Mental Floss Presents Condensed Knowledge: A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again

( 8 )

Overview

Loaded with meaty trivia and tasty, bite-sized facts!

mental_floss is proud to offer a delicious, hearty helping of brain-food that's sure to fire up your neurons and tantalize your synapses. Condensed Knowledge is a mouthwatering mix of intriguing facts, lucid explanations, and mind-blowing theories that will satisfy even the hungriest mind!

Ingredients include:

5 tiny nations that get no respect ? 4 ...

See more details below
Paperback
$12.82
BN.com price
(Save 14%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (128) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $8.42   
  • Used (120) from $1.99   
Mental Floss Presents Condensed Knowledge

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

Loaded with meaty trivia and tasty, bite-sized facts!

mental_floss is proud to offer a delicious, hearty helping of brain-food that's sure to fire up your neurons and tantalize your synapses. Condensed Knowledge is a mouthwatering mix of intriguing facts, lucid explanations, and mind-blowing theories that will satisfy even the hungriest mind!

Ingredients include:

5 tiny nations that get no respect • 4 civilizations nobody remembers • 5 classics written under the influence • 4 things your boss has in common with slime mold • 3 schools of thought that will impress the opposite sex • 4 things Einstein got wrong • 5 classical tunes you know from the movies • 3 famous studies that would be illegal today • 2 religious mysteries solved by chemistry • 5 scandals that rocked art, and much more ...

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Newsweek
“The titans of trivia.”
Calgary Herald
“An ideal reference to settle arguments or jog your memory.”
Charlotte Observer
“Part scholarly journal, part Spy magazine protégé.”
Washington Post
“A delightfully eccentric and eclectic new magazine.”
Chicago Tribune
“For the discerning intellect, Mental Floss cleans out the cobwebs.”
Chicago Tribune
“For the discerning intellect, Mental Floss cleans out the cobwebs.”
Washington Post
“A delightfully eccentric and eclectic new magazine.”
Newsweek
“A lot like that professor of your who peppered his tests with raunchy jokes: it makes learning fun.”
Charlotte Observer
“Part scholarly journal, part Spy magazine protégé.”
Calgary Herald
“An ideal reference to settle arguments or jog your memory.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060568061
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2004
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 316,390
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Mental Floss presents Condensed Knowledge PLM


By Jeff (None)

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 Jeff (None)
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060729171

Chapter One

5 Scandals That Rocked Art

Forgeries, thefts, and outright vandalism? That's right. Art history's about to get a whole lot more interesting.

_01:: The Vermeer Forgeries
Every age sees art through its own eyes, and the cleverest forgers play up to this. One of the most notorious forgeries ever occurred in the 1930s. A Dutchman named Han van Meegeren (1889-1947) produced forgeries of early works by the Dutch 17th-century master Jan Vermeer. They were technically brilliant and faultless, using old canvas and the correct 17th-century pigments. Cunningly, van Meegeren chose religious imagery that some experts believed Vermeer had painted, but very few examples of which existed. Most (though not all) of the greatest experts were completely taken in, but when you see the paintings now, you'll wonder why. All the faces look like the great film stars of the 1930s, such as Marlene Dietrich and Douglas Fairbanks.

_02:: The Mona Lisa Theft
It's sometimes suggested that rich criminals arrange for famous works of art to be stolen so that they can have them exclusively to themselves in private. Such theories have never been proven, and the truth is usually just a bit simpler. One of the most bizarre thefts was of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. An Italian workman, Vincenzo Perugia, walked into the gallery, took the painting off the wall, and carried it out. Security was nonexistent.

About two years later it was discovered in a trunk in his cheap lodging rooms in Florence. So, why did he take it? It was nothing to do with money. He said that as the painting was by an Italian, Leonardo da Vinci, it was part of Italy's national cultural heritage, and he was simply taking it back to where it belonged: Florence. (The painting was returned to the Louvre.)

_03:: The Auction Houses Scandal
The major commercial scandal of recent years has been the alleged collusion between the two big international auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's. As the supply of expensive masterpieces began to run out, competition between the two firms became increasingly fierce and each of them found it difficult to make a profit. They got together secretly to fix not the price of works of art themselves but the commission that they would each charge to sellers. In certain parts of the world, such an arrangement is quite legal but not in the United States. Eventually the practice came to light. The federal authorities imposed fines running into hundreds of millions of dollars, and prison sentences were also handed out.

_04:: The Portland Vase
Wanton acts of destruction in the art world are fortunately rare. One of the strangest occurred in 1845 in the British Museum, London, and is worthy of a Sherlock Holmes story. The Portland Vase, the most famous example of ancient Roman glass, decorated in dark-blue-and-white cameo technique, was brought from Italy in 1783 and purchased by the Duchess of Portland. A drunken young man entered the museum and without explanation smashed the vase and its glass display case. He was imprisoned for breaking the case but not the vase, as British law didn't impose penalties for destroying works of art of high value. The vase has since been repaired; however, you can still see the bruises.

