Prisoner of Trebekistan by Bob Harris
A Decade in Jeopardy!

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A.: This is the story of a working-class guy from Ohio with little real knowledge of Ambidextrous Presidents, Things Made from Rubber, and hundreds of other categories, but who nonetheless plunges so far into cramming for Jeopardy! that it changes his relationships, bends his worldview, and literally leads him to the ends of the earth, trying to understand it all.

Q.: What is Prisoner of Trebekistan?

Welcome to a world where obscure information is crucial to survival, vast sums of cash are at stake, and milliseconds can change not just a game but the course of your entire life. (Plus, you could win two Camaros and enough Bon Ami cleanser to scrub a small nation.)

Prisoner of Trebekistan is Bob Harris’s hilarious, insightful account of one man’s unlikely epic journey through Jeopardy!, gleefully exploring triumph and failure, the nature of memory, and how knowledge itself can transform you in unpredictable ways—all against the backdrop of the most popular quiz show in history.

In Prisoner of Trebekistan, Bob chronicles his transformation from a struggling stand-up comic who repeatedly fails the Jeopardy! audition test into an elite player competing against the show’s most powerful brains. To get there, he embarks on a series of intense study sessions, using his sense of humor to transform conventional memory skills into a refreshingly playful approach to learning that’s as amusing as it is powerful.

What follows is not only a captivating series of high-stakes wins and losses on Jeopardy!, but also a growing appreciation of a borderless world that Bob calls Trebekistan, where a love of learning reigns and the smarter you get the more you realize how much you don’t yet know.

Filled with secrets that only a veteran contestant could share—from counterintuitive game strategies to Jedi-like tactics with the Jeopardy! signaling device—Prisoner of Trebekistan also gives you the chance to play along with the actual clues that led to victory or defeat in high-level tournaments, plus candid, moving reflections on how the games affected Bob’s offstage life—and vice versa.

Not only an irresistible treat for Jeopardy! fans, Prisoner of Trebekistan is a delight for anyone who loves a rollicking tale that celebrates the unpredictability of life and the sneaky way it has of teaching us the things that really matter.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Bob Harris

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Bob Harris has had a diverse career as a TV writer, TV and radio personality, and political columnist. He has appeared on Jeopardy! thirteen times, staging some of the most memorable upsets and collapses in the show's history. His first book, Prisoner of Trebekistan, chronicling his Jeopardy! experience, was widely praised, as was his second, Who Hates Whom, a pocket summary of more than 30 conflicts around the world. He holds an honors degree in electrical engineering and applied physics from Case Western Reserve University. Bob lives in Los Angeles. Visit his website at
Published September 5, 2006 by Crown. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Prisoner of Trebekistan

Kirkus Reviews

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The category is books by former champion players of the long-running game show Jeopardy!

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Publishers Weekly

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In this eccentric, energetic and engaging memoir of his long run on America's favorite television quiz show, Harris, a former standup comedian and current comedy writer, gives readers the lowdown on life as "one of the show's big winners—and big losers."

Jul 17 2006 | Read Full Review of Prisoner of Trebekistan: A De...

Entertainment Weekly

(Remarkably, it appears simultaneously with another good Jeopardy!-inspired book, Brainiac by Ken Jennings, who ran off an unprecedented 74-game, $2.5 million winning streak on the show in 2004.) For Harris, an L.A.-based serial dater who's written for CSI, being on Jeopardy!

Sep 13 2006 | Read Full Review of Prisoner of Trebekistan: A De...

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