What are you reading this summer? "Browse" our bestsellers and author-signed books for more ideas!

Staff Pick Badge
Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It Cover Image

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

In Stock In Store
3 on hand, as of Jul 20 5:40am

Staff Reviews

James Geary explores every facet of wittiness while still being funny! To embrace wit in every form, each chapter adopts a different style ranging from poetry, jokes, and visual art to sermons and scientific writing. While being entertained, you will also be convinced that wit and wisdom are the same thing. --Praveen

— From Literary Gifts


Much more than a knack for snappy comebacks, wit is the quick, instinctive intelligence that allows us to think, say, or do the right thing at the right time in the right place. In this whimsical book, James Geary explores every facet of wittiness, from its role in innovation to why puns are the highest form of wit. 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. Wit's End agilely balances psychology, folktales, visual art, and literary history with lighthearted humor and acute insight, drawing upon traditions of wit from around the world.

Entertaining, illuminating, and entirely unique, Wit's End demonstrates that wit and wisdom are really the same thing.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393254945
ISBN-10: 0393254941
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: November 13th, 2018
Pages: 128
Language: English