_05:: Cellini's Saltcellar
A recent art world disaster/scandal occurred on May 13, 2003 (and it wasn't even a Friday!). Thieves climbed scaffolding and smashed windows to enter Vienna's Art History Museum and stole the "Mona Lisa of sculptures" -- Cellini's Saltcellar. This intricate 16-centimeter-high sculpture was commissioned by François I, king of France, from Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), the Renaissance's most ingenious and gifted goldsmith. Crafted with amazingly rich detail and skill, its principal figures are a naked sea god and a woman who sit opposite each other, with legs entwined -- a symbolic representation of the planet earth. The thieves set off the alarms, but these were ignored as false, and the theft remained undiscovered until 8:20 A.M. The reasons for the theft are as yet unknown. The fear is that these thieves will destroy the sculpture or melt it down, an act of vandalism that would be the equivalent of burning the Mona Lisa.



Continues...

Excerpted from Mental Floss presents Condensed Knowledge PLM by Jeff (None) Copyright © 2004 by Jeff (None). Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction xi
Condensed_Art History 1
Condensed_Biology 23
Condensed_Chemistry 43
Condensed_Economics 65
Condensed_General Science 87
Condensed_Geography and Culture 107
Condensed_History 129
Condensed_Literature 151
Condensed_Music 173
Condensed_Performing Arts 195
Condensed_Philosophy 217
Condensed_Physics 239
Condensed_Pop Culture 259
Condensed_Psychology 281
Condensed_Religion 303
Contributors 325
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

mental floss presents Condensed Knowledge
A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again

Chapter One

5 Scandals That Rocked Art

Forgeries, thefts, and outright vandalism? That's right. Art history's about to get a whole lot more interesting.

_01:: The Vermeer Forgeries
Every age sees art through its own eyes, and the cleverest forgers play up to this. One of the most notorious forgeries ever occurred in the 1930s. A Dutchman named Han van Meegeren (1889–1947) produced forgeries of early works by the Dutch 17th-century master Jan Vermeer. They were technically brilliant and faultless, using old canvas and the correct 17th-century pigments. Cunningly, van Meegeren chose religious imagery that some experts believed Vermeer had painted, but very few examples of which existed. Most (though not all) of the greatest experts were completely taken in, but when you see the paintings now, you'll wonder why. All the faces look like the great film stars of the 1930s, such as Marlene Dietrich and Douglas Fairbanks.

_02:: The Mona Lisa Theft
It's sometimes suggested that rich criminals arrange for famous works of art to be stolen so that they can have them exclusively to themselves in private. Such theories have never been proven, and the truth is usually just a bit simpler. One of the most bizarre thefts was of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. An Italian workman, Vincenzo Perugia, walked into the gallery, took the painting off the wall, and carried it out. Security was nonexistent.

About two years later it was discovered in a trunk in his cheap lodging rooms in Florence. So, why did he take it? It was nothing to do with money. He said that as the painting was by an Italian, Leonardo da Vinci, it was part of Italy's national cultural heritage, and he was simply taking it back to where it belonged: Florence. (The painting was returned to the Louvre.)

_03:: The Auction Houses Scandal
The major commercial scandal of recent years has been the alleged collusion between the two big international auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's. As the supply of expensive masterpieces began to run out, competition between the two firms became increasingly fierce and each of them found it difficult to make a profit. They got together secretly to fix not the price of works of art themselves but the commission that they would each charge to sellers. In certain parts of the world, such an arrangement is quite legal but not in the United States. Eventually the practice came to light. The federal authorities imposed fines running into hundreds of millions of dollars, and prison sentences were also handed out.

_04:: The Portland Vase
Wanton acts of destruction in the art world are fortunately rare. One of the strangest occurred in 1845 in the British Museum, London, and is worthy of a Sherlock Holmes story. The Portland Vase, the most famous example of ancient Roman glass, decorated in dark-blue-and-white cameo technique, was brought from Italy in 1783 and purchased by the Duchess of Portland. A drunken young man entered the museum and without explanation smashed the vase and its glass display case. He was imprisoned for breaking the case but not the vase, as British law didn't impose penalties for destroying works of art of high value. The vase has since been repaired; however, you can still see the bruises.

_05:: Cellini's Saltcellar
A recent art world disaster/scandal occurred on May 13, 2003 (and it wasn't even a Friday!). Thieves climbed scaffolding and smashed windows to enter Vienna's Art History Museum and stole the "Mona Lisa of sculptures" -- Cellini's Saltcellar. This intricate 16-centimeter-high sculpture was commissioned by François I, king of France, from Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571), the Renaissance's most ingenious and gifted goldsmith. Crafted with amazingly rich detail and skill, its principal figures are a naked sea god and a woman who sit opposite each other, with legs entwined -- a symbolic representation of the planet earth. The thieves set off the alarms, but these were ignored as false, and the theft remained undiscovered until 8:20 A.M. The reasons for the theft are as yet unknown. The fear is that these thieves will destroy the sculpture or melt it down, an act of vandalism that would be the equivalent of burning the Mona Lisa.

mental floss presents Condensed Knowledge
A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again
. Copyright © by Lauren (None). Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(5)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2004

    Lots of fun while you learn

    The folks at mental floss have a fun new book in the same style as their magazine. You will be reading from a chapter on literature, chemistry, art history, pop culture or economics and suddenly, there it is, you can't stop laughing.Fifteen chapters written by experts in their fields and all with that classic mental floss flavor. Would be a great graduation gift but keep one for yourself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2004

    Best readable reference book out there

    For $15, you can't go wrong with this paperback. While Schott's Miscellany is interesting as well, it has maybe 1/4 as much text as you'll find in this book. And Condensed Knowledge is better than an almanac, 'cause you can pick it up and begin reading at any point. It's full of facts, but it's funny too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 17 of 9 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)