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An Incomplete Education 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didnt
ISBN 0345391373 / 9780345391377 / 0-345-39137-3Find This Book
You'll find everything you forgot from school--as well as plenty you never even learned--in this all-purpose reference book, an instant classic when it first appeared in 1987. The updated version takes a whirlwind tour through 12 different disciplines, from American studies to philosophy to world history. Along the way, Judy Jones and William Wilson provide a plethora of useful information, from the plot of Othello to the difference between fission and fusion. It's not a shortcut to cultural literacy, the authors write in their introduction, but it's an excellent "way in" to the building blocks of Western civilization: the "books, music, art, philosophy, and discoveries that have, for one reason or another, managed to endure." Think of it as finishing school for your brain; study up and you'll gain a lifetime's worth of cocktail conversation--as well as a new list of books you simply must read. [via]