Value-subtracted manufacturing

Last month I grumbled a bit about a rather lengthy piece of spam that embedded a paragraph from Wikipedia in its otherwise-nondescript verbiage, the better to get past Bayesian filters and such. It would, I admit, never have occurred to me that this practice had been raised to a higher level, so to speak:

Last October 24 the brilliant Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. And on the same day another book was also published, by an alleged publisher called CreateSpace: It was called Fast and Slow Thinking, and advertised as having an author named Karl Daniels. Only it is not really a book. It is a compilation of snippets from Wikipedia articles and the like, dressed up like a book.

Amazon reviewers so far have been unanimous in their scorn for the book — nine reviews, a total of nine stars, as low as you can go — though one fellow did find some redeeming social value in it:

What you really need is a book you don’t care about, that’s worthless, and ideally, is a convenient size for squishing spiders with.

That’s where this paperback edition of Fast and Slow Thinking by Karl Daniels really shines. It’s a small size with a decent amount of weight, perfectly sized for medium to small hands. It’s reasonably well balanced for emergency throws (when you can’t be bothered to get off the sofa, for those hard-to-reach spiders, or for “runners.”) I appreciated the glossy cover, which makes it easy to wipe the legs and squishy innards off later. Since you’ll never want to read it, you won’t feel bad for soiling it.

At this writing, the Daniels “book” is out of stock. Must be a lot of spiders in the nation’s living rooms.

Addendum: Perfect Fark blurb: No, no, Dickens wrote David Copperfield with two Ps. This is David Coperfield with one P by Edmund Wells.


  1. fillyjonk »

    13 April 2012 · 10:09 am

    Hrm. I wonder what Wikipedia has to say about Intellectual Property?

    Also, that review reminds me of a Dorothy Parker comment: “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

    (I don’t think Mrs. Parker would have liked me much, for some reason, but I do enjoy a lot of her comments.)

  2. CGHill »

    13 April 2012 · 10:37 am

    Generally, Wikipedia articles fall under Creative Commons/ShareAlike licensing: you can use them, but you must distribute whatever product you make from them under the same license. I’m pretty sure this does not permit reprinting them unattributed in a book issued presumably for profit.

RSS feed for comments on this post