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Mental Floss Presents Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again [Paperback]

Editors of Mental Floss
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 15 2004

Loaded with meaty trivia and tasty, bite-sized facts!

mental_floss is proud to offer a delicious, hearty helping of brain-food that's sure to fire up your neurons and tantalize your synapses. Condensed Knowledge is a mouthwatering mix of intriguing facts, lucid explanations, and mind-blowing theories that will satisfy even the hungriest mind!

Ingredients include:

5 tiny nations that get no respect • 4 civilizations nobody remembers • 5 classics written under the influence • 4 things your boss has in common with slime mold • 3 schools of thought that will impress the opposite sex • 4 things Einstein got wrong • 5 classical tunes you know from the movies • 3 famous studies that would be illegal today • 2 religious mysteries solved by chemistry • 5 scandals that rocked art, and much more ...


Frequently Bought Together

Mental Floss Presents Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again + 1,001 Facts that Will Scare the S#*t Out of You: The Ultimate Bathroom Reader + Book of Secrets
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Review

“A lot like that professor of your 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)

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Verging On Greatness July 4 2004
Format:Paperback
I subscribe to "Mental Floss" and have since the first issue. I love it and couldn't wait to buy this book. Largely, I was very pleased with the book. I particularly like the way the book is broken down into major subjects like "Condensed Art History" and "Condensed Physics". I especially enjoyed the science sections and the "Condensed Pop Culture" chapter. I was particularly impressed with the analysis of the confusing lyrics in Steve Miller's "The Joker" (yes the line actually IS "Some people call me Maurice, 'cuz I speak of the pompatus of love.") The solving of this mystery alone is worth the price of the book.
I really sat on the fence on whether to give the book four or five stars. I would give it 4 1/2 if that were an option, but there were a few little thing about the book that bugged me enough to prevent a five star review (although I do give the magazine five stars.) The first (minor) error I noticed is in the chapter "Condensed General Science" under "Sexy Animal Facts", where the author states that "A goldfish has a memory span of only three seconds". I hold a degree in Biology, and can categorically say that is untrue. This is an urban legend and supposition, which has been disproved in several studies in animal behavior in which goldfish were taught to swim in elaborate mazes over the span of several days. If they only had a three second memory, they would be unable to complete the maze correctly with ever improving times day after day (which shows that learning occurs.) The television show 'Mythbusters' did a primitive version of one of these studies on one show, by the way. This isn't a big point, but is worth noting.
I object to the politically correct use of the terms of 'BC' and 'BCE' instead of 'BC' and 'AD'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Verging On Greatness July 4 2004
Format:Paperback
I subscribe to "Mental Floss" and have since the first issue. I love it and couldn't wait to buy this book. Largely, I was very pleased with the book. I particularly like the way the book is broken down into major subjects like "Condensed Art History" and "Condensed Physics". I especially enjoyed the science sections and the "Condensed Pop Culture" chapter. I was particularly impressed with the analysis of the confusing lyrics in Steve Miller's "The Joker" (yes the line actually IS "Some people call me Maurice, 'cuz I speak of the pompatus of love.") The solving of this mystery alone is worth the price of the book.
I really sat on the fence on whether to give the book four or five stars. I would give it 4 1/2 if that were an option, but there were a few little thing about the book that bugged me enough to prevent a five star review (although I do give the magazine five stars.) The first (minor) error I noticed is in the chapter "Condensed General Science" under "Sexy Animal Facts", where the author states that "A goldfish has a memory span of only three seconds". I hold a degree in Biology, and can categorically say that is untrue. This is an urban legend and supposition, which has been disproved in several studies in animal behavior in which goldfish were taught to swim in elaborate mazes over the span of several days. If they only had a three second memory, they would be unable to complete the maze correctly with ever improving times day after day (which shows that learning occurs.) The television show 'Mythbusters' did a primitive version of one of these studies on one show, by the way. This isn't a big point, but is worth noting.
I object to the politically correct use of the terms of 'BC' and 'BCE' instead of 'BC' and 'AD'.
