Saturday, February 05, 2011

"Don't know much about history/Don't know much biology/Don't know much about a science book/Don't know much about the French I took"

Today's entry is a guest post from Dan Smith, author of Think You Know it All? The Ultimate Interactive Quiz Book, which the folks at Penguin were kind enough to send me. Everyone knows I'm a sucker for this stuff. And no, I didn't know everything in this book.

The Song: "Wonderful World," Sam Cooke

For lots of people growing up, the accumulation of knowledge is something they are forced into at school and not something they ever consider a pleasure. For others, though, knowledge for its own sake is a complete obsession. I suspect I fall into that second category.

I don’t remember a time when trivia hasn’t fascinated me. When I was little I would read books of facts from cover to cover – really nerdy books but ones that taught me a lot. I especially loved anything to do with history. And Trivial Pursuit always played a big part in my family Christmases.

So you can imagine that getting the opportunity to put together my own quiz book, Think You Know It All?, was quite a thrill. The idea behind each quiz is that it consists of one short question but which has multiple answers to tax you to the limit. So, for instance, you might be asked to name all the plays that Shakespeare wrote. Or the bones of the human body. The member states of the European Union. The cast of "Friends." The instruments in a symphony orchestra.

Ideally, the reader and their friends can put their heads together to try and get all the answers. This really is a case where several heads are better than one. Subjects range from high culture to low, science, language, history, religion, transport, sport – I have done my best to include quizzes that will appeal to pretty much anybody.

If you do manage to work your way through all of the quizzes, and assuming you have a memory the size of Alaska, then you might well be tempted to show off.

Be careful, though – it’s a thin line between looking clever and showing off. My advice is to remember that the greatest fun to be had by a true know-it-all is not by boasting or bragging (such smugness will rightfully inspire scorn) but to set your knowledge valve to slow-release and look on as those around you discover for themselves just how clever you really are!

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