16 January 2012

7. The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything

The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything - Mark Reiter and Richard Sandomir

This book shows me the most awesome idea I have seen in a long time. What is your favorite movie? What is your favorite restaurant? What is your favorite anything? This book shows a way to reach a definitive, once-and-for-all answer to all of those questions.

"What is enlightenment?

Better question: What is Bracketology?

Bracketology is a way of seeing the world so that we can become more enlightened- about what we like, favor, prefer, abhor, or abjure. It is a system that helps us make clearer and cleaner decisions about what is good, better, best in our world."

"Bracketology- the practice of parsing people, places and things into discrete one-on-one match ups to determine which of the two is superior or preferable- works because it is simple."

I had this book on the counter when friends came over this weekend. We made some brackets to figure out "what sucks the most" just for fun. It really was fun going match up for match up and figuring out why a hangnail sucks more than running out of gas, or vice-versa. Between the tree of us we came up with different answers to what sucks the most. There winners were terrorists, cancer and the IRS freezing your bank accounts. The process of reaching those conclusions from the beginning 32 sucky things was a lot of fun.

Later I took that a step further knowing I was going to be blogging about this book. I created a single elimination bracket of 128 books I liked. What would be my favorite book when they are all pitted in head-to-head?

There were some very tough decisions along the way. There were also some no brainers. It is easy to say "Slaughterhouse 5" beats "Logan's Run". It is not so easy when "The Great Gatsby" and "Into The Wild" meet in the sweet 16. That was one of the hardest decisions. I went with "Into The Wild" after much thought. I still wrestle with that one.

"Darkness At Noon" beat out "Shutter Island" then lost the next round to "The Kite Runner", which in turn lost in the following round to "Lolita". Any one of those four is an outstanding book. It stinks to have to eliminate any of them at all, but something had to win.

I had fun doing this bracket. The overall winner? For me, at this time, it was "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I have no regrets in that book winning. It was great. Along the way it took down two outstanding books about Vietnam. "The Short-Timers" and "The Things They Carried". Both amazing books in themselves.

I am including a copy of this bracket below for your perusal. I am sure yours would be different. Go for it. I would love to see what happens with others doing the same.
You can get your own brackets here? http://www.printyourbrackets.com/

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