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

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Press: Adams Media; Original edition (April 15, 2012)
Author Name:Kolakowski, Nick


A Capacious and Quintessential Guide Maxims: #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!


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Comment List (Total:15)

  •     This is a fascinating book which I highly recommend. It will challenge and grow your brain.
  •     I realize that this book was meant to be half-serious and half-funny, but I found that the humor was the same throughout the book, and not very funny at all.
  •     This book looks at the elements one needs to become (or appear to be) an intellectual. Well written and has a great sense of humor.
  •     I think this book tries to be a little cute in its "100 Mandatory Maxims to Metamorphose into the Most Learned of Thinkers," and some of these "mandatory maxims" are complete...
  •     What a funny and enlightening read! This book gives you the tid-bits about all the ins and outs of being a well rounded intellectual, while poking fun at the snobbish ones. Very educating and amusing!
  •     Making a comment about Nick Kolakowski's new book is fraught with self-consciouness. He is a friend and the son of two long time college friends, one of whom was a college roommate. Maybe I should just stop here.That would be appropriate if this wasn't a terrific book, but it is. It evolves from an opening half that is a combination of satire, cynicism, and astute observations, to a second half that is a primer on appropriate etiquette for whatever generation is now being processed and the knowledge to be learned for a fulfilling life.Let's start with one sentence, page 13, "The urge to learn and become a true autodidact are what constitute the basis of an intellectual mind." After double checking that my understanding of the word "autodidact" was correct, this set the tone for the book.It is easy to take this book personally based on one's own experience and mythology. At the beginning, Maxim 1, is "Carry an Intellectual Book(at all times)". That immediately brought to mind the oft told story of the young fellow but a few years older Georgetown grad Bill Clinton at Oxford carrying around a paperback of Blake poems in his back pocket - always the poseur I guess as well as, perhaps, the intellectual. Whenever heading into NYC on the LIRR, I carry my shoulder bag with books, magazines, and writing pad, books intellectual and not so much, like now by Duane Swierczynski and Colum McCann - odd combination obviously.Maxim 1 is investigated here just as an example of the thoughts that emerge as one goes through Nick's maxims. There is Maxim 19 about disliking an author in which, in a related way, the writer uses as an example someone pounding on a bar and saying "Ken Kesey's 'Sometimes a Great Notion' is a far finer piece of writing than his 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." I then say to myself that "Something Happened" by Joseph Heller is far more nuanced and insightful than his painfully humorous and popular "Catch 22".That's what this book does to me. It says something and I respond. Not exactly some jazz call and response pattern, but maybe related.In various instances, many instances, "How to Become an Intellectual" refers to books, not really a coincidence. Here in Eyes Not Sold land there is an addiction to books, among other things. They are everywhere in our house, as others point out, although younger daughter seems to have a growing approach to the same behavior. Den shelves around the major fireplace are well ordered, but the living room, two of the bedrooms, the ping pong room, and the actual so-called library room(a room painted bright red with bookshelves and ancestor photos) are all packed with books in no particular order. I envy Geoff Dyer's description of his large and orderly collection of books on shelves that he built with his father. I feel more like a hoarder than anyone with the pretense of being an "intellectual". That's equivalent to a government warning about the skills exhibited in my various book and music reviews on Amazon, however sporadic.This commentary could go on and on, but must get back to the book being commented on, of course. I enjoyed reading Nick Kolakowski's book that clearly comes from a talented writer, a well read and thoughtful person with a good heart and a fine tuned sense of humor. The last three Maxims - "Learn One New Thing from Everyone", "Analyze Ideas, Not People", and "Know When to Say Nothing" are to this commentator the author's foundation.We can look forward to more to come?
  •     How to Become an Intellectual - 100 Mandatory Maxims is a must read. This refreshing take on intellectuals features belly laughs on each page along with morsels of truth and great advice! If you'd like to know which books to carry around to make you look smart, or which operas you should familiarize yourself with, look no further. I've greatly enjoyed reading Nick Kolakowski's views on appearing intellectual to peers - what kind of jokes to tell, what type of internet signature to have, how to sign a signature for the greatest impact, all great advice to put one ahead of the masses on the scale of intellect.Each little chapter has a theory and then an example of how to put the theory into practice and then each theory and practice has the inevitable footnote. He covers each subject in a funny, exhilarating way and provides much food for thought as well as tidbits of facts to grow the brain. Each page of this book is a treat. Read it when you need a little pick me up or when you feel you could use some advice after making an unforgivable social blunder in front of the smarties at work. You'll soon feel refreshed and ready to go and put some of these theories into practice. I haven't found the time to choose an instrument to play but I have given thought to pulling out the old jacket with the worn elbows and have decided to choose my jokes wisely and I try not to quote Shakespeare or succumb to the temptations of using Latin phrases too often.Great book, well written, refreshing and very clever. I am leaving this book around the house so others can absorb the knowledge and become more intellectual to keep up with me.
  •     Found this book very interesting and absoultly helariuos!! Thanks!! Looking forword to read some more of it!! Highly recomended! Thanks
  •     Hilarious, absolutely hilarious. I just came across this gem at a discount book store while perusing through the classics.I carry it everywhere I go.
  •     If you have a strong desire to join the elite and snobbish elements in society known as the intelligentsia this book (How to become an intellectual: 100 mandatory maxims by Nick...
  •     Good advice for those who feel their mental abilities and acquired knowledge are not fully appreciated. It's also a lot of fun!
  •     I thought this would be either funny (in a skewering pretension sort of way) or interesting (in a fascinating intellectual tidbits sort of way) but it wasn't much of either.
  •     "How to Become an Intellectual" is a lighthearted, amusing read, but you might also learn something as you peruse these pages.
  •     As a recent graduate of the Humanities I picked up this book thinking it was either going to be a satirical look at higher education ( a little self-deprecated humor never hurt...
  •     This book is a delight for anyone who crosses paths regularly with academicians and the chattering class. It will be amusing to anyone who has served time in a university setting, the upper reaches of the professional world or the inner precincts of culture. The author provides a wealth of clever insights on how to visibly polish one's intellectual furniture . I recommend it to any fellow bargee seeking to crash the intellectual party while dodging the bouncers; it offers the initiated important clues for detecting faux sophisticates. A great read for thinkers for whom the world is a comedy.

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