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The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything

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The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything [Hardcover]

Mark Reiter , Richard Sandomir , Nigel Holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 6, 2007
Every March, the NCAA men's basketball tournament blankets newspapers and the Internet, and attracts millions of television viewers over the course of three weeks. Will a perennial favorite like Duke win? Or will it be a dark horse like Gonzaga? The phenomenon known as March Madness galvanizes a nation of viewers as few other sports events can. The reason? Bracketology. America eagerly watches as 64 teams become 32, then 16, then 8, then 4, then 2, and finally #1.
Now it's time to use the same rigorous method for everything that really matters in culture, people, history, the arts and more. In The Enlightened Bracketologist the editors have organized the world's most haunting and maddeningly subjective questions into a scheme of binary pairings that finally reveal what is truly the best in its class: La Tache or Chateau Latour? (1) Barry Bonds or Terrell Owens? (2) "Vissi d'arte" or "Dove Sono"? (3) OJ verdict or JFK assassination? (4) "Top of the world, Ma" or "Nobody's perfect"? (5) Two by two, The Enlightened Bracketologist pits our cultural mainstays against each other; only the finest survive. Every double-page spread of this book will contain a series of brackets compiled by experts and celebrities, with text call-outs that highlight the reason why one competitor moves on and another doesn't. Already committed are Elvis Costello on popular songs; David Bouley on cookbooks; Leon Fleisher on piano music; Reneé Fleming on opera arias; Henry Beard on French phrases; Joseph Ward on wine.

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Editorial Reviews


“The Cult of Bracketology” ―New York Times Magazine

“The bracket is such a seductive means of portraying existence, and not just during March Madness…” ―Forbes

“The second I opened my advance copy of "The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything", I knew that editors Mark Reiter and Richard Sandomir were onto something big. I'm talking Barry-Bonds'-head big.” ―Adam Hofstetter,

“Clever….Though we may be creatures of ruthless logic, "The Enlightened Bracketologist" seems to be saying we still have a soft spot for Cinderella.” ―New York Times Magazine

“A delightful new book of lists” ―Newsday

“In fact, if there were brackets established for current books that are just for fun, "The Enlightened Bracketologist" would edge out "The Cheater's Guide To Baseball" and move on to the next round.” ―Bill Littlefield, National Public Radio's "Only A Game"

About the Author

Richard Sandomir is the award-winning sports television columnist for the New York Times. His previous books include Bald Like Me: The Hair-Raising Adventures of Baldman and, with Rick Wolff, Life for Real Dummies and Don't Worry, Stop Sweating...Use Deodorant.

Mark Reiter is a literary agent and writer who has collaborated on books with Twyla Tharp, Phil Dusenberry, Mark McCormack, and Marshall Goldsmith.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition first Printing edition (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159691310X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596913103
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,182,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning - Will result in heated arguments! March 11, 2007
Who is the most entertaining sidekick - Jimmy Olsen (Superman) or Barney Fife (Andy Griffith)? What is the greatest American play - Death of a Salesman or The Glass Menagerie? Questions like this can drive even the most 'normal' adults crazy. The Enlightened Bracketologist is a fun book that can lead to endless debates - on who or what - we really love or hate - and why!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious yet scholarly March 20, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
OK, maybe scholarly isn't the right word for this book. But it does manage to combine a certain level of mock seriousness with hilarious choices (such as the segment devoted to winnowing out the best "person famous for, well, being famous"--guess what, Nicole Richie WINS!).

Each two-page section is laid out like a family tree, with branches--or, more appropriately, like a graph of March Madness basketball teams as sports commentators make their predictions about which teams will play each other and who will end up in the Final Four. In addition to the aforementioned example, there are sections devoted to "best movie death scene," "best indie rock albums," "best game show catchphrases," "best simple things" (the toothpick wins!) and more.

The coolest thing is that each section is written by a different expert. The section on "the best black-and-white TV shows," for instance, is written by Robert Thompson, a Syracuse University professor who directs the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture. "The best investment strategies" section is written by the global chief investment strategist for Citigroup Global Wealth Management, Clark Winter. That's what I mean when I said the book is scholarly, to some extent--the authors did their homework in getting people who really know their fields to make the choices in narrowing each section down to the appropriate finalist.

