The Pun Also Rises

John Pollack

“He tells us, with a clarity unusual for the subject, how the mind works...”

P.J. O'Rourke, The New York Times

The Pun Also Rises is a brief but compelling exegesis on what puns are and why they matter.”


“The best books on language are the ones that encourage us to reexamine what we think we know, and The Pun Also Rises, a new book on “the lowest form of wit,” does exactly that.”

The Boston Globe

O. Henry Pun-Off World Champion John Pollack’s new book The Pun Also Rises lives up to its ambitious subtitle...”

Huffington Post

“It’s fascinating and funny...”

Brave New Words

The Pun Also Rises is refreshingly witty, intelligent, and informative...”


“Whether you are a practicing punster, interested in language or just hungry to learn something on the beach this summer as you lie on the sand-which-is there...Pollack’s book is fun and informative.”

Detroit Free Press

“[A]n engrossing history of the pun...”

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“If you're at all interested in language, and how it has shaped humanity, read this book. You won't be disappointed.”

Reading Through Life

The Pun Also Rises is one of those simple pleasures of the book world: a thoroughly entertaining book that's also academic, so you can feel smart and learn new jokes at the same time.”

The Huntsville Item

“It's a fascinating history, and the book is an awful lot of fun.”

Joe Donahue, WAMC

“ entertaining and illuminating exploration of how wordplay evolved to be much more than a cheap linguistic thrill or the product of bottom-feeder copywriters. Pollack, a former presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton, tackles the subject with equal parts cultural irreverence and linguistic rigor.”

Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

The Pun Also Rises is a riveting and amusing read for anybody who is interested in wordplay or in having a deeper understanding of how humanity has stretched a limited set of sounds to encompass a limitless supply of concepts and ideas. It is also an ideal primer for the novice punster and a brilliant retort to any who may doubt the creative brilliance of the pun.”

Shannon Hopkins,

“A fun, cogent argument in favor of a dubious, often-damned art.”


“In The Pun Also Rises, John Pollack stirs the brain and tickles the funny bone with rewording insights into why the pun is dramatically rising in our culture. We discover that the much maligned pun is, in truth, much aligned language in which two or more meanings occupy the same verbal space at the same time. With dazzling whiz and witdom, the author illuminates how the pun has made us who we are today.”

Richard Lederer, International Punster of the Year and author of Get Thee to a Punnery

“With his compelling narrative style, Pollack unearths hard evidence to bolster his case for the legitimacy of the noble pun as much more than a literary step-child or linguistic anomaly. As a practitioner of the art and artifice of wordplay himself, John naturally dedicates a bit of spice to peppering and assaulting us with a few subtle zingers of his zone.”

Gary Hallock, producer of the O.Henry Pun-Off World Championships


Ben Schott, author of Schott’s Original Miscellany