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The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge: A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind [Hardcover]

The New York Times
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 25, 2011 0312643020 978-0312643027 Third Edition


A comprehensive guide offering insight and clarity on a broad range of even more essential subjects.

Whether you are researching the history of Western art, investigating an obscure medical test, following current environmental trends, studying Shakespeare, brushing up on your crossword and Sudoku skills, or simply looking for a deeper understanding of the world, this book is for you. An indispensable resource for every home, office, dorm room, and library, this new edition of The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge offers in-depth explorations of art, astronomy, biology, business, economics, the environment, film, geography, history, the Internet, literature, mathematics, music, mythology, philosophy, photography, sports, theater, film, and many other subjects.

This one volume is designed to offer more information than any other book on the most important subjects, as well as provide easy-to-access data critical to everyday life. It is the only universal reference book to include authoritative and engaging essays from New York Times experts in almost every field of endeavor.

The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge provides information with matchless accuracy and exceptional clarity. This new revised and expanded third edition covers major categories with an emphasis on depth and historical context, providing easy access to data vital for everyday living.
Covering nearly 50 major categories, and providing an immediate grasp of complex topics with charts, sidebars, and maps, the third edition features 50 pages of new material, including new sections on

* Atheism                                            * Digital Media

* Inventions and Discoveries              * Endangered Species

* Inflation                                           * Musical Theater

* Book Publishing                               *Wikileaks

*The Financial Crisis                           *Nuclear Weapons

*Energy                                               *The Global Food Supply

Every section has been thoroughly updated, making this third edition more useful and comprehensive than ever. It informs, educates, answers, illustrates and clarifies---it’s the only one-volume reference book you need.




Frequently Bought Together

The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge: A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind + The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything, Second Edition: The Essential Companion for Everyday Life + The New York Times Presents Smarter by Sunday: 52 Weekends of Essential Knowledge for the Curious Mind
Price for all three: $67.10

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews


"This widely expanded update to the original 2004 edition defines nearly every facet of contemporary life—from arts, grammar, mythology and culture to science, economics, and geopolitical issues. Though bearing an authority and informational wealth that might rival the voluminous Oxford Dictionary of English, this surprisingly manageable volume is organized alphabetically by subject and contains thousands of highly accessible essays, tables, and lists, all composed by New York Times field experts.An essential background referenec for almost every subject: highly recommended for all public libraries."—Library Journal
"I wish I'd had this book 25 years ago. It is certain to become an indispensable tool for fact fanatics."—Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything

"In short, this is the largest, most up-to-date and affordable one volume desk reference available today and is an absolute must for every home, dorm room and library."—Tucson Citizen

About the Author

The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. Founded in 1851, the newspaper has won 95 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1376 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Third Edition edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312643020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312643027
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 8 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic overview August 12, 2012
By Michael
It seems like a lot of reviewers here haven't gotten the point. This book is:

- NOT a reference to look things up in (that's what Google and Wikipedia are for)
- NOT a completely comprehensive guide to subject X (it's already 1300+ pages, how much more do you want?!)
- NOT 100% perfect in every single detail, number, spelling, list inclusion, etc.
- NOT perfectly balanced in how many inches are given to one type of literature vs another, etc.

So if you're looking for any of those, this is NOT the book.

What the book IS (besides being really heavy), is a fantastic overview of human knowledge in general, to read gradually from cover to cover (or at random) over a year or two. In a lot of senses, it's what high school and college should have taught us all, but never did. If you're a person curious about the world, this book is a great starting point to see what kind of knowledge you've missed in your life up until now. And then, whatever you're more curious about, you can buy more books on that.

I personally have started reading a section every morning at breakfast. A friend of mine listens to a TED Talk every morning on the way to work. I think they're comparable experiences, and both great, intellectually stimulating ways to start the day.

Some people have read the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z. You can read this in a lot less time, and probably walk away remembering almost the same amount of material.

