1. Which famous sculptor died in 1564 and which two people — one a famous bard, the other a renowned scientist — were born in 1564?
2. Which dictator and actor were both born in April 1889, just days apart?
3. While about three-quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, what percentage of that water is drinkable by humans: 40 percent, 4 percent, a quarter of 1 percent, 1/40th of 1 percent or 1/400th of 1 percent?
4. Which is the only planet in our solar system to rotate clockwise?
5. What is the only bird to fly backwards?
6. Was the so-called Hundred Years War longer than 100 years or shorter than 100 years?
7. Although Christopher Columbus sailed for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, where was the intrepid explorer born?
8. How long did the Reign of Terror last: less than a year, less than five years, less than 10 years?
9. How many children did prolific composer Johann Sebastian Bach father?
10. Who is the first woman to win a Nobel Prize?
11. In retail jargon, what is the big shopping day after Thanksgiving called?
12. What two great national calamities forced Isaac Newton to temporarily leave his studies at Cambridge?
13. What two cities did the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. destroy?
14. Who is the author of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus?
15. What personal handicap did Beethoven face while writing his Ninth Symphony?
16. Al Capone was a famous gangster and bootlegger. What was his brother’s occupation?
17. “Now he belongs to the ages.” Which member of Lincoln’s cabinet uttered these imperishable words?
18. How many NCAA championships did John Wooden win?
19. “Wherever you see a successful business, someone made a courageous decision.” Who said it?
20. How many Super Bowls has Tom Brady played in and how many has he won?
21. How many gold medals did Michael Phelps win in the 2008 Summer Olympics?
22. Who designed the pillbox hat worn by Jackie Kennedy at President Kennedy’s inauguration?
23. Who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, triggering a chain of events leading to World War I?
24. Who assassinated Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak and narrowly missed killing President-elect Franklin Roosevelt in 1933?
25. Who produced Michael Jackson’s Thriller album?
26. What is the source of the Hudson River?
27. What is the source of the Mississippi River?
28. How many wives and concubines did King Solomon have?
29. “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream of things that never were and say why not.” Who said it?
30. What number did Jackie Robinson, the first black ballplayer in the modern era, wear?
31. What movie did Jamie Foxx win the Oscar for best actor?
32. Who founded the Girl Scouts of America?
33. What was the name of the 2012 Grammy-winning album?
34. What word game did Alfred Butts invent?
35. For which two films did Robert Wise win Best Director Oscars?
36. Who created the comic strip Superman?
37. Who created Batman?
38. What was the name of the first full-length talking movie?
39. What is the name of the famous painting of a pitchfork-holding farmer and his spinster daughter?
40. What famous investor is known as the “Oracle of Omaha?”
41. What year did the American Revolutionary War start and what year did it officially end?
42. What was the name of the plan the Germans devised to win a two-front war in World War I?
43. What was the middle name of Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared without a trace on July 30, 1975?
44. What year did the Brooklyn Bridge open?
45. What year was the Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand?
46. What is glossophobia?
47. What was the name of Ernest Hemingway’s book on the sport and traditions of bullfighting?
48. Who were the founders of Nike?
49. In Greek mythology, what is Nike the goddess of?
50. Who was the first professional athlete to sign with Nike?
51. Who invented dynamite?
52. Who is the only New York Yankee to collect more than 3,000 hits?
53. What horse was the last Triple Crown champion?
54. What was J.C. Penney’s middle name?
55. Who played George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life?
56. What was the name of the tour that Michael Jackson was preparing for when he died June 25, 2009?
57. Who were the famous running tandem at Army nicknamed Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside?
58. Who is the author of Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass?
59. What percentage of profits does Arthur Fry receive from the 3M Company for inventing Post-Its? 1%, 5%, or 10%?
60. What architect designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao Spain, the Experience Music Project in Seattle, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles?
61. Name the author of the Twilight book series.
62. Which cookie celebrated its centennial in 2012?
63. What comedian intentionally mangled the singing of the national anthem before the start of a San Diego Padres baseball game on July 25, 1990?
