Jennings, Ken 1974-
Jennings, Ken 1974-
PERSONAL: Born 1974, near Seattle, WA; married Mindy Boam (a preschool teacher); children: Dylan. Education: Attended University of Washington for a year; Brigham Young University, B.A., B.S., 2000. Religion: Mormon
ADDRESSES: Home— WA. Agent— Jud Laghi, LJK Literary Management, 708 3rd Ave., 16th Fl., New York, NY 10017.
CAREER: Worked for CompHealth, Salt Lake City, UT, software engineer; National Academic Quiz Tournaments, freelance question writer.
Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, Villard (New York, NY), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Ken Jennings is best known for being the contestant to maintain his Jeopardy! champion status for seventy-five consecutive weeks before finally relinquishing his podium. A software engineer from Utah, Jennings was born in Washington state, but grew up abroad, living primarily in Korea and Singapore with his family. After attending the University of Washington for a year, Jennings took time off to spend two years in Madrid, Spain, on a Mormon mission. He then returned to the United States and completed his education at Brigham Young University. Jennings was fascinated with pop culture even as a child and, after graduating, began writing questions for the National Academic Quiz Tournaments on a freelance basis. He also went to work as a software engineer, and was employed by CompHealth in Salt Lake City, Utah, when he became a Jeopardy! contestant in 2004. Jennings has written about his own adventures and the world of trivia on the whole in his book, Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs. He analyzes the reasons why people are so fascinated with trivia, including his own personal experiences and interviews with other trivia experts, as well as the history of this area of pop culture, while including trivia challenges for readers. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews called the book “a report from the contestant’s podium of particular interest to anyone who endeavors to become a human equivalent of Google.” Lev Grossman, in a review for Time, remarked: “Jennings is actually a very charming, insightful writer. Instead of obsessing about the Streak, he explores the wider subculture of trivia.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Jennings, Ken, Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, Villard (New York, NY), 2006.
Entertainment Weekly, September 15, 2006, Ken Tucker, “Trivial Pursuits,” review of Brainiac, p. 78.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2006, review of Brainiac, p. S16; June 1, 2006, review of Brainiac, p. 557.
Library Journal, September 15, 2006, Jennifer Zarr, review of Brainiac, p. 77.
Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2006, review of Brainiac, p. 45.
Time, September 25, 2006, Lev Grossman, “Obsessive Nerds for $1, 000, Alex” review of Brainiac, p. 83.
Ken Jennings Home Page, http://www.ken-jennings.com (January 29, 2007).*