Jottery, by Andy Selsberg (book review) – peruse, think, write, repeat

book cover of The Jottery by Andy Selsberg published by PerigeeQuestions to ponder,
unusual lists to make,
brain bits to shift around…

“This guy writes for The Onion?”  Hmm…maybe the review copy being sent to me was a parody or a one-off book of weird lists. Nope.

This book actually contains writing prompts ranging from the profound – “‘Greatness isn’t as great as you think,’ someone great tells you. What are three ways you could prove them wrong?” (p.169) –

to the offbeat – “A colleague has written ‘1,001 Uses for Human Saliva.’ Somehow, it is your duty to come up with uses 1,002 through 1,012.” (p. 117) –

to the sublime – “You’re at peace. Now what?” (p. 29)

More than once while reading it, I found myself looking out the window and mentally writing a list, holding my place in the book with whatever I had at hand, including my hand.

Head to The Jottery and spice up your meditation life, journal entries, blog posts, and boring parties. Just published this week

So, what is reason 1,002?

Book info: The Jottery: Thought Experiments for Everyday Philosophers and Part-Time Geniuses / Andy Selsberg. Perigee Books, 2015. [author Twitter]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Metaphysical questions with a wry twist and writing prompts way beyond what most writing teachers throw at you are The Jottery‘s stock-in-trade, as The Onion  writer Selsberg gets somewhat serious with this book that will make you think and laugh and think some more.

Its subtitle explains the book’s purpose well: “Thought Experiments for Everyday Philosophers and Part-Time Geniuses” with myriad list-ideas and ‘what’s all that about?’ questions to liven up a dull evening, jumpstart the college entrance essay of the century, or get you pondering beyond the path you usually tread.

“Suggest fifteen endings for the sentence, ‘This is the year I _____ !'” (p. 69) and “Name three appropriate ways to honor the inventor of the armrest, and three inappropriate ways.” (p. 20) are among the hundreds of thought-starters in The Jottery.

So get your copy, then start at the end “List nine things the journey of a thousand miles begins with, besides a single step” (p. 218) as you stretch your philosophical muscles and refresh your mental gears. (One of 6,000 books recommended on

What do you think?

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