Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Mental Floss Presents Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again Paperback – April 27, 2004
|New from||Used from|
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“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 freshmen at Duke University, where they parlayed their cafeteria conversations into the first issue of mental_floss. magazine They have collaborated on more than ten books together, including Condensed Knowledge, Forbidden Knowledge, and The mental_floss History of the World.
More About the AuthorsDiscover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.
Top Customer Reviews
Several reviewers have criticized some of the ways information is presented in this book for the sake of political correctness, as well as some of the opinions about works discussed. I think all the reviewers of this book make valid points. Everybody knows what AD and BC mean, there's really no reason at this point to reinvent the wheel.
The section on Art included a few prickly elements for me. I personally was annoyed by some of the superlatives used to describe many of the artists. The section on seeming like you know what you're talking about at an art exhibit is so funny, however, that it totally makes up for it. :) In all fairness, art is one of the hardest things to write about clearly since it's so personal for whoever is viewing it. Look up the artists listed so that you can see some of the pictures yourself and make up your own mind!
Those small picadillos aside, there's sooo much to enjoy here that the good far outweighs the bad. The sections are well organized, and the authors do a great job of bringing historical figures to life with great stories.
Many trivia books can be read for about an hour at a time. This is a trivia book that can be read for hours on end and still not make you feel overloaded. The bite-size bits of info are easy for anybody to swallow!
All in all, I HIGHLY recommend this book. If it were possible to give it 6 stars I would! Buy it, Read it, ENJOY IT!
I really sat on the fence on whether to give the book four or five stars. I would give it 4 1/2 if that were an option, but there were a few little thing about the book that bugged me enough to prevent a five star review (although I do give the magazine five stars.) The first (minor) error I noticed is in the chapter "Condensed General Science" under "Sexy Animal Facts", where the author states that "A goldfish has a memory span of only three seconds". I hold a degree in Biology, and can categorically say that is untrue. This is an urban legend and supposition, which has been disproved in several studies in animal behavior in which goldfish were taught to swim in elaborate mazes over the span of several days. If they only had a three second memory, they would be unable to complete the maze correctly with ever improving times day after day (which shows that learning occurs.) The television show 'Mythbusters' did a primitive version of one of these studies on one show, by the way. This isn't a big point, but is worth noting.
I object to the politically correct use of the terms of 'BC' and 'BCE' instead of 'BC' and 'AD'.Read more ›
The big disappointment is that some of the "facts" are flat-out wrong. A section on antibiotics claims, "bacteria are at the root of diseases ranging from colds to tetanus," when colds are caused by rhinoviruses and do not respond to antibiotics. Another section claims, "A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds," an urban legend which has been disproved many times over. My personal impression of the book (others will probably disagree) is that it contains a bunch of facts that the authors rattled off the tops of their heads instead of researching to any degree.
So, read the book in good fun, and if you're going to use its contents to show off how smart you are, find another source to back you up first.
I've subscribed to the magazine (mental_floss) for two years now, and it was a long wait for this book to come out. But it was well worth it. The book also offers a $5 discount on a subscription to the magazine (cheaper than the going rate) so it costs even less when you take that into consideration. While mental_floss is bimonthly, this'll help fill the time waiting for the next issue to come.
The last time I paid $15 for something as entertaining and educational as this was in Las Vegas in 1971. Shameful, I know.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lovely snippets and factoids for all occasions and or moods. I have always been a fan of all things mental floss.Published 2 months ago by andrea calihan
I'm a program director for a Memory Care Facility it was not very goodPublished 4 months ago by Ella Hansbrough
The mental floss history of the world is one of my favorite books to flip through, so I had similar expectations and was disappointed. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jon Bennett
Interesting but quality varies by chapter. Some good, some very weak. Wikipedia does a better job. Jim M.Published 18 months ago by Jim Murray
There was a lot to read but was really interesting..I think I will have to read this a couple more times before I can get full benefit.Published 20 months ago by russ hill
Mental Floss has once again outdone themselves with this awesome compact volume of the most important information one needs to know. Read morePublished on October 30, 2013 by RunnerGirl96