Mental Floss: Scatterbrained Paperback – Jul 3 2006
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“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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Scatterbrained approach to trivia is very readable, like a talkative dinner guest who goes on endless factual tangents. It's amusing and fun, and offers you plenty of chances to bail out when you've had enough (for example, when you've completed your business in the, uh, bathroom). This would also make a nice (albeit small) coffee-table book, as it's the sort of thing your guests can leaf through and call out interesting, often bizarre anecdotes.
Nerdy note: this book was co-edited by noted Young Adult author John Green. Fans of "Looking for Alaska" will appreciate "Fond Farewells: The Best and Worst of Famous People's Last Words" on page 125, and fans of "An Abundance of Katherines" will enjoy "Math Nerds Gone Wild (And by Wild, We Mean Nuts)" on page 132.
"Scatterbrained" is another slim volume from the editors of Mental Floss Magazine, a bimonthly launched in 2001 and targeted to aspiring Trivial Pursuit masters. This one takes nine isolated threads of facts to show how you could possibly make sense of the world. Granted, the connections can be rather tenuous, sometimes like an unending broken record on the turntable, but they are fun simply to track just to see where the lines of thought will go. It's a bit like playing a more expansive version of the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game except anything, no matter how trivial, is up for grabs.
A prototypical example is Chapter 4, "Humpty Dumpty to Having a Great Fall to Getting Put Back Together Again" You see the links between the fairy tale character, hunger strikes, celebrity trials, disasters that occur in autumn, diamonds, pseudonyms, the periodic table, trivia about the Web, the history of tattoos, and historic reunions. It's definitely a meandering journey for a less receptive mind but one that makes sense for any world-class trivia expert who can connect anything with anything. And for them, it's quite a fun read.