Because I Said So! by Ken Jennings

This was pretty much my first audiobook, with the exception of the two I half-listened to (until I fell asleep) during a cross-country drive with a friend. I loved being able to “read” while cooking, cleaning, and doing various things around the house! I have a feeling there are more audiobooks in my future.

Title: Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids
Author/Narrator: Ken Jennings/Ken Jennings
Publisher: Tantor Media
Released: December 2012
Source: publisher (Edelweiss)


Ken Jennings is here to tell us that mother and father didn’t always know best. Yes, all those years you were told not to sit too close to the television (you’ll go blind!), or swallow your gum (it stays in your stomach for seven years!), or crack your knuckles (arthritis!) are called into question by our country’s leading trivia guru. Jennings separates myth from fact to humorously debunk a wide variety of parental edicts: no swimming after meals, sit up straight, don’t talk to strangers, you’ll get worms from cookie dough, and so on.

Combining the Q&A tradition of Why Do Men Have Nipples? and the anti-helicopter parenting philosophy of The Dangerous Book for Boys, Jennings exposes countless examples of parental wisdom run amuck, armed with medical case histories, scientific findings, and even the occasional experiment on himself (or his kids). Whether you’re a parent who wants to know what you can stop worrying about or a kid (of any age) looking to say, “I told you so,” this is the book you’ve been waiting for.

Author Ken Jennings is the Jeopardy! contestant who held an incredibly long 74-game winning streak back in 2004. His book Because I Said So! is the Snopes of “parental folklore,” covering a multitude of common things parents have said to their children, generation after generation.

Jennings explores these statements one by one, revealing what science has to say about each. He also looks into how some of the myths originated, which I found fascinating. Many statements turn out to be urban legends and old wives’ tales, but a number of them are declared truth. Jennings ends each topic with a verdict (True, Mostly True, Mostly False, or False) and gives alternate solutions and suggestions for those he debunks. He shows his sense of humor, too: Popsicles by the pool? Fine. Peach vodka popsicles? Maybe less so.

I do think the book ended too suddenly. After the final “verdict,” there were no closing or summarizing thoughts, only “This concludes Because I Said So!. Please visit our website…” That felt odd to me.

Ken Jennings has a very pleasant voice and speaks clearly. He also speaks quickly. Personally, I appreciated that, but once in a while he gets on a roll and it’s almost too fast. If you prefer a slower pace when you listen, you may want to hear a sample before buying.

Jennings kept my interest throughout the duration of the audiobook (about 5 hours), and I actually found it difficult to hit the pause button. The amount of time spent on each topic was perfect. If you enjoy trivia, popular science, or tend to question the things people say, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Because I Said So! as much as I did.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

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