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Let's Be Less Stupid: An Attempt to Maintain My Mental Faculties Hardcover – July 14, 2015

2.9 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Patty Marx's unending wit, comedy, insight, and panic are here on display in her new, exciting, book."―Steve Martin

"Much the way the movie 'Inside Out' does with its 11-year-old protagonist, Ms. Marx takes us on a guided tour of the inner workings of her head... you can dip in and out, the way you might take an occasional swig of whiskey (or whatever works) as a pick-me-up...Ms. Marx might not be everyone's cup of tea. But she is mine."―New York Times

"This book is hilarious. In gleefully mocking her own feeble brain, Patty Marx reveals herself to be downright brilliant. Predictably, her humor is packed with merriment, fizzy wit and belly laughs, but here's the surprise: she brings truckloads of knowledge to her complex subject and even the occasional flash of wisdom."―John Lithgow

"[A] lighthearted and insightful romp."―The Wall Street Journal

"Patty Marx has plenty of advice to help you keep your mind young- while acknowledging how hopeless the dream of maintaining a young brain really is. So, don't think about it; let your mind go blank; look at the pictures, and laugh out loud."―Bill Nye

"[Marx is] as sharp as ever."―O Magazine

"Employing candor and wit...Marx has written a hilarious and comforting book on maintaining mental acumen at any age."―Publishers Weekly

"Patty Marx's new book on the mind and its slippages is one more welcome Marxian performance: fascinating truths, offered with wit, and wonderful wit, with truth inside it."―Adam Gopnik

"Does laughing out loud make you smarter? Scientists need to study the brains of people right after they've read anything by Patricia Marx." Andy Borowitz

"Patty Marx is one of the funniest, smartest people I know. I am pretty sure I have gotten smarter, or at least less stupid, since reading this book. You will too!"―Roz Chast

"In this juggernaut trek through various scientific labyrinths, Ms. Marx proves that it takes a huge and powerful brain to find out how stupid you are. Of course, she fails -- in fact seems to lose interest in that dismal quest about halfway through -- but so what; her purpose is to squeeze laughs out of anything and everything she does, or finds out, or screws up. What a brain, and

thus what a book."―Bruce McCall

"I've long had a nagging suspicion that I'm getting stupider by the day. But not until giving myself over to the program put forth in this book--call it "Patty Marx's Bootcamp for the Brain"TM--did I fully grasp the extent of my cognitive decline. I can't remember most of what's in it, but I can say that it's the feel-good read of the season. Especially for people who don't know what season it is." Meghan Daum

"If you had a conversation with your funniest, smartest friend about your secret fear of losing your mind, this is what it would sound like. Marx's book is hilarious, engaging, and jammed with wonderfully oddball science, delivered with her inimitable wit. A must-read for anyone who has a brain."―Susan Orlean

"Both heart and brains...Since one of the meditation techniques mentioned [in LET'S BE LESS STUPID] is laughter, merely reading this book could help your hippocampus feel the burn. Start with Marx's suggestions, then plot your personal brain boot camp since sadly, liposuction is not an option for shaping up an aging brain."―BookPage

"A short and giddy book ...both the author and her humor are sharper than they initially let on."―Boston Globe

"Smarten up with Marx's quizzes, brainteasers, anecdotes, and self-help guides while giving your funny bone a witty workout."―Elle

"Frothy, funny, and abounding in quizzes, exercises, and questionnaires...A sly, irreverent take on the latest obsessions regarding self-improvement."―Kirkus

"Equal parts sarcasm, silliness and smarts...Throughout, 'Middle-Age Mad Libs' mock brainteasers and ludicrous quizzes are filled with sharp sendups of our cultural obsessions... anyone clever enough to write Let's Be Less Stupid is clearly still firing on all cylinders."―NPR Books

"A smart, often laugh-out-loud exploration of the human brain...hilariously sophisticated, often literally mind-boggling."―Shelf Awareness

"It doesn't sound amusing, but it is."―The Toronto Star

"This 'sub-primer' on the neuroscience of intelligence and memory by New Yorker staff writer and master humorist Patricia Marx delivers salutary cognitive jolts amid the general hilarity... If you regularly arrive in rooms with no memory of what you were looking for, this one is for you."―Nature

