GOOD ADVICE FROM BAD PEOPLE
I’ve already told you about Zac Bissonnette’s Good Advice from Bad People: Selected Wisdom from Murderers, Stock Swindlers, and Lance Armstrong. It’s got only 4 stars on Amazon, dragged down by this 2-star review:
This book is certainly amusing. The writing is crisp and stylish, with a keen ironic edge and plenty of wit. The best entries are thought-provoking as well. Without ever becoming didactic, the author skillfully suggests interesting questions. Is the problem with us for celebrating fraudulent or shallow people? Or with them for hypocrisy? Or is the problem that we don’t really know what good advice is, accepting easy platitudes over useful wisdom that real people can apply? . . .
(The reviewer goes on to blast Zac for being too tough on people who are “tainted,” certainly, but not outright “bad.” Fair enough. No one ever accused Zac of excessive charity toward his fellow man.)
So that’s the outlier bad review on Amazon — “amusing, crisp, stylish, with a keen ironic edge.” I would kill for bad reviews like that. (One of mine on Amazon — 1 star, not 2 — concludes: “I bought a remaindered copy of this book, but even at that it was too expensive.”)
Here is a rave in The Guardian that makes great reading.
Might this be the perfect graduation gift? (Well, along with the car or the trip to Europe or whatever the hell you got yourself roped into years ago when you never dreamed she or he actually would make honor roll.)
Actually, if you find yourself in that spot — you had had a little to drink when you made the promise, and you weren’t sure your child was even listening, for crying out loud, let alone would have made a contemporaneous note of it in his or her diary that could now be used as credible evidence if the matter were ever litigated (you didn’t even know she was keeping a diary!) — there’s a possible way out:
Double or nothing.
If they agree to take this quiz:
This has been careening around the Internet (thanks, Mel!). Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, I have sobering news for you: you will fail. And so will your honor-roll graduating senior. I sure did.
New Senior’s Exam: You only need 4 correct out of 10 questions to pass.
1) How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get cat gut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI’s first name?
8) What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?
Remember, you need only 4 correct answers to pass.
Check your answers below …
ANSWERS TO THE QUIZ
1) How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years
2) Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador
3) From which animal do we get cat gut? Sheep and Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November
5) What is a camel’s hair brush made of? Squirrel fur
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs
7) What was King George VI’s first name? Albert
8) What color is a purple finch? Crimson
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange (of course)
You can still give your kid — who just lost his brand new lime green Chevy Spark — Zac’s book. He will think of you as a bad person and you can give him this good advice: “Never take a bet that looks too goods to be true.”