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Video: 'Intellectual Devotional' offers wisdom

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    >>> too. we'll see you soon.

    >>> did you know that before he was president, abraham lincoln worked on a riverboat and sold liquor?

    >> fascinating or that queen elizabeth i was 25 when she became a queen? the intellectual devotional, latest edition features a wide range of fascinating biographies, former member of the "today" family. nice to welcome you back, noah.

    >> nice to be back.

    >> fifth volume in the series that you've done. you fashioned it so that every day a person could read and gain a little bit of knowledge. and are you trying to smarten up america? is that your idea?

    >> what we're trying to do is give people information that's accessible and fits into the schedules we all have nowadays that don't really allow us to read 600-page tomes. one a day, five minutes before bed or when you get up or any time of day. you learn something interesting.

    >> speebing of interesting, here you have 365 fascinating biographies. how did you choose? from jesus to jerry falwell .

    >> we tried to reflect a diversity of personalities across all different kinds of fields. people who led military campaigns, inventors, we've got phil philosophers, villains in history. 365 of the most fascinating.

    >> cultural.

    >> yeah.

    >> people can use this material to kind of create their own testing games, as you apparently want to do this morning.

    >> well, apparently we're going to do like a little game show action here, exactly.

    >> let's go.

    >> we don't have any buzzers.

    >> i'll try to replicate the sound effects .

    >> that's okay.

    >> question number one after john lennon formed the beatles, what was their first song in 1962 ?

    >> can't buy me love would be my guess.

    >> both wrong. love me do. lot of people don't know that. john lennon , one of the most iconic figures in modern music and culture. lot of interesting things about john lennon . the song "imagine" most closely associated with him, was not a number one song when it was first released, only hit number one when he was tragically killed. lot of interesting trivia about lennon and the beatles.

    >> okay.

    >> number two, what was mother theresa 's original given first name.

    >> i know this one.

    >> i won't read the choices.

    >> i know her name was agnes, born in yugoslavia and she was phenomenal.

    >> i've got nothing to share then. yes, she was born in macedonia, former part of yugoslavia, moved to ireland when she was 15 to join a religious order and a tremendous 20th century figure.

    >> one of the greatest human beings who ever lived. i think we have time for one more.

    >> i'll make it a good one.

    >> okay.

    >> or the next one at least. who was the only person to be queen of both france and england? that's a tough one.

    >> eleanor of aquitaine.

    >> correct, natalie. married to the king of france , divorced him, and married the king of england . walt disney , audrey hepburn and george w. bush are included in her descend enters.

    >> fascinating.

    >> i can't wait to read the 363 others we didn't get to. or 362.

    >> congratulations. really great to see you.

    >> you, too.

    >> we wish you so much more success. "the inspirational devotional." take the quiz on todayshow.com.

TODAY books
updated 5/21/2010 4:38:51 PM ET 2010-05-21T20:38:51

"The Intellectual Devotional Biographies," the fifth installment of the series by David Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim, features 365 captivating entries about the most celebrated personalities in history.

Take this quiz and see how much you know.

Quiz excerpted from "The Intellectual Devotional Biographies" by David Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim. Copyright (c) 2010, reprinted with permission from Rodale Books.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive

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