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Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It

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“A witty book about wit that steers an elegant path between waggishness and wisdom.”—Stephen Fry In this whimsical book, James Geary explores every facet of wittiness, from its role in innovation to why puns demonstrate the essence of creativity. Geary reasons that wit is both visual and verbal, physical and intellectual: there’s the serendipitous wit of scientists, the cra “A witty book about wit that steers an elegant path between waggishness and wisdom.”—Stephen Fry In this whimsical book, James Geary explores every facet of wittiness, from its role in innovation to why puns demonstrate the essence of creativity. Geary reasons that wit is both visual and verbal, physical and intellectual: there’s the serendipitous wit of scientists, the crafty wit of inventors, the optical wit of artists, and the metaphysical wit of philosophers. In Wit’s End, Geary embraces wit in every form by adopting a different style for each chapter; he writes the section on verbal repartee as a dramatic dialogue, the neuroscience of wit as a scientific paper, the spirituality of wit as a sermon, and other chapters in jive, rap, and the heroic couplets of Alexander Pope. Demonstrating that brevity really is the soul of wit, Geary crafts each chapter from concise sections of 200, 400, or 800 words. Entertaining, illuminating, and entirely unique, Wit’s End shows how wit is much more than a sense of humor.


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“A witty book about wit that steers an elegant path between waggishness and wisdom.”—Stephen Fry In this whimsical book, James Geary explores every facet of wittiness, from its role in innovation to why puns demonstrate the essence of creativity. Geary reasons that wit is both visual and verbal, physical and intellectual: there’s the serendipitous wit of scientists, the cra “A witty book about wit that steers an elegant path between waggishness and wisdom.”—Stephen Fry In this whimsical book, James Geary explores every facet of wittiness, from its role in innovation to why puns demonstrate the essence of creativity. Geary reasons that wit is both visual and verbal, physical and intellectual: there’s the serendipitous wit of scientists, the crafty wit of inventors, the optical wit of artists, and the metaphysical wit of philosophers. In Wit’s End, Geary embraces wit in every form by adopting a different style for each chapter; he writes the section on verbal repartee as a dramatic dialogue, the neuroscience of wit as a scientific paper, the spirituality of wit as a sermon, and other chapters in jive, rap, and the heroic couplets of Alexander Pope. Demonstrating that brevity really is the soul of wit, Geary crafts each chapter from concise sections of 200, 400, or 800 words. Entertaining, illuminating, and entirely unique, Wit’s End shows how wit is much more than a sense of humor.

44 review for Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrienne

    Each chapter offers the delight of what wit can do. It’s a brilliant way of showing how wit works rather than merely describe it. Thanks to the publisher for access to the advance reading copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael G

    Geary puts wit on the spit. Well done.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mich

    James Geary extols all aspects of wit. Starting with puns, then repartee in conversations, jokes, scientific evaluations of brain images associated with wit, visual wit in art (troupe d’oeil), historical, literary, folk tales, biblical and Talmudic references are dissected in a (what else?) witty way. Each chapter is presented in a different style and sometimes font so one can be in dialogue, another in verse, then spiritual sermon, neuroscience in a scientific paper, and jive and rap. It’s quite James Geary extols all aspects of wit. Starting with puns, then repartee in conversations, jokes, scientific evaluations of brain images associated with wit, visual wit in art (troupe d’oeil), historical, literary, folk tales, biblical and Talmudic references are dissected in a (what else?) witty way. Each chapter is presented in a different style and sometimes font so one can be in dialogue, another in verse, then spiritual sermon, neuroscience in a scientific paper, and jive and rap. It’s quite entertaining and for those of us who love wit,it’s the affirmation of our favorite way of thinking and expressing ourselves.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Mitrovic

    Not much more than a wit classification book, with chapters devoted to pun, metaphor, jive... and examples. I was hoping for “instructions” on how to train your wit. Found one useful thing though. The book mentioned RAT (Remote Associations Test) which I think is very useful for kids. We played RAT competitions (guess the 4th associative phrase given 3) on a few nights and kids loved them.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Trudy

    Geary's Wit's End is not strictly a humor book, though there is plenty of humor within it. In portions of the book he explores how we think and what wit is (and is not) on a historical and even a neurological level. Extensive notes, bibliography, and index are included for those who wish to delve into this subject more deeply.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Denise Nader

    3.5/5

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ivor Armistead

    Wit. Amusing, a bit.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nick Armstrong

    Skip over the chapter with all the medical references and you’ll have a 4-star book, easily.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Donny Martel

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vlieta

  11. 4 out of 5

    tom oconnell

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lawrence Elton

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dean

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fungai Tichawangana

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jake Swirsky

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz Anderson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nora

  22. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Miller

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  25. 5 out of 5

    Max Koh

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lance

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ton

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mika

  29. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Rose Blaney

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Friedman

  32. 5 out of 5

    Bertrand

  33. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  34. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  35. 5 out of 5

    Ace

  36. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  37. 4 out of 5

    Jonathon Jones

  38. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Vaughan

  39. 4 out of 5

    Danni Green

  40. 4 out of 5

    Reba

  41. 5 out of 5

    Kira

  42. 5 out of 5

    Storyheart

  43. 5 out of 5

    Kay

  44. 4 out of 5

    Tarpon Campus Library

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