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Everything You Pretend to Know and Are Afraid Someone Will Ask Paperback – April 1, 1996

24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lynette Padwa is the author of Everything You Pretend to Know and Are Afraid Someone Will Ask and the coauthor of several other books. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140513221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140513226
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #895,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By J. Guild on June 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
When I picked up this little tome;I didn't really expect it to amount to much. As usual,I read the customer reviews,and was really left wondering.Quite a spread of opinions!

After reading,I have to say that I fully agree with those who gave it top marks.

I didn't count the things covered exactly;but there are about 45 or so. When you finish;you are going to feel there could easily be thousands of things and expressions we use all the time,without really knowing what they mean or how they came about.

An excellent little gem to lay around for people to pick up and wile away a little time. However;don't be suprised if,as the Irish so aptly put it; "it gets nicked"....oh,how I love that word!

If you think this little book is superficial, and just might not be one of the pinacles of greatness in the world of books;you may be right.But wait till you see the extensive Bibliography at the end of the book.If you think the subject of this book is minor ,just skimming through this Bibliography,will show you how little we really know of what we speak.

Here's a smattering of what to expect:

What is the legal definition of insanity?

Why are the Liberals to the "Left" and the Conservatives to the "Right"?

What is the difference between a Republic and a Democracy?

How do microwaves work?

What makes food Kosher?

How do subiminal messages work?

Did The Three Musketeers actually exist?

What pasta names go with whatpasta shapes?

If you know the answers to all these questions,you might find this book dull;but if you want to know some of what you're talking about;now's your chance!
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79 of 92 people found the following review helpful By jumpy1 on January 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book has a charming cover and wonderful printing. It makes a nice gift for young people (they'll probably keep it in the bathroom?). Ms. Padwa's writing style is engaging. In the introduction she says that although this book is not thorough, it "has the facts you need to hold your head high" -- that said, I was disappointed to read a few misguided "facts" within the book. Perhaps this is because she admitted to poring over books and articles but did not mention any conversations with actual people. And, with the number of contradictory books and articles on every subject, this method would have to produce somewhat flawed results. The flaws are annoying but forgivable, and since she writes as if she is having a pleasant conversation, I still open the book to random pages and read a bit from time to time.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Schlather on March 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
An interesting read but it really needs to be revised as it was published in 1996; a significant amount of things have obviously occurred since then and they would greatly alter many of the passages.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. E. Masser on April 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very entertaining, but after I received it I was disappointed to find that it is actually 12 years old. If you aren't old enough to have a good handle on 1996 and what was happening then and what didn't exist yet, you will have trouble with a lot of the things in this book. Things about computer and other technology are often not relevant, as you may expect.However, there are many other things you will appreciate, such as finally learning the difference between a magnate, a mogul and a czar. I would recommend the book to people who were not in elementary school or earlier during the 90s and were alert enough to remember the cultural and business environment at that time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dan on January 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like fun books like this but this specific title was a pain to read and most of the topics discussed were way to broad to cover in such a small amount of space. There is no way you can read a section on "The Enlightenment," or "The Monroe Doctrine" and really hold a conversation about it. For example, imagine this; you are not a doctor and a doctor explains a certain disease to you. You might memorize what he is saying to you but you could never explain that concept to another doctor because you don't know everything about this disease and how it affects your body. That's kinda like what you get in this book. You get facts that are not in context.

Books like this are great for quick facts only. I found Section 2, 3, and 4 to be a hard read because the subject matter was to broad to get the big picture. Chapter 9 on computers is outdated. The only parts I liked were a few topics discussed in section 1 and 8.

I also want to add that I found some of the topics discussed here to be things that "I don't even care about." The book is titled "Things you pretend to know..." How many of you pretend to know about "Flotsam and Jetsam" or what "Ipso Facto" means? I didn't really understand the target audience for this book. If you are trying to rub elbows with the intellectual, you will be fooling nobody with this book.

I was disappointed with this title and I do not recommend it. You will not become smarter just by reading this. I promise you that you will read the section on the middle ages and you won't remember it in 10 minutes. There were only a few facts in here that were interesting and they are not worth the price or the real estate on my bookshelf.

I give it two stars for effort.
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