The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge

A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind

St. Martin's Press


A comprehensive guide offering insight and clarity on a broad range of even more essential subjects.

Whether you are researching the history of Western art, investigating an obscure medical test, following current environmental trends, studying Shakespeare, brushing up on your crossword and Sudoku skills, or simply looking for a deeper understanding of the world, this book is for you. An indispensable resource for every home, office, dorm room, and library, this new edition of The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge offers in-depth explorations of art, astronomy, biology, business, economics, the environment, film, geography, history, the Internet, literature, mathematics, music, mythology, philosophy, photography, sports, theater, film, and many other subjects.

This one volume is designed to offer more information than any other book on the most important subjects, as well as provide easy-to-access data critical to everyday life. It is the only universal reference book to include authoritative and engaging essays from New York Times experts in almost every field of endeavor.

The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge provides information with matchless accuracy and exceptional clarity. This new revised and expanded third edition covers major categories with an emphasis on depth and historical context, providing easy access to data vital for everyday living.
Covering nearly 50 major categories, and providing an immediate grasp of complex topics with charts, sidebars, and maps, the third edition features 50 pages of new material, including new sections on

* Atheism                                            * Digital Media

* Inventions and Discoveries              * Endangered Species

* Inflation                                           * Musical Theater

* Book Publishing                               *Wikileaks

*The Financial Crisis                           *Nuclear Weapons

*Energy                                               *The Global Food Supply

Every section has been thoroughly updated, making this third edition more useful and comprehensive than ever. It informs, educates, answers, illustrates and clarifies---it’s the only one-volume reference book you need.





Read an Excerpt

The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge
THE FINE ARTSFor The New York Times: 
Administration: Michael Greenspon, General Manager, News Services; Nancy Lee, Vice President and Executive Editor, News Services and Syndicate; Alex Ward, Editorial Director, Book Development; Mitchel Levitas, Executive Associate. 
Featured Writers: Natalie Angier, Pam Belluck, Sandra Blakeslee, Graham Bowley, Jane E. Brody, Elisabeth Bumiller, Kenneth Chang, Celia W. Dugger, Justin Gillis, Michiko Kakutani, Michael Kimmelman, Anna Kisselgoff, Gina Kolata, Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop, Alastair Macauley,

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Praise for The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge

"This widely expanded update to the original 2004 edition defines nearly every facet of contemporary life—from arts, grammar, mythology and culture to science, economics, and geopolitical issues. Though bearing an authority and informational wealth that might rival the voluminous Oxford Dictionary of English, this surprisingly manageable volume is organized alphabetically by subject and contains thousands of highly accessible essays, tables, and lists, all composed by New York Times field experts.An essential background referenec for almost every subject: highly recommended for all public libraries."—Library Journal
"I wish I'd had this book 25 years ago. It is certain to become an indispensable tool for fact fanatics."—Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything

"In short, this is the largest, most up-to-date and affordable one volume desk reference available today and is an absolute must for every home, dorm room and library."—Tucson Citizen

Reviews from Goodreads



  • The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. Founded in 1851, the newspaper has won 95 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper.


Available Formats and Book Details

The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge

A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind



St. Martin's Press