Ken Jennings's Page

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    Ten Thousand Horses

    How can you turn employees from dutiful drones to committed contributors?

    The Greater Goal

    How can the mission statement be something we do more than frame & stick on the lobby wall?

    • Captain America

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Captain America

      Way back in 2014, when gay marriage was illegal in half the country, True Detective and the iPhone 6 were brand new, and Donald Trump was still just a reality TV punchline, my friend Paul Bailey asked if I might want to represent my country in the first “Quiz Olympiad,” an international quizzin...

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      April 19, 2017

    • To the map we go

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      To the map we go

      In this week’s Maphead piece for Condé Nast Traveler, I write about the weird history of Westwego, Louisiana, which bills itself as the only town in America whose name is a complete sentence. I was unable to find any other burg making a similar claim, so I let it slide. But then, checking out...

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      April 19, 2017

    • Carrying the torch

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Carrying the torch

      I’m off to Greece this week for the inaugural Quiz Olympiad. (Cue NBC Olympics anthem! But only in your head so we don’t get sued.) Here’s the press release I just got sent about the event. Wish us luck! Team USA competing at Quiz Olympiad, Nov. 3 – 6 in Athens, Greece Author and Jeopardy...

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      April 19, 2017

    • Citius Altius Trivius

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Citius Altius Trivius

      I just got back from the first ever Quiz Olympiad, organized by the International Quizzing Association and held in the Olympic cradle of Athens, Greece. It was an historic weekend! Some background: the IQA has been holding these European and international quiz tournaments for many years, but ...

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      April 19, 2017

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    • Where are they now?

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Where are they now?

      Jeopardy! is running a series of stories this season called “the J!Effect,” about how the quiz show has changed lives over its 30-year-plus run. This is very exciting to hear because it means Jeopardy! is embracing the hip millennial-friendly abbreviation “J!” for its brand, replacing its ’90 ...

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      April 19, 2017

    • To the fleetest

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      To the fleetest

      Jeopardy! plows through two new contestants every weeknight, as implacably as a shark. But that means your odds, as a random American, of getting on the show this year are still no better than 1 in 800,000. Sad! Enter FleetWit! It’s a mobile “brain race” site where players compete in live q...

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      April 19, 2017

    • The worst man in the world

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      The worst man in the world

      When Time magazine named President-elect (!!!) Donald Trump its “Person of the Year” last week, I tweeted Trump is the only Time Person of the Year who was also Spy magazine's worst person of the year (1995). — Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) December 7, 2016 That’s not a joke, as you might ha...

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      April 19, 2017

    • Hits within hits

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Hits within hits

      The final question on my weekly Tuesday Trivia email quiz a couple weeks ago was one of the hardest in the quiz’s ten-year history. Only two respondents guessed the correct answer. The gimmick was: artists who had two well-known songs, one of which contains the full title of the other. The ex...

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      April 19, 2017

    • (W)ΟΡΝΤΠΛΑΙ (W)ΕΝΤΝΕΣΝΤΑΙ

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      (W)ΟΡΝΤΠΛΑΙ (W)ΕΝΤΝΕΣΝΤΑΙ

      (W)hy not? I was in Athens in November for the first international Quiz Olympiad. The hotel that hosted the event was just a short walk away from the marble Panathenaic Stadium, built in 330 BC, which has hosted events for the modern Olympic Games twice. A monument out front lists the host cit...

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      April 19, 2017

    • Big Blue buddy

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Big Blue buddy

      Hey, here’s another thing that I never blogged about because it launched during the great summer blog drought. My friend Rob Kutner, who wrote for The Daily Show and is now at Conan, had an idea for a comedy podcast in which my silicon arch-nemesis Watson and I were forced to go on the lam af...

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      September 30, 2016

    • The only thing we have to fear

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      The only thing we have to fear

      In my new “Debunker” column posted today on Woot.com, I track the lineage of the bizarre trivia factoid that holds that “arachibutyrophobia” is a medical term meaning “the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.” I can find no evidence for this in any clinical literature, but ...

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      September 30, 2016

    • Trigger warning: racist leaves

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Trigger warning: racist leaves

      This site, like a lazy Frenchman, took the summer off. That was partly due to some database crashes and spambot attacks that happened when I was out of town, and which I’m just getting around to fixing now. Thank you for your patience. I write a weekly Monday column called Maphead for Condé N...

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      September 9, 2016

    • How many trivia questions exist?

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      How many trivia questions exist?

      A reader named Anthony writes: I hope this message makes it to you. My friend and I are debating how one might estimate the number of trivia questions that exist. Or more precisely, how many distinct questions could be asked to the American participants on Jeopardy or in any trivia game, where...

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      July 11, 2016

    • The other Junior Genius

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      The other Junior Genius

      Let’s face it: the seven Junior Genius books I spent the last few years writing would have been maybe one-quarter as good without the funny, charming artwork of Mike Lowery. You know what kids don’t want? Big unbroken blocks of text about 19th-century presidents. You know what kids do want? ...

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      May 4, 2016

    • Old news

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Old news

      Since 2012–almost four years!–I’ve been writing a weekly news quiz for Slate magazine. But I told Slate last month that I was giving up the assignment. Last week, for the first time ever, the Slate Quiz was written by someone else. I was sorry to have to step away, because the quiz is always...

