Thursday, January 17, 2013

Read This: Because I Said So!

Because I Said So!
by Ken Jennings

The Short Story
Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy! fame) takes to science to review 200+ common folk sayings. Everything from "don't give chocolate to a dog" to "this will go down on your permanent record." It's informative, and funny, and occasionally gross. But really interesting and a great read.

Come for the....
good non-fiction! I'm not much of a non-fiction reader because I tend to feel like most books come in either the memoir variety, or the info-dump text book style. But, this book is neither. It has a lot of information, but it's told in such a readable way. Basically it's really, really funny. And it has a layout that lends itself to being read a few minutes at a time. There are different sections with 10 or so bits of folk wisdom. For each saying ("Don't run with scissors!" "Drink sprite for an upset stomach") there's a funny look at the relevant research. And then there's a little truth meter at the end, in case you're more of a cut-to-the-chase reader.

It's an especially fun read because most of the sayings are things I'd heard of. And I believed a ridiculous amount of things that have no actual basis in science or research. Like, that we lose 10% of body heat through our heads. (nope) Or that it's ok to feed ducks bread. (that's actually really bad). Or that you need to check your kids' Halloween candy for tampering. (also no, which is good because I worried that I didn't know how to do that this past Halloween).

Don't Think About This Too Hard 
  • There are a couple of times where the humor goes toward the potty, or is just a bit crude.

The Big Three:
Language: regular "Bible swears" and a few others
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: not an issue


  1. I'm not much of a non-fiction reader either, but I love these kinds of books.! I always end up finding out so much cool stuff!

    1. I feel the same way. But I learned a lot. And then forgot a bunch of it. :)
      But I do still remember a few things, so I'm happy I read it.

  2. Well this one sounds highly amusing. I'm always wondering about stuff like that.

    1. There's a big range of things he debunks in the book, so I never felt like it got boring. Definitely an amusing read. :)