THE ENLIGHTENED BRACKETOLOGIST is a hoot, and a fun gift for the annoying person in your life who already has everything!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give It a Try September 3, 2007
The overall concept behind THE ENLIGHTENED BRACKETOLOGIST is that people can figure out the best of everything by putting together a bracketed tournament, similar to what is done during the NCAA basketball tournament. 102 different subjects are bracketed (101 are listed, but there is a bonus category of Baby Boy Names in the Coda). The bracket selections and their ultimate winners have been selected by over 90 different people and those people are usually experts or are heavily associated with their chosen field. So Ken Jennings put together the brackets for Game Show Catchphrases, the authors of THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GUILTY PLEASURES put together the brackets for Guilty Pleasures, and former Presidential speech writer Curt Smith put together the brackets for Presidential Speeches. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great fun! May 12, 2007
I heard an interview with the author of this book on NPR. I didn't think it would be that great, but then it was on one of the morning news shows, and in a magazine that I read. So I bought it. I'm so glad I did, it's SO much fun! It makes a great coffee table book, it easily starts a conversation.

There are a million different categories--best chick flick, best Denzel Washington movie, most commonly misspelled word, most commonly misstaken song lyric (one of my favorities, it says only the wrong words, so it's fun to figure out which song it's from), most annoying grammatical error. There's something for everyone. It gets you discussing which candy bar is really the best, or which is more annoying--bogus apostrophes or its/it's confusion. The book is wonderful--I highly reccomend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Fun to Read and thought provoking June 1, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book inspires one to apply bracketology to just about any multi-option conundrum. Fun to read, can't necessarily agree with every one of their conclusions but that is what makes the book fascinating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Fun Than...... March 19, 2007
This a great way to debate the age old question...what's the best (fill in the blank). All ages, all levels of intelligence and experience have a way to find out "what's the best....".
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In response to Doug Mularz "Just Doug" March 22, 2007
By D. Kaye
I am writing to respond to Doug Mularz, whose review of this book was, in my case, absolutely ludicrous. Mr. Sandomir seemed to me to be the one in the right in this situation. What kind of interviewer will have an author on as a guest and not have read the book? In fact, to not even have a copy of the book present seems rather rude. Mr. Sandomir's actions were understandable considering how poorly he was treated. Mr. Mularz asks many questions that would be answered by simply reading the book. For example, many of the bracket choices (especially the controversial ones) have little comments from the bracketologist as to why they made their decision. Also, I'd like to point out to him that Mr. Sandomir himself is a renowned sports columnist, and is the one who made the bracket for sports movies.

As for the actual book, I must echo the other glowing reviews of it. It is, despite Mr. Mularz's comments, wonderfully innovative. Personally, having read the book, I have since made several brackets of my own, and it is very addictive. While you may disagree with some of the decisions, the debate as to who should advance is half the fun. This is a delightful book to read through, or simply leaf through a little bit from time to time. I would definitely recommend this as a gift, or as a personal treat. Regardless of Mr. Mularz's feelings towards the author, I'd recommend that he himself read the book before saying it's not worth buying.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Way to Compare Any Subject:
This is a clever book; it puts movies, cheeses, ad lines up against the competition and names a winner. Read more
Published on November 22, 2013 by JJares
1.0 out of 5 stars Why did I buys this?
Why did i buy this.Opinions are my own and not based on any scientific evidence and should be considered with a grain of salt.
Published on June 9, 2013 by j trey duffy
3.0 out of 5 stars Bathroom Reading
This book is funny and interesting. I thought that it was going to be a little more in depth than it actually is. Read more
Published on March 1, 2011 by Wherethepeachesgrow
2.0 out of 5 stars A contributor's rejection
I'll come clean right away: I haven't--and probably never will--read this book. Because of this, I will reserve any prejudgments I may have about it. Read more
Published on October 7, 2010 by Josi Maria Guijarro
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun
This book is set up like March Madness, creating tournaments for different categories/topics with winners in different bracket, eventually getting boiled down to the top four. Read more
Published on July 21, 2010 by HTBK
5.0 out of 5 stars The Enlightened Bracketologist
I bought this for my sports minded, analytical husband and he loves it! I have heard him tell several of his friends what a great book it is.
Published on January 17, 2010 by sbs
5.0 out of 5 stars The Enlightened Reader
A fun way to select the best of a variety of topics. I coverd each round of the brackets and compared who or what I would have picked to the one chosen in the book. Read more
Published on June 29, 2009 by Gary B. Landsman
1.0 out of 5 stars all sizzle, no steak
In the 100+ pages of this book only two in the Coda at the end express any commentary on how to set up and use the bracketed approach. Read more
Published on April 3, 2009 by J. Dodd
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Idea but Needs to Provide the Reader More
This book uses a non-word for its title: [bracketologist]. To me a bracket means the punctuation I used to enclose that word. Read more
Published on January 12, 2008 by Dr. James V. Blowers
5.0 out of 5 stars What a HIT!
This book was by far the biggest hit on Christmas with the male adults in my family. I bought it for my Dad but by 18 year old brother and 37 year old husband kept trying to take... Read more
Published on December 30, 2007 by J.M.
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