64. Who is credited with naming the “Super Bowl?”
65. What condition was ophthalmologist Dr. Alan B. Scott trying to cure when he invented Botox?
66. Who invented the air conditioner?
67. What is the name of the university where Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman coached?
68. What was the name of the first successfully powered aircraft designed and built by the Wright brothers?
69. Who defeated the great Carthaginian general Hannibal at the battle of Zama in 202 BC?
70. What year did Disneyland open?
71. Where did the first Holiday Inn open?
72. What Yale-educated female inventor created disposable diapers?
73. Who founded Federal Express in 1971 because he believed that there were enough people willing to pay 25 times more than the cost of a postage stamp to get a letter or package delivered “absolutely, positively overnight?”
74. What does URL stand for?
75. What is the name of the first hotel in the world to feature an outside elevator?
76. Who was the Greek mythological figure who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans?
77. What is the name of the famous painting by Pablo Picasso that shows the horror of the Spanish Civil War?
78. Whose house, at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif., is considered “the birthplace of Silicon Valley?”
79. Who conceived the idea of building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.?
80. Where was C.S. Lewis, author of The Screwtape Letters and The Chronicles of Narnia, born?
81. Who founded IBM?
82. What English naval hero died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805?
83. Who founded the Methodist movement?
84. What retail price did Apple cofounders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak set for their first computer, the Apple I?
85. What two famous American frontiersmen died defending the Alamo in 1836?
86. Which computer mogul was the first to rack up more than $1 million in online sales?
87. Who designed New York City’s Central Park?
88. “My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference!” Which president said it?
89. Who was Luke Skywalker’s teacher?
90. What famous brothers accidentally discovered how to turn kernels of wheat into flakes in 1894?
91. Where is the cereal capital of the world?
92. What is the largest car rental company in North America today?
93. What was the name of Sir Isaac Newton’s famous book?
94. Who hosted People are Funny and House Party?
95. Who played Tom Joad in the movie, The Grapes of Wrath?
96. Whose Outline of History outsold all his famous fiction works combined?
97. Who created The Simpsons?
98. What was comic George Burns’ age when he died in 1996?
99. What did Sally Ride want to do professionally before she became the first American woman in space?
100. What does the “WD” in WD-40 stand for?
101. Who founded the Sierra Club?
102. Who is the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner?
103. Who was Henry VIII’s second wife?
104. Who was the first person to walk on the moon?
105. How old was Ben Franklin when he ran away from home?
106. Who authored Walden Pond?
107. What Triple Crown winner did Seabiscuit beat in their famous 1938 match race?
108. What is the only religious faith established by a woman?
109. How many pictures did Van Gogh sell in his lifetime?
110. How old was Ronald Reagan when he became president?
111. Which of the major television networks is known as the “Tiffany” network?
112. Emily Dickinson wrote more than 1,800 poems. How many were published in her lifetime? Fewer than a dozen? Fewer than 50? Fewer than 100?
113. Who was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence?
114. In what city is the Doors’ Jim Morrison buried?
115. What subject did Galileo pursue after dropping out of med school?
116. Which country did the first Rin Tin Tin come from?
117. What two teams did quarterback Kurt Warner lead to the Super Bowl?
118. What astronomical salary did Henry Ford pay his workers in 1914?
119. Who is the composer of the Messiah?
120. Where was the “shot heard ‘round the world,” starting the American Revolution, fired?
121. What is the name of the salesman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman?
122. What is the name of the hero in Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel?
123. Who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin?
124. Who started the Braille Institute of America?
125. What does the Japanese word, kaizen, mean in English?
126. What is the name of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ astronaut husband?
127. What was the name of Alexander the Great’s horse?
128. What instrument did Orpheus, the Greek poet and prophet, play?
129. What was the date of General Lee’s surrender, marking the end of the U.S. Civil War?
130. What was the date of President Lincoln’s assassination?
131. At what age did Beethoven, Julius Caesar, Betty Grable, Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, and poet Alexander Pope die?
132. How long did the Wright brothers’ Flyer stay aloft on its maiden voyage?
133. “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Who said it?
134. What college did Helen Keller graduate from?
135. What does Parkinson’s Law say?
136. What is the Rule of 72?
137. At what age did Warren Buffet file his first tax return?
138. What was the age of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison when they died?
139. What Lakota Indian chief did Korczak Ziolkowski choose to honor by starting the construction of a massive stone monument in 1948 in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a project that continues to this day?
