Three silly books for the holiday weekend

In the US, Monday is Labor Day, so many of us are off work. So here’s a book review of three very silly books in case anyone’s reading Ask Moxie this weekend, or wants to read a goofy book this weekend.

Silly book #1 is It’s a Guy Thing by Scott Seegert, and I can’t think of a book that lives up to its name so exactly. Seegert has gone through patent application records and chosen the most useless, ridiculous, jejeune, nonsensical, dangerous patent applications over the past several hundred years, and put them together with explanations, illustrations, and commentary. To be honest, I found this book kind of dumb. But it was sitting on the corner of my desk at work, and literally all the men who walked by my desk stopped, picked it up, flipped through, started laughing, and then asked the other guys in the room if they’d read one or another of the patent applications. It was a universal man-pleaser. So I’d say maybe no for your female friends and relatives, but if you’re looking for something goofy for your brother-in-law, this is probably your book.

Silly book #2 is Cube Monkeys: A Handbook for Surviving the Office Jungle by the Editors of I’m hoping everyone looking for serious career advice takes note of the monkeys wearing business clothes on the cover and moves on, because this book is Not At All Serious. And it’s very snarky and cynical. It’s in the same spirit as Dilbert and the movies Office Space (I’m just going to need you to go ahead and rent this movie if you haven’t seen it) and 9 to 5 (every working woman should know this movie), but broader in humor style. Kind of like the movie Brazil crossed with Tom Bergeron’s jokes on "America’s Funniest Home Videos." Or the US version of The Office, but with Bruce Vilanch in place of Jim.

Silly book #3 is a classic: The Lazlo Letters by Don Novello. Much imitated by never equaled, the book is a collection of letters Don Novello wrote to important people (under the name Lazlo Toth) asking them utterly ridiculous questions about their products. The book contains the letters and the responses he received from famous politicians of the time and business leaders (almost everyone takes him at face value and answers earnestly). Lazlo Toth is the grandfather of Ali G and Borat–even more hilarious, but more good-natured and freewheeling. This is one of the books I’d take to a desert island.

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