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Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids Hardcover – December 4, 2012


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Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids + Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac: 8,888 Questions in 365 Days + Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (December 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451656254
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451656251
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Because I Said So! is the MythBusters of old wives' tales. But beware: it could be a dangerous book if it falls into the wrong hands; namely your kids'. All of us can look back on the cautionary admonitions our parents and grandparents used to shout at us when we were in the middle of fun, and now our suspicions that they were hokum are verified! But we have to keep this to ourselves. If our kids get a hold of this book, we'll have nothing left to kill their joy with. So buy this book, read it, and then hide it away!" (Ken Denmead, New York Times bestselling author of Geek Dad)

“A fun, lighthearted compendium of conventional wisdom, mostly parental, which debunks plenty of old wives’ tales and urban myths while offering a few surprising truths…. ‘Occasionally Mom knew what she was talking about,’ as this clever book confirms, but often she did not.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"With his trademark with and genius. . . . Jennings imparts wisdom and good sense in this highly entertaining and oddly educational book." (Publishers Weekly)

"Sets aside esoterica in favor of the received wisdom of American parenting. . . . Jennings maintains his humor and warmth, keeping everything on the level of friendly, well-researched advice from the dad down the street who, by the by, would totally own your ass on trivia night at the neighborhood pub. Because I Said So! is breezy and illuminating, a mix that would be more volatile in less capable hands." (The A.V. Club)

“Because I Said So! is a treasure trove of quality information, debunkery, and thoughtful common sense, as Jennings makes like the MythBusters and puts these classic cliches to the test. Informative, enthusiastic, and very very funny, Because I Said So! deftly mixes an occasional personal anecdote with plenty of verifiable scientific data to confirm or discredit numerous childhood warnings. (He’s even fair enough to rank the level of truth inherent in each particular warning.)” (San Francisco Book Review)

"Highly engaging...if this book keeps one kid from having to wait an hour between eating and swimming, it will have done its job." (Boston Globe)

"An entertaining trivia night could be based on “Because I Said So,” by Jeopardy! champ, Ken Jennings. Pick it up for a laugh and a conversation starter, or put a copy in your guest bath to replace that dog-eared issue of National Geographic. . . .Clever and comical." (The Missourian)

About the Author

Ken Jennings broke game show records in 2004 with his unprecedented seventy-four game, $2.52 million victory streak on Jeopardy!. Jennings’s book Brainiac, about his Jeopardy! adventures, was a critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, as was his follow-up, Maphead. He is also the author of Ken Jennings’s Trivia Almanac. Jennings lives in Washington with his wife Mindy, his son Dylan and daughter Caitlin, and a deeply unstable Labrador retriever named Banjo.

Customer Reviews

It is a great book to read on the road.
Cullen Daniels
I'm reading this book I'm remembering all the myths and misinformation I was told as a child, and now I find myself still telling MY kids.
A. Zards
Entertaining, interesting, and a fun read throughout.
Geraldine Ahearn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine Ahearn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Bestselling author and well-known for success on the game show Jeopardy, Ken Jennings chronicles a fun-filled presentation on parental wisdom in relation to the old wives' tales passed down from generation-to-generation. A book of old memories for thousands of parents who could relate, and the children who could not forget. Although some statements are hilarious, others were thought-provoking,such as 'Don't talk to strangers!' The author investigates reasons why hundreds of statements were used in different situations and may have worked with good results for our children, but concludes in investigation that many were in fact not true. An old one that we all heard of for years was 'Starve a fever-feed a cold!' As I find myself soaked in guilt along with millions of other parents, I must totally agree with Ken Jennings on scientific findings through experiments, facts, and results. I remember a statement that was extremely funny, but worked at the time. 'If you do that in the pool, then the water will turn purple!'. As several myths began to spread like wildfire across the map of generations, the more funny they sounded, but also more children began to question their own curiosity, and the author put the experimental results to the ultimate test. This is a fun trip down memory lane for parents and children as the reader will chuckle on the entire journey. Entertaining, interesting, and a fun read throughout. Highly recommended!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A. Zards on December 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A fun and easy read down memory lane for a parent.

I'm reading this book I'm remembering all the myths and misinformation I was told as a child, and now I find myself still telling MY kids. The author covers the myths, and explains them with some fact finding measures, and rates how true or false they are. You'll have some laughs and at least in my case, take a fun trip down memory lane and recall on how funny it must of been believing some of this schoolyard folklore.

