Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich (1983 ed.)

What, you aren’t rich?  Well, you’re not thinking enough!

Shockingly, this book still is in print and people are buying it.  Some 600+ believers have reviewed it at

This, despite all appearances that Mr. Hill was nuts.  In his chapter on “the sixth sense” he describes how he would improve himself by regularly imagining himself holding cabinet meeting with GREAT MEN like Abraham Lincoln and Ralph Waldo Emerson. So vivid was his imagination, that these specters became REAL to him, and “each of these nine men developed individual characteristics… For example, Lincoln developed a habit of always being late, and then walking around in solemn parade…. Burbank and Paine often engaged in witty repartee which seemed, at time, to shock the other members of the cabinet.”

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Steve Ettlinger, Twinkie, Deconstructed (2007)

Mind you this excerpt comes from a book about food: “BASF makes diacetyl and tens of thousands of other chemicals at its headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany… BASF probably takes butane, a natural gas component, and processes it…” The ludicrously long subtitle of this book is, “My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats.”

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Andre de Guillaume, How to Rule the World: A Handbook for the Aspiring Dictator (2005)

Obviously, the first thing a would-be Saddam or Baby Doc needs is a military officer’s uniform with plenty of ribbons and medals for deeds not done.

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The World’s Tackiest Postcards (1988)

Aaaah, the late 1980s—when the kitsch as funny movement began. Now, kitsch is uber popular but motivated by a nasty, nihilistic irony. Anyhoo, you can return to those more innocent days by snatching up a copy of this 15-page, spiral-bound beauty. The Del-Ray Motel postcard below is an example of what’s inside.

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R. Bruce Hoadley, Identifying Wood (1990)

“Yup, it’s wood. Thought it might be brass. But it ain’t.”  Quoth the publisher: “With a naked eye or microscope you will be able to identify 180 hardwoods, softwoods and tropical woods by following the straightforward techniques described in this text.”  Master this skill—and it is a skill—and you’ll be the life of the party.  Really.

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Legendary Abs (1981)

Today, folks talk of “toning their cores.”  Back in the day the anxiety was more honest—“beer bellies” and “fat guts” were the problem. And it was for these shamed souls the Health for Life company produce Legendary Abs.  No, it wasn’t enough to promise folks a healthy or fat-free midrift.  Instead, this trim booklet said it could make your gut the stuff of sagas.  The secret was to do belly exercises (like ab cramps)  in such a sequence so as to produce muscular “synergy.”  The company appears to have gone out of business by the early 1990s—color us shocked.

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J. Maarten Troost, The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific (2004)

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James H. Boren, When In Doubt, Mumble (1972)

Wait until the Tea Party sees this one!

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David Rees, How to Sharpen Pencils (2012)

You need this forthcoming book because, well… (we’re still thinking.)

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Frederick M. Beyerlein, Drink As Much As You Want and Live Longer (1999)

So sayeth Mssr. Beyerlein in an interview: “Drinking no longer has to be a losing proposition.” Wooo-hooo!

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