Nitpick: why doesn't it come with one of those long, thin, red fabric bookmarks sewn into the binding? If any book ever needed one, this one does.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not useful because not indexed May 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I bought the Kindle edition, and discovered too late that it is not indexed. This means that it is not searchable at all. You can select broad topic/chapter headings ("modern art") but cannot get any closer to a specific subject without reading the entire article. As a quick reference, this makes it almost useless. Very disappointing.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars EDIT ME November 9, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is pretty good but man, I've been reading parts of it for the past week and have found dozens of typographical errors. I understand it's a long book, but that's not really an excuse. It's frustrating to think that the editors of this apparently do not know how to spell the word "siege" correctly, among other things.

At $24, this book is a good deal. It covers a ton of ground but doesn't go into much detail. If you really want to know about, say, the French Revolution, you're going to have to do some deeper digging. But at 1400 pages it covers more than most people would ever care to delve into and can give you a general base of knowledge for a lot of things.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs improved searchability April 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this title (KIndle version) thinking it would be along the lines of the classic Columbia Desk Encyclopedia. It consists rather of a series of fairly lengthy essays on a variety of broad topics pretty much covering the gamut of human knowledge in of course a very general way. The essays seem well researched in most cases and will provide a reliable introduction to fields a reader is not familiar with. The lack of a fast, indexed searched to specific topics or keywords, however, limits its usefulness as a quick reference source. Searching for keywords seems to be brute force as my Kindle Fire plows through the entire text, which can take an unduly long time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curious George would love it! November 16, 2012
I am naturally curious about things... most everything. As an author I need to know and understand about many different things, sometimes even things i didn't know existed. This is one of my 'go to' books when I need to understand something better, have written myself into a corner, or even when i just want to know something my friends don't know. A must for every desk. Read it through, or just as needed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I Persisted December 15, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I almost didn’t buy this book because someone complained that its contents are not indexed and can’t be used for quick lookup. Actually Kindle’s search engine instantly finds what you want, along with interesting correlations and cross-references that you might not have expected. Discussions are clear, concise, reasonably detailed. Access is faster and easier than with a Kindle web search (which can be a second step when more depth is needed). I think this is good value for money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Knowledge April 27, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge for my husband for Christmas; he is interested in everything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should we wait for 4th edition? April 22, 2014
Now it's 2014 and the 3rd edition is two years ago. Wondering if I should wait some more months for the 4th or if it's coming at all? I am thinking about buying the 3rd edition now. I enjoy reading the book I have read many sections already and want to possess one at home. Any answers please? Thanks
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
Everyone should have this. It is beyond a simple "coffee table" book. It addresses just about any and all topic, event (historical or current) in our world. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Jane
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and GREAT books to have in PAPER version
This is without a doubt one of the most wonderful books I have come across. It is simply the adult's replacement of the kitchen table Donald Duck album by Carl Barks with food... Read more
Published 3 months ago by M
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
The book I thought I ordered is not the book I received in the mail. There wasn't an apple on the cover like advertised and the book is really boring. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Zohal Hatefi
5.0 out of 5 stars everyone should have this
Fills in the spaces.
Lots of imfo. Can find out lots of things you missed in school. Good reading as wrll
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Its so interesting Im reading it not referencing it
I started to read this book and found it so interesting and informative that I decided to just start reading at the beginning and go to the end. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Stewart Paulson
4.0 out of 5 stars this is not a door stop
it has satisfied most all of my needs. i would recommend this to most households even those that have computers
Published 5 months ago by SEYMOUR BAYEWITCH
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive info
Everything you ever wanted to know about everything but were afraid to ask or didn't know how to ask. Book is quite heavy but worth the lift.
Published 6 months ago by Ben Decker
4.0 out of 5 stars Handy book
This is very handy to have for a quick look-up to refresh your memory. It does not cover everything, but what can besides the internet.
Published 9 months ago by Michael G. Hoehne
3.0 out of 5 stars gift
This was a gift. It was well received. However I can't really rate it since I haven't read it carefully. Please remove this item from any further communications. Thank you.
Published 10 months ago by elaine trott
5.0 out of 5 stars A College Education for $15?
Of course not. But the breadth and depth of this book are amazing. I've been meaning to review for some time but just don't think I can do it justice in a short review. Read more
Published 10 months ago by JZS
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