And will I still be telling my kids some of these myths after the explanations? Absolutely! :)
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Travis Hill on December 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Because I Said So!" was a good time. I don't have kids, but I was certainly told many of these myths when I was younger!

After a read through, it is obvious the author put a lot of time and effort into compiling a wide variety of studies and used quality sources. He has done a great job in arriving at clear cut answers whenever possible, and explaining where things are still murky or unknown. I laughed- and groaned happily- through the jokes. The selection of these generational tales and the author's entertaining voice really make this a unique book in the 'mythbusting' genre.

Highly recommended for yourself- and as a reasonably priced gift for that person in your life who is otherwise hard to shop for. I think just about anyone who sits down to read this book will find the time well spent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Guest Hollow on February 28, 2013
Format: MP3 CD Verified Purchase
We all grew up with a plethora of "wive's tales" that just seem to get passed on from generation to generation. You know the adages like: "Don't run with a sucker in your mouth", "Check your Halloween candy for needles & poison", "Feed a cold, starve a fever". How many of these sayings are based on truth and how many of them are totally (or partially) fiction? Ken Jennings takes a number of these well known sayings and picks them apart - examining each one for every grain of truth AND just plain old baloney. At the end of each segment you know just where the saying came from and what parts are true or not true based on science, observation, experiments, etc. and all the while you'll be highly entertained by Ken's lighthearted and humorous style of writing.

The book is separated into several sections as you can see from the book preview. It covers a great deal of territory: everything from health related adages to sayings that have to do with the seasons, eating, school related things, grooming, warnings...if you've heard it, it's probably in this book. ;-)
I swear I heard almost every single saying growing up and have said more than a few to my own kids, LOL. There were some definite "aha!" moments as I realized that some of the things I thought I knew, I didn't really and vise versa.

My teen son also read this book and LOVED it. He kept coming over to share new things he learned. One word of warning to parents though, there are a few concepts you might not want your younger children reading about like the section entitled, "If you keep touching it, you'll get hairy palms and go blind!" Nothing like having your teen strike up a conversation about THAT.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Dearman on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I watched Ken Jennings on Jeopardy and knew that he knew lots of things. So, I was excited to get this book. He explained a lot of those things my parents told me and I in turn passed on. Unfortunately, the gems I passed on weren't necessarily correct.
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By Irishgal on February 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I don't like non-fiction as a rule. I like stories, and this is often found in the realm of fiction. However, my one weakness is trivia. Whether they're silly online games or "Jeopardy!", I'm a sucker for a trivia question. A trivia book written by the record-breaking "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings? Yes, please.

"Because I Said So!" is a collection of old wives' tales, myths, and basically the stuff your mom told you when you were a kid to get you to stop (or start) doing something. The book is divided into different sections that deal with similar issues, such as childhood, eating/drinking, teen years, etc. In each short entry, Jennings shares the pearl of wisdom often passed down from one generation to the next and then proceeds to tell you why it is - or isn't - true. Some of the gems are partially true, and in that case, his sliding scale from false to true is set somewhere in the middle. Along the way, he shares humorous anecdotes from his childhood, his own parenting, and bizarre incidents that deal with the advice given.

This is not a serious book. But not everything needs to be. It's fun, informative, and makes me want to dive into his other books with gusto.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Ken Jennings was an anonymous Salt Lake City software engineer in 2004 when he became a nerd folk icon almost overnight via his record-breaking six-month streak on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! In his 75 appearances on the show, Ken won 74 games and $2.52 million, both American game show records. Barbara Walters named him one of the ten most fascinating people of the year. The Christian Science Monitor called him "the king of Trivia Nation" and Slate magazine dubbed him "the Michael Jordan of trivia, the Seabiscuit of geekdom." ESPN: The Magazine called him "smarmy (and) punchable," with "the personality of a hall monitor," thus continuing America's long national struggle between jocks and nerds.

Since his Jeopardy! streak ended, Ken has become a best-selling author. His books include Brainiac, about the phenomenon of trivia in American culture, Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac, the biggest American trivia book ever assembled, and Maphead, about his lifelong love of geography. His latest book is Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down Its Kids.

Ken currently lives outside Seattle, Washington, with his wife Mindy, his son Dylan and daughter Caitlin, and a deeply unstable Labrador retriever named Banjo. For more information, visit www.ken-jennings.com.

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Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids
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