How to Become an Intellectual: 100 Mandatory Maxims to Metamorphose into the Most Learned of Thinkers

How to Become an Intellectual: 100 Mandatory Maxims to Metamorphose into the Most Learned of Thinkers

by Nick Kolakowski
How to Become an Intellectual: 100 Mandatory Maxims to Metamorphose into the Most Learned of Thinkers

How to Become an Intellectual: 100 Mandatory Maxims to Metamorphose into the Most Learned of Thinkers

by Nick Kolakowski


$2.99  $17.99 Save 83% Current price is $2.99, Original price is $17.99. You Save 83%.

Available on Compatible NOOK devices, the free NOOK App and in My Digital Library.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Related collections and offers

LEND ME® See Details


A Capacious and Quintessential Guide

#1: Carry a Scholarly Book (at All Times)
#12: Know Your Manet from Your Monet
#14: Be Proficient in at Least One Classical Instrument
#64: Learn to Recite Romantic-Era Poetry on Cue

If you think you need a PhD in Greek and Roman philosophy from an Ivy League school to call yourself an intellectual, reconsider your supposition. While you may envy the initials that follow distinguished names of professors and the intellectual elite, it's not the mortar board and scholarly robes you need—it's the obscure esoterica. In this primer, you'll learn to walk the talk of the intelligentsia, leaving simpletons and pseudo-intellectuals in your dust.

Inside How to Become an Intellectual, you will find the prodigious truths every self-respecting learned person lives by. This code of scholarly behavior allows aspiring high-brows like yourself to educate their unfortunate lessers, amaze their Mensa friends, and impress their fellow wise people—one distinguished bon mot at a time!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440536106
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 02/13/2024
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 242
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Nick Kolakowski lives in New York City. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post,McSweeney's Internet Tendency, North American Review, The Huffington Post, NPR, and Shotgun Honey. You can also find him at

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Part 1 The Intellectual Lifestyle 9

1 Carry an intellectual book (at all times).

2 Embrace your alma mater, even if it's not Harvard.

3 Cultivate a few choice eccentricities.

4 Learn some truly enormous words.

5 Abstain from bullshit.

6 Read and comprehend (nearly) everything.

7 Give your signature some character.

8 Never utter these five phrases.

9 Tell jokes only 0.05 percent of people will understand.

10 Choose your intellectual role model.

Part 2 Culture 31

11 Enjoy popular culture.

12 Know your Manet from your Monet.

13 Know the basics of chess.

14 Play at least one classical instrument.

15 Understand opera, even if you never enjoy it.

16 Quote Shakespeare sparingly.

17 Become comfortable with saying, "I don't know."

18 Hide your love of action movies.

19 Passionately hate one classic author.

20 Follow museums like others follow sports teams.

Part 3 Your Space 55

21 Choose a proper lair for contemplation.

22 Highlight certain books on your shelves.

23 Proudly display these graphic novels.

24 Include art films in your movie collection.

25 Arrange your desk area to suggest pure brilliance.

26 Design a fail-safe organizing system.

27 Buy books by the foot.

28 Curate your liquor cabinet.

29 Keep your walls free of degrees and hunting trophies.

30 Disdain design fads.

Part 4 Technology 79

31 Carry e-books on the road.

32 Edit your Facebook profile to tell the right story.

33 Cast LOL and emoticons from your lexicon.

34 Twitter your brilliance.

35 Decide on the proper quote for your e-mail signature.

36 Select a ringtone that suggests actual taste in music.

37 Beware of spell check.

38 Keep a paper notebook.

39 Remain slighdy wary of technology.

40 Prepare yourself for face-to-face meetings.

Part 5 Looking the Part 101

41 Decline a pipe or monocle as an accessory.

42 Always carry a jacket.

43 Wear black for any occasion.

44 Embrace your facial hair.

45 Discard the backpack for a bag or briefcase.

46 Refuse to be ashamed of your vehicle.

47 Remain uncostumed, even on Halloween.

48 Resist the temptation to show off your phone.

49 Know the names of certain designers.

50 Use any writing instrument that suits your fancy.

Part 6 Health and Well-Being 123

51 Become a foodie like a Roman emperor.

52 Exercise to boost your brain.

53 Sleep before you reach the breaking point.

54 Moderate your caffeine intake.

55 Use podcasts for ultimate multitasking.

56 Never use drugs and alcohol to enhance creativity?they don't.

57 Consume these foods for thought-fuel.

58 Take frequent breaks to boost your productivity.

59 Shun drinking at the reception or book reading.

60 Unleash your Cro-Magnon self with grilling.

Part 7 Dating 145

61 Peruse these hunting grounds for your fellow intellectuals.

62 Make dinner fun, not an IQ arms race.

63 Always groom before heading outside.

64 Learn to recite Romantic-era poetry on cue.

65 Refrain from using these pickup lines.

66 Leave your T-shirts at home.

67 Craft a timeless, upscale mix-tape.

68 Obey standard rules of etiquette.

69 Take care when revealing your favorite [fill in the blank].

70 Treat your ex with civility.

Part 8 Engaging Your Public 169

71 Ease slowly into deep conversations.

72 Say less, especially when they expect more.

73 Rehearse, rewrite, rehearse, rewrite ...

74 Cultivate rivalries with other intellectuals.

75 Fight every idea war honorably and well.

76 Lose a debate graciously.

77 Be polite, if only to simplify your life.

78 Abstain from using Google in front of other people.

79 Play it cool, but not cold.

80 Never succumb to the temptations of Latin.

Part 9 Walk the Walk 193

81 Know these books.

82 Choose your favorite philosopher.

83 Watch these five directors.

84 Diversify your news intake.

85 Withstand the urge to rely on Picasso as your fallback artist.

86 Learn to identify composers by their first few notes.

87 Take speaking tips from Churchill.

88 Familiarize yourself with the ancient Greeks.

89 Mix these historically famous drinks.

90 Aspire to be a well-rounded thrinker.

Part 10 Intellectual Etiquette 217

91 Learn the arts of tool use and changing tires.

92 Keep your head only partway in the clouds.

93 Avoid quoting from bestsellers.

94 Refuse to use your big brain as a club.

95 Laugh at jokes made at your expense.

96 Stay curious.

97 Support your friends' arguments ... to a point.

98 Learn one new thing from everyone.

99 Analyze ideas, not people.

100 Know when to say nothing.

Index 238

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews