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Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That and Go There Paperback – Bargain Price, October 6, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, October 6, 2009
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Editorial Reviews


“Well worth checking out.” (Dayton Daily News )

“The breezy little paperback offers hundreds of tips from the former investigative reporter, whose research is evident and sources carefully listed at the end. That keeps the attribution from cluttering up the info, which ranges from sublime to silly.” (Los Angeles Times/Travel blog )

“Food for thought.” (Boston Globe )

“Sure to liven up a boring cocktail party . . . [W]ill enlighten, surprise, even disappoint you.” (Houston Chronicle )

“Straightforward.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch )

“Full of amusing and helpful timing tips.” (Sacramento Bee )

“Strangely compelling.” (The Guardian )

“[Di Vincenzo] doles out advice with practical reasoning . . . [U]seful and interesting.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer )

“[Di Vincenzo] gets into the nitty-gritty of why timing really is everything.” (Chicago Tribune )

From the Back Cover

Have you ever wanted to know the best day of the week to buy groceries or go out to dinner?

Have you ever wondered about the best time of day to ask someone out on a date—or for a raise?

Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon tells you the best time—of the day, of the week, of the month or of the year—to do almost anything. Do you know:

  1. The best time of day to be operated on?
  2. The best month to buy an iPod?
  3. The best day of the week to avoid lines at the Louvre?
  4. The best day of the month to make an offer on a house?

Get more for your money, maximize your time, take better care of your health and be savvier about your career—all by doing certain things at the right time.

Remember: Timing is everything!

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; 1 Original edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061730882
  • ASIN: B003H4RDT2
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.5 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,415,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

As a journalist with nearly a quarter century of experience, I've exposed abuses and been described as a writer who makes the complicated seem simple.

During a two-year stint as a reporter on the two-person state desk of a small daily newspaper along the southern shores of Lake Erie, I was the first reporter in Ohio to write about the state's first AIDS victim and about one of the first Ohioans diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.

From there, I moved to Virginia, to work for the Daily Press, a 100,000-plus-circulation newspaper. As a reporter there, I exposed wrongs, such as rampant abuses at public mental hospitals and decades of neglect by the agencies that monitor the environment. Newspapers from coast to coast, from The Washington Post to the Spokane (Washington) Review, published many of my stories, regardless of their length. (The Post jumped one of my stories three times, from page 1 to page 4 to page 5 to page 6 - a rarity even at a newspaper not afraid to publish lengthy stories.)

I've landed interviews with many VIPs, including Billy Graham, Jesse Jackson, Strom Thurmond and others, including Soviet generals and European royalty.

And I've won numerous awards, competing against reporters from The Washington Post, The Washington Times and The Associated Press, among others. In 1999, the Virginia Press Association created an award for the best news writing portfolio in the state - the closest thing Virginia had to a reporter-of-the-year award. I won it that year and then again in 2000. The next year I beat out reporters from The Charlotte Observer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to win the Southern Environmental Law Center's first-place journalism award. In 2001, I became the Daily Press' metro editor, shepherding and editing my reporters' award-winning stories and directing coverage of the newspaper's urban and suburban areas.

Over the years, I supplemented my newspaper work and honed my long-form writing skills by doing magazine cover stories.

During the summer of 2007, I left daily journalism to pursue book projects and long-form journalism and to start Business Writers Group, http://www.businesswritersgroup.com, a corporate writing and public relations company.

Born and reared in Cleveland, I'm a first generation American who graduated with honors from Bowling Green State University. I live in Newport News,a shipyard town in coastal Virginia that produced William Styron, Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey, with my wife, Jayne, and daughters Olivia and Sophia. My oldest daughter, Rosie, attends Oklahoma University.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is great for more than just lovers of trivia - it is a practical guide to life and full of "who knew" surprises that you can put into practice. The writing makes it entertaining and fun to read, but it's obvious that real research went into it. I like the way it's organized into areas of life. I grew up in California and it's true - Fall is the best time to go to Disneyland!
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Format: Paperback
If you enjoy saving money, increasing your efficiency, or outsmarting the world, this is a great book for you.

