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An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't Hardcover – Apr 25 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 3rd ed. edition (April 25 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345468902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345468901
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 4.4 x 16.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Praise for An Incomplete Education

–The New York Times

“IT IS PRECISELY THE BOOK THAT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED WITHOUT KNOWING THAT I ALWAYS WANTED IT. . . . It’s for people who have huge gaps in their knowledge of specific areas of culture and intellectual history. . . . Cheerfully, subversively anti-academic.”
–Jon Carrol, San Francisco Chronicle

“MEMORIZE THIS BOOK AND YOU CAN DROP NAMES, ALLUSIONS, AND ARCANE TERMS WITH THE BEST OF THEM, whether you (or they) know what they’re talking about. . . . The book will rekindle warm memories of your favorite courses, favorite professors, favorite books, favorite theories, favorite philosophical paradoxes.”
–Chicago Tribune

“RUSH TO YOUR NEAREST BOOKSTORE AND BUY An Incomplete Education. . . . [It] brings you 10,000 years of information. Imagine the power of knowing where Watteau went when the lights went out!”
–New York Daily News

“ARTICULATE AND IRREVERENT, crammed with facts, figures, drawings, definitions, and historic information sufficient to fill your every gap. . . . Judy Jones and William Wilson . . . tell you everything you should’ve learned but didn’t.

–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About the Author

Judy Jones is a freelance writer who lives in Princeton, New Jersey. William Wilson was also a freelance writer. Wilson went to Yale and Jones to Smith, but both have maintained that they got their real educations in the process of writing this book. William Wilson died in 1999.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I admit I came across this book while googling "gifts for guys" - so I won't complain that it's written for a 25 year old male audience - I will just point it out. Hard to believe a woman is the main author of this book - maybe she got her teenage son to jazz it up after she was finished. E.g. after defining several german words commonly used in English, the book says "the German's blew their wad on the nouns, so there are only a few adjectives..." That kind of thing is peppered throughout.
What I will complain about though is that I can't trust the facts . Being Canadian, I flipped with interest to the section on Canadian politics. It says we have a party called the Progressive Democrats, also referred to as Red Tories. (for non-Canadians reading this: this is not accurate, the party was (the book is a few years old) called the Progressive Conservatives, and red tories are members of this centre-right party who lean more towards the left. Small detail but if they couldn't fact check Canada - when we speak the same language and live right next door - then how can I believe the facts in the section on Cambodia?
If there was a more credible book that does the same thing as this one I would buy it instead, but I don't know that such a book exists. This one is fun to read if you can get past the guy talk.
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Format: Hardcover
Did you ever wonder if an earl ranks higher than a baron or what that quote at the beginning of the chapter meant or where it came from? The answers are here. One can drift around in this book full of information only touched on while reading the required books in school or sail in search of specific topics for which there was not time before the shipwreck. Of course, those who are completely educated could just thumb through and congratulate themselves while wondering who in the world wouldn't know THAT. Either way, the time spent waiting for rescue from the island would seem much shorter with this book in hand. In fact, I may just want to stay right there in my hammock and find out what all those musical terms mean or become acquainted with the twelve literary characters essential to making charming chitchat.
Just think how learned I shall appear when I get home. I only hope my glasses arrived on the island with me and this book!
Janie Dillon(
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Format: Hardcover
Everything you ever wanted to know, or needed to know but didn't even know it, is probably in this book.

Think of this book as an abridged encyclopedia. Judy Jones and William Wilson have compiled more information than you could imagine in one easy-to-read, even fun-to-read, volume. Clearly organized, well written, respectful, and intelligent, this book will make you an instant experton topics you hadn't even thought of.

Read from start to end, or just pick a page at random, you'll be entertained, informed, and educated. Art, History, Politics, Religion, Sciences, Music, Philosophy, Architecture, Lierature, and Psychology. Even a crash couse on the do's and don'ts of writing English. You name it, it's in here somewhere.

My only complaint, it's time for an update. Or a Volume 2. This one's a must have
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