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The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool
     

The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool

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by Greg Proops
 

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From the bold, beloved comic and podcast star Greg Proops comes a “terrifically random appreciation of cultural touchstones” (Publishers Weekly) that is electrifying, thought-provoking, and unrelenting, full of rapid-fire references, historical name-checking, Satchel Paige bon mots, and genuine wisdom.

Greg Proops is an internationally

Overview

From the bold, beloved comic and podcast star Greg Proops comes a “terrifically random appreciation of cultural touchstones” (Publishers Weekly) that is electrifying, thought-provoking, and unrelenting, full of rapid-fire references, historical name-checking, Satchel Paige bon mots, and genuine wisdom.

Greg Proops is an internationally renowned comedian, best known for starring on the hit improv-comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? and for his popular award-winning podcast, “The Smartest Man in the World,” which Rolling Stone called “some of the boldest comedy on the podcasting frontier right now.” But Proops is also a fountain of historical knowledge, a wealth of pop culture trivia, and a generally charming know-it-all.

The Smartest Book in the World is a rollicking reference guide to the most essential areas of knowledge in Proops’s universe, from history’s juiciest tales and curious backstories to the movies you must see and the albums you must hear. Full of eclectic and humorous knowledge, it is a concentrated collection and comic cultural dictionary of the essential Proops topics including poetry, proper punctuation, and Satchel Paige, all delivered with his signature style, making the full Proops experience complete.

So if you’re stuck wondering why Alexander was so Great (well, he did conquer the world), which cinema bombshell would be the best shortstop (Hedy Lamarr, of course), what great work of art would be the best to steal (not that you would), or the finest way to prepare vodka-flavored vodka (add vodka), don’t fret, pumpkin butter—The Smartest Book in the World has what you need right now.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/02/2015
Perhaps best known for his stint on the improv comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway, comedian and podcaster Proops’s compendium of trivia, passionate essays, lists, and observations might not be the smartest book, but it’s certainly an entertaining one. Readers may be distracted by his quirks—“woman” is always spelled with a capital W, and Proops lists numerous reasons why, such as “Old Women raise the world and know everything” and “war is menstruation envy”—and his deep, abiding love for baseball, which is both the subject of a lengthy essay and a common metaphor throughout the book for discussing Roman emperors, the British monarchy, bombshell beauties, and U.S. presidents, among other random subjects. Rather than offer a linear examination of a particular topic, Proops jumps around, citing the brilliance of poets Baudelaire, Sappho, Basho, and Blake in addition to T. Rex’s Electric Warrior album and Alfred Hitchcock’s film Lifeboat. Arguments could be made that some subjects, such as punk (he lists only the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, the Clash’s London Calling, and the Ramones’ Rocket to Russia), don’t receive the attention they deserve, but what Proops lacks in breadth he more than makes up for in enthusiasm. It’s a terrifically random appreciation of cultural touchstones that’s sure to inspire readers to look further. (May)
Vinton Rafe McCabe
"This book is plenty glib, plenty sly, and pretty damn wise. It is also quick, funny, and, often, pointedly true."
PopCultureBeast.com
The Smartest Book in the World has a stream of consciousness; beat style that comes on as if it is was written Kerouac-style on one long, long roll of paper. But as Kerouac is both dead and not known for his sense of humor, wouldn’t you rather spend time on the road with Greg Proops any day?”
The Denver Post
"Few laugh-out-funny books are also this genuinely informative.”
Rolling Stone "The 20 Best Comedy Podcasts Right Now" on "The Smartest Man in the World"
"It turns out Whose Line Is It Anyway? only hinted at its former in-house player Greg Proops' gift of gab, which is constantly on display in the weekly soliloquy he calls a "Proopscast." Armed with a lifetime of accumulated trivia, reckless tales of youthful adventure, exquisite diction, and an unflappable comic pomposity, Proops dissects both consequential and ridiculous news items while unburdening whatever is bothering him. From crowd interactions to any given newspaper headline, each bit of stimulus serves as a way to take a mad flume ride through the sluices of Proops' brain."
Rolling Stone on "The Smartest Man in the World" podcast
"Some of the boldest comedy on the podcasting frontier right now. Proops proved himself a keen improviser on Whose Line Is It Anyway?… but his performance there only hinted at how nimble he is."
New York Times on "The Smartest Man in the World" podcast
“Greg Proops’s bold, never-boring voice takes center stage in this live recording of his renowned podcast.”
Kirkus Reviews
2015-01-28
A charmingly random omnibus from a wisecracking know-it-all.Proops, a veteran of the popular improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway? and host of The Smartest Man in the World podcast, presents a compendium of small essays on his favorite topics, ranging from Satchel Paige to Ovid, from Blood on the Tracks to All About Eve. Listeners to the "Proopcast" will enjoy the author's pithy prose, though fans of less-intellectual humor may become bored. Some of the verve and snark Proops displays through his podcast gets lost in the transition to prose, but this is often the case when comedians translate their performances to a book. Nevertheless, many of the author's lines hit home: "History is a series of lies written by icky white guys who beat their maids"; "Baseball at its best is church with spitting." The author's passion for his subjects comes through loud and clear, and Proops has a knack for the snappy one-line description. For example, Marc Bolan of T-Rex "delivers the short sexy warlock stuff right to the edge of the enchanted guitar forest." Major league pitcher Ryne Duren "drank like an alcoholic fish." Alain Delon in Le Samourai is "like a jungle cat, if a cat smoked weed and wore a trench coat." Johnny Cash's music is "the real world exposed on a train track shuffle." Proops sprinkles the book with a variety of fascinating tidbits; it was a surprise to learn that Mick Jagger wrote the lyrics to "Sympathy for the Devil" after reading Marianne Faithful's copy of Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. But caveat lector: if you don't have an affinity for baseball, poetry and film noir, this book probably isn't for you. Snarky history and piquant criticism as delivered by the smartass in the back of the classroom.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781476747064
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
05/05/2015
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
416,654
File size:
3 MB