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A jukebox of enjoyable knowledge May 24 2004
Format:Paperback
Yes- I am from the old school that actually fed quarters endlessly into a jukebox! But age (or lack thereof- you can be juvenile forever) has never kept me from enjoying a vast range of things- for example, in music I can equally enjoy opera, Kodo drums, Beatles, violin concertos, Pink Floyd, Ravi shankar, Aguilera, etc. and even some heavy metal (rap is a stretch, I'll admit!). This range of interests means I neglect some areas for vast periods of time. Mental_floss amde this refreshing of knowledge a delightful and "refreshing" smorgasbord and I have been eating at that table since they first started publishing.
This tradition is carried out in spades in Condensed Knowledge. I have enjoyed everything I've read so far and learnt all kinds of quirky and fun things I plan to drop in conversation! But really, the key factor is how much fun it is. Mental floss has gone out and rallied experts in the field to write on each subject and yet has managed to keep that "quirky sense of humor" alive thru all the chapters! I won't give examples- there are too many fun things to discover for yourself. Those who read mental_floss know what I mean; for those who dont- hey get with it- there's a jungle of fun information out ther!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I got that song out of my head April 29 2004
Format:Paperback
As a subscriber to Mental_Floss the magazine, I naturally rushed out and purchased Mental_Floss Condensed Knowledge edited by Will Pearson, Mangesh Hattikudur, and Elizabeth Hunt.
The irreverant, witty, and trivia filled style featured in the magazine translated well into a book format. The book is nicely divided into different areas of interest with amusing side bars that include Myths & Misconceptions, Timelines, Strange but True, Fake Your Way Through a Conversation, Alphabet Soup, and What's the Difference?
As a child of the '50's, I immediately turned to the Pop Culture section and was rewarded. I acquired the knowledge to have an intellegent conversation with a Trekkie. I can now explain the key differences between hip-hop and rap (something I've been wanting to do for some time). And, most notably, I now know what Steve Miller was singing, and no it isn't "prophetus of love," it's some other equally strange made up word.
Thanks to a sub-section called "Tricky Lyrics You'll Never Get Wrong Again," I got an old rock song out of my head and enjoyed the first full night's sleep I've had in a long time.
Thank you writers and editors of Mental_Floss for a truly entertaining collection that will provide interesting information for water cooler conversations for months to come.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledge Seekers Beware
Sumptuously sassy and chock-full of learning, this new book from the makers of Mental Floss the magazine comes at you in full force, in the same cleverly spun style that IS Mental... Read more
Published on June 20 2004 by Jon
5.0 out of 5 stars mental_floss Presents Condensed Knowledge
What a treat... a whole book of mental_floss fun! I have been a fan of the floss crew from the beginning and couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by Barbara Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Treat!
Each chapter of this clever collection of fascinating facts from an impressive group of contributors is as interesting and as much fun as the one before. Read more
Published on May 26 2004 by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This book lives up to its title. It is condensed with amazing facts and trivia presented in a clean and humorous manor. Can't put it down! I actually do feel smarter.
Published on May 25 2004 by dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning everything I should know w/ this witty/quirky book
mental_floss is one of those ideas we all wish we'd come up with. It just makes sense. We all want to learn a little of everything but are so darn busy and don't exactly have the... Read more
Published on May 23 2004 by david
5.0 out of 5 stars Making reading fun again!
Here is another example of how Mental_floss creators have succeeded in making learning, reading, and sharing fun all over again! Read more
Published on May 22 2004 by Juli
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read!
I read in the magazine that Mental Floss had a book but had honestly forgotten about it until I saw it at a bookstore late last week. Read more
Published on May 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars condensed knowledge
As a regular reader of Mental Floss I naturally couldn't live without checking out the book, Condensed Knowledge, to see what was missing from my library. Read more
Published on April 28 2004 by Ralph Davila
5.0 out of 5 stars great read!
This is one of the best books I've bought in the last few years. I usually like novels, but I just couldn't put CK down. Read more
Published on April 28 2004 by big fan of the floss
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