Ken Jennings

Because I Said So!

[Image of Because I Said So! cover]

Scribner Books, December 2012

"Don't cross your eyes or they'll stay like that!"

"Feed a cold, starve a fever!"

"Don't touch your Halloween candy until we get it checked out!"

"Never run with scissors."

"Don't look in the microwave while it's running!"

"This will go down on your permanent record."

Is any of it true? If so, how true? In Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids, Ken Jennings wants to find out if mother and father always know best. Yes, all those years you were told not to sit too close to the television (you'll hurt your eyes!) or swallow your gum (it stays in your stomach for seven years!) or crack your knuckles (arthritis!) are called into question by America's leading trivia guru. Jennings separates myth from fact to debunk a wide variety of parental edicts: no swimming after meals, sit up straight, don't talk to strangers, and so on.

Armed with medical case histories, scientific findings, and even the occasional experiment on himself (or his kids), Jennings exposes countless examples of parental wisdom run amok. 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 anti-helicopter parenting book you've been waiting for.

Purchase Because I Said So! online from a selection of fine retailers.

Signed and personalized copies of Because I Said So! (as well as of all Ken's other books) can be ordered nationwide from Seattle's Third Place Books. Contact Third Place for more information.

Read Excerpts

From Chapter 2: Put On a Sweater, I'm Cold! (Autumn and Winter)

From Chapter 5: Look Both Ways Before You Cross the Street (Grievous Bodily Harm)

From Chapter 6: You Don't Know Where That's Been! (Things Not to Put in Your Mouth)

From Chapter 11: It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye! (Vision and Supervision)

From Chapter 14: Quit Eating the Paste! (School Days)

Praise for Because I Said So!

"Because I Said So! is the MythBusters of old wives' tales. But beware: it could be a dangerous book into the wrong hands—namely your kids. . . . So buy this book, read it, and then hide it away!"

Ken Denmead, author of Geek Dad

"Highly engaging, occasionally surprising, and even somewhat useful. . . . If this book keeps one kid from having to wait and hour between eating and swimming, it will have done its job."

Boston Globe

"A deft combination of information and humorous commentary. It's time to stop calling Jennings that guy who won millions on Jeopardy! and start calling him that very good writer of entertaining nonfiction who appeared on a game show nearly a decade ago."


"A fun, lighthearted compendium of conventional wisdom, mostly parental, which debunks plenty of old wives' tales and urban myths while offering a few surprising truths. . . . 'Occasionally Mom knew what she was talking about, as this clever book confirms, but often she did not."

Kirkus Reviews

"With his trademark wit and genius . . . Jennings imparts wisdom and good sense in this highly entertaining and oddly educational book."

Publishers Weekly