Thursday, November 8 at 7pm - James Geary presents "Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It"

Please join us on Thursday, November 8 at 7pm, when James Geary talks about his new work of nonfiction, Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It. There will be time for Q&A and book signing after the author presentation. James was here with an earlier book, I Is an Other, and we're delighted to welcome him back!

James Geary is the author of four previous books, including the New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase, and is the deputy curator at Harvard University's Nieman Foundation for Journalism. A sought-after speaker and avid juggler, he lives near Boston.


Event date: 
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
The Concord Bookshop
65 Main Street
Concord, MA 01742
Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It By James Geary Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393254945
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 13th, 2018

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

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.