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      May 4, 2016

    • Old fossil

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Old fossil

      I’m very happy to announce that the seventh Junior Genius book is available online and in bookstores today! The official Junior Genius Guides website has some preview pages to peruse and various retail links for when you decide just how many copies you want to buy. Ten? Twenty? It’s up to y...

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      April 12, 2016

    • Continental divide

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Continental divide

      Here’s a geography question if you have a few minutes to kill, and want to spend them thinking about geography for some reason. The fifty U.S. states vary widely in area, obviously. Even if you list the states in descending order of area, there are some big gaps. The largest state, Alaska, ha...

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      April 12, 2016

    • (500) Days of Trivia

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      (500) Days of Trivia

      I’m pleased to announce that the 500th installment of my weekly “Tuesday Trivia” quiz went out over the email last night. Five hundred weeks of free trivia, appearing in 16,000 inboxes every Tuesday morning without fail. I’ve wasted my life. If you want to play next Tuesday, and for the next ...

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      April 12, 2016

    • Childhood pet

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Childhood pet

      I found this photo today while looking for something else. I wish it had turned up earlier–it’s perfect for the new Junior Genius guide, about Dinosaurs! That’s right, millennials. We had a pet T. Rex when I was a kid. As was the style at the time.

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      April 12, 2016

    • Welcome to the working week

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Welcome to the working week

      I don’t usually link to the steady stream of stuff I’m writing elsewhere instead of on this blog, but here’s a quick recap: Mondays: my “Maphead” column for Conde Nast Traveler Tuesdays: my “Debunker” column for Woot Wednesdays and Saturdays: “Kennections” puzzles for mental_floss Friday...

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      April 12, 2016

    • Nightstand

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Nightstand

      Reading: I recommend it! In fact, I specifically recommend the books I’ve been reading recently. They are not new books. (Wait, with one exception.) Here’s the last month or so: The Robber Bridegroom by Eudora Welty. Did you know Welty’s first novel (well, short novel) was a Southern upda...

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      April 12, 2016

    • The year of daily blogging (…was 2005, sorry)

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      The year of daily blogging (…was 2005, sorry)

      Happy new year, everyone! My resolutions for 2016 do not include blogging here more, but they do include wistfully looking back at a distant time when I didn’t really have a job and just the one vague writing deadline and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram didn’t exist and I posted something h...

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      January 15, 2016

    • Greece is the word

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Greece is the word

      Paul Bailey asked me a few months ago if I wanted to captain the U.S. team for the inaugural Quiz Olympiad, to be held in Athens next fall. I had a great time at the European Quiz Championships the one year I got to go, and TCONA is a blast every year. But this is something bigger! Olympian...

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      December 13, 2015

    • Christmas is getting so commercial, Charlie Brown

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Christmas is getting so commercial, Charlie Brown

      A quick beginning-of-December reminder: I have ten books in print, each one better than the last! (Except for the one really disappointing one that stands out like a sore thumb. Not going to say which one.) They are exactly the kind of light non-fiction sort of thing that makes an excellent ...

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      December 4, 2015

    • Endangered Lapp tribe really should have seen this coming

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Endangered Lapp tribe really should have seen this coming

      I’m newly fascinated with the Skolt people of Lapland, and the (apparently well-accepted) idea among 20th-century sociologists that they were all telepaths! See this wire-service story from April 5, 1952, for example. I feel like there’s a book in here somewhere, but this is the kind of thing ...

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      November 19, 2015

    • Repackaged

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Repackaged

      Good news, I’m releasing more endlessly repackaged material than George Lucas or the Beach Boys! First up, there’s a new boxed set of the first three Junior Genius books (Maps and Geography, Greek Mythology, U.S. Presidents) available now at a discount price! It came out on Tuesday and actuall...

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      October 28, 2015

    • Missing swimmers

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Missing swimmers

      Noooo, today’s “Tuesday Trivia” e-mail went out with an unfinished sentence. Luckily, the missing information was one of last week’s answers, not this week’s questions. So it was more of an unfortunate cliffhanger than a fatal glitch. Still, first time I’ve straight up omitted an answer in a...

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      October 7, 2015

    • Love Kennections?

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Love Kennections?

      For almost three years, I wrote a quiz for Parade magazine called “Kennections.” The format was simple: five not-too-tough trivia questions and one final gimmick: guessing what the five answers have in common. But last year the beloved Sunday supplement was bought out and jettisoned its edit...

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      October 7, 2015

    • To the old gods and the new

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      To the old gods and the new

      For the first time in seven months, there’s a new Junior Genius Guide on bookstore shelves today! The Junior Genius introduction to Ancient Egypt costs just a few bucks and it’s jam-packed with cute illustrations and crazy trivia about the land of the pharaohs. Did you know that, in ancient ...

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      October 7, 2015

    • Map love

      Ken Jennings posted a blog post

      Map love

      Hey, this is nice. There’s a new Junior Genius Guide on store shelves, and I just found out that the first book in the series, the Maps and Geography one, is a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards! You probably follow the Washington State Book Awards scene pretty closely, so you d...

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      October 7, 2015

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