Caitlin_D reviewed this a couple weeks ago, and I thought it sounded interesting so I borrowed her copy. It definitely was — contains a lot of fascinating (and sometimes scary) facts about how our society is changing when it comes to learning and retaining information.
Poundstone spills out a lot of information here, but most of it’s pretty entertaining. He talks about polls he’s conducted or cited for the book — what people know, and in staggering numbers, what people don’t. I had fun reading through the lists of questions that very few Americans could answer, and feeling smug when I could answer most or all of them. And then I got to the geography questions and burned with shame.
He makes a lot of points about how that lack of knowing certain things (philosophers, or American presidents) seems to correlate with income level in addition to education, which makes sense in a lot of ways. He also points out the pitfalls of confusing causation and correlation. Overall, I found it a fun, speedy read about the tragic state of American education — specifically, my own failings!