The Jottery: Thought Experiments For Everyday Philosophers And Part-time Geniuses

Paperback | May 5, 2015

byAndy Selsberg

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In The Jottery, you'll find a series of prompts, suggestions, commands, and questions that are intended to cause neurons to fire and a spectrum of ideas to surface--possibly good, potentially useful, conceivably profitable, maybe illuminating, and hopefully amusing. There's also a chance you'll come up with nothing, and experience a beautiful "idea-lessness" that would be the envy of Zen monks everywhere. Also a win.

Think of this as The Book of Questions for creative types, from writers and artists, to idea gurus and daydreamers, perfect for writing classes, train rides, parties, meditation retreats, game nights, insomnia bouts, lulls in dates or low points in relationships, company brainstorming meetings, waiting rooms, therapy sessions, and more. The dozens of ingenious prompts include:
  • You create something called Soul Lotion. What are the best places to rub it? (Don’t limit your answer to human body parts.)
  • You're commissioned to design a bridge to nowhere. Briefly describe possible nowheres you might build it to.
  • Where did the fun go? Suggest four hyper-specific places. If you do manage to track the fun down and tie it to a chair, what do you do or do with it?
  • You're commissioned to write a pilot script for a post-apocalyptic sitcom. It’s based not on the next post-apocalyptic period, but the one after that, after a new civilization arises and collapses. What are seven things you do to celebrate this cool new job?
  • You design vending machines that sell things that are not physical objects. Like what? And for how much?
  • List twelve things you can have instead of “it all.”
  • List a handful of elevator tension-breakers, and a handful of elevator tension-makers.

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From the Publisher

In The Jottery, you'll find a series of prompts, suggestions, commands, and questions that are intended to cause neurons to fire and a spectrum of ideas to surface--possibly good, potentially useful, conceivably profitable, maybe illuminating, and hopefully amusing. There's also a chance you'll come up with nothing, and experience a be...

Andy Selsberg is a former staff writer for the Onion, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, the Village Voice, Salon, the Oxford American, and the Believer, among other publications. He is the author of You Are Good at Things and Dear Old Love.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 6.97 × 4.97 × 0.56 inPublished:May 5, 2015Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0399171460

ISBN - 13:9780399171468

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Read from the Book

The Jottery: It’s where your best thinking happens. Maybe it’s a coffee shop. The corner stool at your local pub. A bench on an inspiring section of sidewalk. A booth at the diner. The back of a classroom with great windows. The right seat on the right train. A drive up Sweetview Avenue. In bed just before sleep. The ledge of the mall fountain. The line at a taco stand. The waiting room at your therapist’s . . .The kind of place that makes you want to jot it all down, where you feel like you’re on the verge of breakthrough thoughts.What follows are hundreds of prompts, suggestions, commands, and questions that are built to transport you to the choicest spot at The Jottery, to incite that Great Idea Feeling wherever you are.People often ask creative people, “Where do your ideas come from?” They wasted their question. Where ideas come from is no mystery. They come from interacting with this book!Here are some practical ways to interact with The Jottery:   • For inspiration on a project: a novel, a sculpture, a business plan, a self-improvement initiative   • To fire up classrooms, in particular composition or creative writing classes   • As mind expanders at the next corporate retreat   • In place of crossword or other mind puzzles   • Over a bottle of wine on game night   • To get you and your crew out of an intellectual rut   • To fill in some of those down hours on datesWhile many of the prompts here suggest specific numbers (for example, “If you had cheek pockets, what are twelve things you’d be storing in your cheeks right now?”), don’t feel obligated to come up with that exact number. They’re only suggestions. And you don’t have to jot your answers down in pen or pencil. You can jot them down in spirit. These are supposed to be challenging. (Don’t try to do them all at once.) If they were too easy, they wouldn’t be exhilarating. This is like an ultramarathon of creative exercises. It’s for pushing your mind places you didn’t think it could go.If you use this book properly, or even improperly, you should end up with a bunch of possibly good, potentially useful, conceivably profitable, maybe illuminating, hopefully amusing ideas. There is also a chance you’ll come up with nothing, and experience a beautiful idealessness that would be the envy of Zen monks everywhere. Also a win.Note that this eBook is not interactive, so make sure to have a pen and paper handy to jot down all of your inspired ideas!Jot on.