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Archive for Saturday, September 24, 2005

Jeopardy’ winner says learning crucial

September 24, 2005

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— Ken Jennings, whose quick recall of a vast array of information made him a wealthy man as the all-time champion on television's "Jeopardy!" game show, says it's important for people to keep learning things throughout their lives.

"We call this kind of knowledge trivia as if it were trivial or unimportant," Jennings said Thursday night at Pittsburg State University, one of a series of college stops he has been making in the wake of the celebrity he won last year. "Knowing stuff about the world around you, it really changes the way you live your life."

Jennings said learning can help people connect and build relationships with others.

"Trivia can pay off in many different ways and sometimes hold a person back when there is something unknown," he said. "It makes you enjoy things more. It makes it easier to know other people. I think sometimes that information comes in handy."

Jennings won more than $2.5 million during his 74-game "Jeopardy!" win streak.

"After I lost, there was a flicker of disappointment and then suddenly, it was an incredible relief," he said. "I realized I'd been in this incredible suspense for six months not knowing what was going to happen. To know I could finally go back home with my family and the ride was over was actually a relief."

Jennings, a computer programmer from Utah, remains on leave from his job while making the rounds on the college speaking circuit, working on a book and developing a TV game show.

The book, about the history and culture of trivia, is due to be published by Random House next year.

The television show would be called "Ken Jennings Versus the Rest of the World," and he said he hopes to have that on the Comedy Central cable channel, also some time next year.

On Thursday night, he matched wits in a 10-question quiz with Bob Ratzlaff, Pittsburg State's academic affairs vice president, and Andrew Johnson, a senior at the school. Not surprisingly, he blew them away, getting five correct answers to one each for his competitors.

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