Mental Floss: Genius Instruction Manual by P-HarpercollinsPubl

VIEWS: 35 PAGES: 6

Remember that time you bumped into Stephen Hawking at the clambake and his monologue on string theory went completely over your head? Man, was that awkward. Or remember the time you were at a party and someone asked, "Who knows how to perform open-heart surgery?" and you were the only one who didn't raise your hand? Well, put all of that embarrassment behind you. Want to dazzle crowds with your wondrous knowledge of Shakespeare and surgeries? Want to learn to woo just like history's greatest minds? Well, start reading already! The Genius Instruction Manual is a foolproof finishing school for polishing your brain. All you've got to do is dive in.

More Info
									Mental Floss: Genius Instruction Manual
Mental Floss

Author: Editors of Mental Floss
Description

Remember that time you bumped into Stephen Hawking at the clambake and his monologue on string
theory went completely over your head? Man, was that awkward. Or remember the time you were at a
party and someone asked, "Who knows how to perform open-heart surgery?" and you were the only one
who didn't raise your hand? Well, put all of that embarrassment behind you. Want to dazzle crowds with
your wondrous knowledge of Shakespeare and surgeries? Want to learn to woo just like history's greatest
minds? Well, start reading already! The Genius Instruction Manual is a foolproof finishing school for
polishing your brain. All you've got to do is dive in.
Excerpt

(If you're serious about this whole Genius Thing)ChessAlthough genius chess players occasionally suffer
from some problems (noted chess master Bobby Fischer, for example, had all the silver fillings in his
teeth removed so the KGB would stop transmitting radio signals through them), quite a lot of geniuses
have enjoyed chess, including:Early in his career filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, supplemented his income
largely by hustling chess players in New York's Washington Square.Ludwig van Beethoven, a chess
fanatic who was friends with the man who invented the Turk, the world's first chess automaton. A
cupboard-shaped contraption that appeared to be a robot but was actually controlled by a skilled player
hiding inside it, the Turk beat many of the greatest luminaries of the 18th century, from Napoleon to . .
.Benjamin Franklin, who once said, "The game of chess is not merely an idle amusement . . . for life is a
kind of chess."Play an InstrumentNot all geniuses go in for music, of course. Samuel Johnson was once
told that a particular violin piece was very difficult. "Difficult, do you call it, Sir?" Johnson replied. "I wish it
were impossible." But the irascible Dr. Johnson aside, a great many geniuses played an instrument in
their spare time, including:Beginning when he was about 6 and ending when he was 13, Albert Einstein
took violin lessons. A lot of us can say that, of course, but Einstein actually stuck with the instrument,
and enjoyed playing at parties well into his old age. You've never partied until you've partied with
physicists. Their partying force (f) equals the mass (m) of bodies on the dance floor times the
acceleration (a) of the DJ's beats, if you know what we're saying. (For the record, we don't really know
what we're saying.)Benjamin Franklin, who, it is quickly becoming clear, found time to do everything.
Franklin played the viola and also invented an instrument he called the glass armonica, which produces
music in much the same manner as rubbing a wet finger on a wine glass.Before he became chairman of
the Federal Reserve and was acclaimed for his brilliant economics mind, Alan Greenspan was a
professional jazz musician, playing saxophone and clarinet in jazz clubs in New York's Greenwich Village
in the 1950s. In fact, Greenspan attended the world-renowned Julliard School before getting a Bachelor of
Science degree from NYU's School of Commerce.DrinkingNow, we're not going to advise that you drink.
Drinking can be very bad for geniuses (witness the poet Dylan Thomas, who died at the tender age of 39
soon after noting: "I've had eighteen straight whiskeys; I believe that's the record"). We're just saying that
quite a lot of people who enjoy a good drink seem to end up geniuses, including:Noted comic genius and
part-time philosopher W. C. Fields said, "A man's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another
drink."It's probably no coincidence that Tennessee Williams wrote so brilliantly about alcoholics (see, for
instance, the character Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). A lifelong alcoholic who wrote all of his plays
while drinking, Williams liked to work early in the morning, and usually had his first martini down by 8
A.M.Widely considered the best dancer of her era, Isadora Duncan (1878 1927) was known for her long
string of love affairs and for her absolute inability not to spend money the moment it was given her. Being
perpetually short of cash...
Author Bio
Editors of Mental Floss
Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur met as freshmen at Duke University, and in their senior year
parlayed their cafeteria conversations into the first issue of mental_floss magazine. Five years later,
they're well on their way to creating a knowledge empire. In addition to the magazine, a board game, and
a weekly CNN Headline News segment, the two have also collaborated on seven mental_floss books. In
their spare time, Will and Mangesh also tour the country performing folk music under the name Peter,
Paul, and Mary.John Green is the author of the award-winning novel Looking for Alaska (2005), which has
been translated into eight languages and is being made into a fi lm by Paramount Pictures.John also
contributes commentary to NPR's All Things Considered, and works for Booklist magazine, reviewing
literary fiction and children's picture books, as well as pretty much everything that gets published involving
boxing, conjoined twins, and/or little people (although John himself is quite tall). In short, he's the closest
thing the mental_floss staff has to being a genius.
Reviews

“A delightfully eccentric and eclectic new magazine.”

								
To top