"Patricia Marx is my favorite kind of humorist. A funny one."―Omnivoracious

"Will amuse, astonish and aggravate you, but it's also great fun...Worry not. You'll quickly get with it and by the end, be much smarter."―Acadiana Lifestyle

About the Author



Patricia Marx is a writer for The New Yorker, former writer for Saturday Night Live, and the first woman elected to the Harvard Lampoon. Her books include the novel Him Her Him Again The End of Him, the children's book Now Everybody Really Hates Me, and the humor book How To Regain Your Virginity. After writing this book, Patty Marx got so smart she changed her name to Patricia Marx.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve (July 14, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455554952
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455554959
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very funny, poignant, and with purpose. Ms. Marx's impressive humorous candor and sincere interest in learning/conveying newer neuroscientific concepts in aging and brain plasticity delight and greatly amuse. Using herself as the 'test case' for various interactive and non-interactive brain-salves is a clever, humorous and sometimes touching device. Conveying this terrifying subject with literate light-heartedness helps us laugh a bit at ourselves, and normalizes the universal fear of aging and cognitive decline. As an aging physician, I find this book fabulously fun. Literate infotainment of the highest order.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read an excerpt from this book in The New Yorker a year or two ago and enjoyed reading the complete book very much. This book is more about the "Strengthen your Mind and Avoid Alzheimer's" industry as well as the intelligence measuring industry than it is about dementia, so please, all of you nay sayers above who didn't actually read the book, stop wringing your hands.She's very funny and self-deprecating. Yes, the book is supposed to be humorous!

I would recommend that readers NOT read it on a Kindle! There are lots of drawings that are very amusing, except that they're almost impossible to see clearly in the Kindle version. (Unless you have perfect vision or better bifocals that I have!) Also, this is the kind of book where you will want to flip back to an earlier part of the chapter to review it or to compare it to what you've just read, which is very difficult to do on a Kindle.

Otherwise, great read. I finished it in one day.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This short book touches on some memory issues, and one’s general ability to learn or understand stuff (I.Q.), in a soft and light mirth style; although she often includes some contemporary, if not avant-garde, neuroscientific theories and discoveries (briskly), most of the book deals with her forgetful mind and ever-present need to know her intelligence quotient. There are plenty of quizzes and puzzles designed to test a person’s mental status, for those who desire to engage in such things, with some humor attached, although not much; one funny passage occurring late in the book is, “Overall, I spent so much time trying to improve my brain, that I had no time left to use it”. Such funny lines, however, are few and far between in this book. Of course, the author does not attempt to provide meaningful scientific evidence regarding forgetting and memory, and she doesn’t. The book, to me, reads like one of those Reader’s Digest blurbs of the past-- fluffy anecdotes that are just long enough to get you through the wait in the doctor’s office, but forgotten shortly thereafter.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I always get a sample of a book on my Kindle to try a book out before purchasing. When I read the sample I felt like it was funny, clever, and we'll written. Unfortunately, the book went downhill from there and became a series of list which I found to be silly and boring at the same time. I still haven't finished it and may never.
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Seems like Marx couldn't decide what this book was going to be - using her own experience to illuminate a common problem? Making fun of the boomer decline? Comic illustration? Felt disjointed, and didn't fully hit on any of those objectives as a result
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Funny, but at times a little tedious. I enjoyed reading it. Then when I finished it. I looked all around my room for my glasses and then decided I would go to our dining room to find them as I was walking over I reached up to push them on my nose bridge, and then realized I was wearing them. First stage of dementia.
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Unlike some reviews I find this book hysterically funny, affirmative, and even informative. I have an interest in how the brain functions, etc., have taken classes regarding the subject, and read multiple books so I can confirm that Patricia Marx has done her homework and then takes it a step further with humor. Of course, maybe I like the book even more because of my age and stage of life I am in. As I read this book I kept thinking, "It's not just ME! There are people out there just like me and they even write books about it." I loved Nora Ephron's book "I Remember Nothing" and I love "Let's Be Less Stupid" book as much or even more. I hope Marx continues to entertain us with another future book.
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By Pam Orren on September 6, 2015
Format: Hardcover
Sorry, but just not for me. I found it hard to read and couldn't figure out why Patty Marx bothered writing this book. I read a lot and rarely don't finish a book but I didn't want to waste more time.
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