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Read an Excerpt

The Smartest Book in the World

  • Hurray, hurrah, you made it to The Smartest Book in the World. You are now officially more inquisitive than all your bored friends. In your hands you hold a clamorous compendium, a rancorous reportage, a lexicon of literacy. This is the burning bush, the Rosetta stone, the Fountain of Youth, the Grail to all the funnest knowledge and most freaktastical answers to the questions you’ve never asked, like: Which Roman emperor would be the best first baseman? and Does vodka go with vodka? You know, the vitals.

    Lots of comedians write first-person memoirs of their hilarious experiences in show business. This is not a bad thing. We like to see comedians get work. Sometimes they tell stories about their dog or people they shagged. This book is not one of those. I don’t have a dog. The people I know don’t have dog stories, either. Not even shaggy ones. To be sure, the experiences are there, but this round it’s better to mine the vast worlds outside one’s career and troll for laughs and the occasional fact.

    What makes you so smart? I hear you ask. Stop sniveling. It does not happen overnight. One must spend years traveling, studying, and performing to rapt, attentive, worshipful crowds. Since that was practically impossible, I self-anointed and did a Proopcast. The knowledge collected is for us to share. You will be excited, then ashamed, then inflamed, then engaged.

    Thank you for buying this. If you stole it, well done, you. You are going to make your way in this world. If you borrowed it, return it full. Let us take to the ether.

  • Meet the Author

    Greg Proops is a stand-up comic from San Francisco, best known for his unpredictable appearances on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which is back on TV on the CW network. Mr. Proopdog has a chart-topping podcast called “The Smartest Man in the World,” which he has recorded live from around the world including Paris, London, Amsterdam, Oslo, New Zealand, Finland, Montreal, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Melbourne, Dublin, Edinburgh, Hollywood, a ship off St. Marten, and somehow, Cleveland. The podcast is available at Proopcast.com and on iTunes. Proops has been a voice actor in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and played Bob in Bob the Builder. He has been a guest on @Midnight on Comedy Central, Red Eye, The Late, Late Show, and Chelsea Lately. He lives in Hollywood. It’s not that bad, really.

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    The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Smart and funny, the book taught me a lot while laughing. I thought about subjects I would have never thought about.