140. What famous baseball player was known as the Yankee Clipper before he became “Mr. Coffee?”
141. Who was the first person to apply the word “cell” to the basic unit of life?
142. What percent of the total mass of our solar system does the sun make up?
143. What famous French scientist, who coined the words “oxygen” and “hydrogen” was guillotined during the Reign of Terror?
144. How long did Louis XIV rule France?
145. How long did Queen Victoria reign?
146. How many wives did Brigham Young have?
147. Who created YouTube?
148. What was the “miracle year” that Einstein produced his theory of special relativity?
149. “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, then they can sure make something out of you.” Who said it?
150. In what city was the Constitutional Convention held in 1787?
1. Michelangelo died 1564 and Galileo and William Shakespeare were born in 1564.
2. Adolf Hitler and Charlie Chaplin were born in 1889.
3. 1/400th of 1 percent
5. A hummingbird
6. Longer than 100 years (1337-1453)
7. The Republic of Genoa in what today is Italy
8. Less than a year (September 5, 1993 – July 28, 1794)
10. Marie Curie
11. Black Friday
12. The Plague in 1665 and The Great Fire of London in 1666
13. Pompeii and Herculaneum
14. Mary Shelley
16. Prohibition enforcement officer
17. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton
19. Peter Drucker
20. He has played in five and won three.
23. Gavrilo Princip
24. Giuseppe Zangara
25. Quincy Jones
26. Lake Tear of the Clouds
27. Lake Itasca
28. 700 wives
29. George Bernard Shaw
30. No. 42
32. Juliette Gordon Low
35. West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965)
36. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
37. Bob Kane
38. The Jazz Singer
39. American Gothic
40. Warren Buffett
42. Schlieffen Plan
46. Fear of public speaking
47. Death in the Afternoon
48. Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight
50. Ilie Nastase
51. Alfred Nobel
52. Derek Jeter
55. Jimmy Stewart
56. This Is It
57. Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard
58. Lewis Carroll
59. One percent
60. Frank Gehry
61. Stephenie Meyer
63. Roseanne Barr
64. Lamar Hunt
65. Strabismus, aka crossed-eyes
66. Willis Carrier
67. University of Oregon
68. Flyer I
69. Scipio the Elder
71. Memphis, Tenn.
72. Marion Donovan
73. Fred Smith
74. Universal Resource Locator
75. El Cortez in San Diego, Calif.
78. David Packard
79. Jan Scruggs
80. Belfast, Ireland
81. Thomas Watson
82. Horatio Nelson
83. John Wesley
85. Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie
86. Michael Dell
87. Frederick Law Olmstead
88. Harry Truman
89. Obi-Wan Kenobi
90. Will and John Kellogg
91. Battle Creek, Mich.
94. Art Linkletter
95. Henry Fonda
96. H.G. Wells
97. Matt Groening
99. Play professional tennis
100. Water Displacement
101. John Muir
102. Archie Griffin
103. Anne Boleyn
104. Neil Armstrong
106. Henry David Thoreau
107. War Admiral
108. Christian Science
112. Fewer than a dozen
113. John Hancock
117. St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals
118. $5 a day
119. George Frederic Handel
120. Lexington, Mass.
121. Willy Loman
122. Jean Valjean
123. Harriet Beecher Stowe
124. John Atkinson
125. Continuous improvement
126. Mark Kelley
129. April 9, 1865
130. April 15, 1865
131. Age 56
132. 12 seconds
133. Wayne Gretzky
135. Expenses rise as income rises
136. To find the number of years it takes to double your money, divide 72 by the interest rate. So, if you invested $5,000 today at 6 percent, you’ll have $10,000 in 12 years (72 / 6 = 12).
137. Age 13
139. Crazy Horse
140. Joe DiMaggio
141. Robert Hooke
143. Antoine Lavoisier
144. 72 years
145. 64 years
146. 55 wives
147. Chad Hurley and Steve Chin
149. Muhammad Ali
Questions and answers furnished from Life Lessons of a Harvard Reject, due out September 1.