazine, where she consistently astounded Will and Mangesh with her amazingness.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Show Off Your Inner Geek at Boring Cocktail Parties Sept. 24 2006
By Ed Uyeshima - Published on
For some reason, this slim volume reminds me of the old TV commercial for Silly String which featured a room of yawning guests as a naval officer showed off his ribbons and said, "This is from the Boer War." It's always a good idea to have something up your sleeve to break the ice with strangers that doesn't have to do with the latest edition of People Magazine. After all, you want to have some semblance of an intellect on display to make that right impression.

This is yet another quick-read book from the editors of Mental Floss Magazine, a bimonthly launched in 2001 and targeted to aspiring Trivial Pursuit masters. This particular one, "Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets", is a clever series of possible conversation-starters that will hopefully make one's deep well of knowledge seem impressive without being intrusive. There are 44 topics, a chapter a piece, somewhat random in variety except a certain level of erudition. Each has a brief summary of what it is, an appropriate context in which to bring the topic up, some intriguing trivia facts to boost your interest, and actual suggestions for starting the conversation.

Topics are all over the map though there seems to be a predominance of historical figures covered from Attila the Hun to Miles Davis to Samuel Johnson to the Brontë sisters. The Rosetta Stone, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Magna Carta are included here, and so are the Dutch East India Company and the martini. Of particular interest to me are much-needed snapshots of James Joyce's "Ulysses" and the Qu'ran (Koran). I think it would have been more helpful had there been a better sense of organization about the information, for example, the creative way the editors used school subjects to divide the topics in another of their books, "What's the Difference?". Nonetheless, this is a fun read and well worth it for the hidden facts some of us actually crave.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ah, Mental Floss! Aug. 1 2006
By K. L. Uminski - Published on
If you do not know mental_floss the magazine, you are in for a treat with this little book. Not only is the information fun and facinating, it is very well organized and you could almost actually use it at a cocktail party!

No mere cataloge of trivia, the editors and contributors engage you while they dispell common myths and give you the actual facts.

Finally, if you are a loyal reader of mental_floss, this book is for you as well, while you may remember some sections from magazine articles, it sure gives you your mental_floss fix until the next mag comes out. Perfect to take to the beach!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative! Oct. 1 2007
By Jena Barber - Published on
My husband likes this for the bathroom. I like it for the waiting room at the doctor's office, standing in line at the DMV, etc. There was so much stuff I didn't know! I bought it because I really wanted some fodder for conversations at events and fundraisers. I think it will come in very handy!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great choice of topics, and fascinating information! Nov. 6 2006
By Suzanne Amara - Published on
Somehow they really hit the nail on the head with this one---there are limited topics covered, but they seem to be exactly the topics you think you SHOULD know about but really don't---the Hundred Years War, Samuel Johnson, Virginia Wolff and other like that! The coverage of the topics is light but not just fluff--you really do learn some history, but also learn tasty little facts that really would be fun to use at a party. I read straight through the book and enjoyed it all.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 8 2014
By Juan Martinez - Published on
Good read

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