Buy Ketchup in May is a fun book that lets you in on the secrets of how and when to do many of life's common activities, from when to eat dinner out (Tuesday) to when to apply ice to sunburns (never).

The book is written in a short question-and-answer format that is easy to follow and remember. I appreciated how Di Vincenzo refers to the research methods behind his answers, so the reader knows where the answers are coming from. I recently found myself quoting the book in a conversation with friends about when to buy airline tickets. And the book covers so many different topics that it's hard to imagine a month going by without using at least one of his recommendations. For me, the book paid for itself right after I got it. The book pointed out that pants often go on deep discounts after back to school. So when October came around, I decided to test out this claim. I ended up buying a pair of nice $70 pants for $35!

So if you like useful information that will help you save money and increase your efficiency, definitely get this book!
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Format: Paperback
Could be the perfect gift book as the holidays approach, and its no coincidence that it just showed up on NYT's How-to Bestseller list. To coin a phrase, this is the kind of thing a person on your gift list will really like, if they like this sort of thing.

Really there is not much insight here, and after having heard Di Vincenzo pitch the book on NPR, his methodlogy is not exactly the rigorous stuff or peer reviewed economics research (or even journalism for that matter).

There are just not enough (or enough interesting) stories-behind-the-stories for his tips. The ketchup gambit is titleworthy, but much of the rest is common sense.

Get the first surgical appointment of the day? Fly midday, midweek and you'll save money? Buy stuff when the people selling are inclined to make better deals? No big surprises.

The book might be the perfect gift for that reader who loves quirky insight and the trivial made useful. It may even inspire ten minutes of communal reading and good conversation around the tree when unwrapped. For those reasons, its a three; but, this is really a two-star read with perfect timing.
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Format: Paperback
Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon is a book that looks and feels cheap - and I mean noticeably cheaper than a basic paperback. The author and publisher clearly do not view this as a book that will endure. The paper seems to be newsprint and the card stock for the cover is as thin as possible. Perhaps the plan is to update the information every couple of years, but the lack of regard shown in the shoddy construction caused me to question the quality that went into creating the contents. I read the book with skepticism because in my grasp it felt like junk. That said, the book eventually won me over.

It is a quick read and would be perfect for those times when frequent interruptions are inevitable or distractions are likely. While reading it, at least 50% of the revelations were things I already knew (buy fresh fruit when in season), but the rest were interesting revelations (the best time to find a sympathetic insurance claims adjuster is 4 PM Friday) which when read are filled with common sense.

The author claims no credit for the information and lists the sources at the back of the book. Many things seemed obvious and correct, but some suggestions appeared less than accurate. For example the best month of the year to buy jeans is noted as October, after the back to school sales are finished. Well, anyone who wears a popular size jean knows that by then, those sizes are out-of-stock, and with the low inventories most retailers are maintaining, unlikely to be back in stock for months.

The book contains useful information and I felt the time spent reading it wasn't wasted. Few of us are experts in everything, so the majority of people will find some helpful information within the pages. The book might be best suited as a graduation gift along with a gift card or check. The younger the recipient, the more useful the book will be for the reader.
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Format: Paperback
I think I read a review of this in the NY Times Magazine, which made it sound very interesting and like a fun read... come to find out it is merely a glorified list, worthy of a Reader's Digest article.

As others have noted, there is no index, so if you want to find, say, the tips on airline tickets, you have to flip through the entire "travel" chapter til you find the bit you want. And frankly, most of the tips are either very general and obvious (best time to buy fresh veggies? when they're in season); or they are ridiculously over-specific (best time to get a haircut -- sorry, I have to fit a haircut in when I can, not at some mystical perfect wonder-time when the stylist will cut the straightest). In fact many of these "tips" fall under the category of: Who on earth has time to worry about this stuff?

This might be a cute time-killer to read in the dentist's office or maybe a good toilet book, but certainly don't buy it.
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