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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review: The Jottery: Thought Experiments for Everyday Philosophers and Part-Time Geniuses by Andy Selsberg

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Title: The Jottery
Author: Andy Selsberg
Publisher: Perigee
Pub. Date: May 5th, 2015
Genre: Nonfiction; Self-Help
Rec. Age Level: 18+
Pages: 224
More by this author: You Are Good At Things

In The Jottery, you'll find a series of prompts, suggestions, commands, and questions that are intended to cause neurons to fire and a spectrum of ideas to surface--possibly good, potentially useful, conceivably profitable, maybe illuminating, and hopefully amusing. There's also a chance you'll come up with nothing, and experience a beautiful "idea-lessness" that would be the envy of Zen monks everywhere. Also a win.

Think of this as The Book of Questions for creative types, from writers and artists, to idea gurus and daydreamers, perfect for writing classes, train rides, parties, meditation retreats, game nights, insomnia bouts, lulls in dates or low points in relationships, company brainstorming meetings, waiting rooms, therapy sessions, and more.
This book is so much fun! It contains page after page of unique, thought-provoking, often unusual questions and ideas that will force you to think outside of the lines in creative and, sometimes, unexpected ways.

Though this book is technically recommended for ages 18 and up, I see no reason why it couldn't be used with teens 14+, especially if an adult is reading the questions out loud. That way, if there is an inappropriate prompt, it can be skipped. 

There is room to write responses and thoughts after each prompt, which will be great for some readers, but I preferred reading the prompts aloud to family and friends and comparing responses. I could easily see this book being pulled out during gatherings and passed around.

Some of my favorite prompts include:
"You ain't got nothing on me!" you yell. List seven things they in fact do have on you.
You gain a new perspective. What are some things you miss about the old perspective?
Your opponents think they're about to defeat you. You ominously announce, "You forgot about just one thing." List some things your opponents may have forgotten about.
Someone assures you that whatever one worries about almost never comes to pass. What do you start strategically worrying about?
Come up with four technically honest excuses for not reading a friend's book.
Addicted? Pick up The Jottery for many, many more crazy prompts and conversation starters!

Highly recommended.


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