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Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Word Nerd: Dispatches from the Games, Grammar, and Geek Underground Hardcover – June 22, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Word Nerd: Dispatches from the Games, Grammar, and Geek Underground
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  • Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players
  • +
  • The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (Fifth Edition)
Total price: $42.70
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Williams, the first and only executive director of the National Scrabble Association, joyfully and enthusiastically recounts his unlikely 25-year tenure as the official national spokesman for the world-famous word game. …Casual gamers will find this light read to be a fun escape, while avid grammarians and fellow word nerds will devour it in a single sitting.” (Publishers Weekly)

Word Nerd is full of insights and stories about SCRABBLE® from John Williams's unique perspective as former head of the National SCRABBLE Association. Informative, eye-opening, often funny. Word nerds everywhere will eat this up.” (Will Shortz, crossword editor, New York Times)

“I love words. I grew up in a SCRABBLE-playing family that loved words so much that they would mark in red the misspelled ones on my papers before I turned them in to my teachers. John D. Williams had similarly sadistic parents, which is probably why he's been able to write such a word-worthy book. If you love words, you'll love this book. If you love SCRABBLE as much as I do, you'll really love this book. In fact, if you can read, period, then this is the book for you!” (Morgan Spurlock)

“For twenty-five years, John Williams oversaw the passionate eccentrics, petty controversies, corporate battles, and linguistic genius that make SCRABBLE one of America's quirkiest and most compelling subcultures. He's got some great stories to tell―the fight over dirty words is a doozy―and I'm glad he's telling them.” (Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players)

“For Scrabble fans―and they are everywhere, young and old, male and female―this walk down memory lane with the former National Scrabble Association (NSA) executive director is informative, funny, anecdotal, and bittersweet…. [A]ficionados will treasure this book for its appendixes: ‘offensive’ words; short Q, J, X, and Z words; ‘Important Vowel Dumps’: and more.” (Eloise Kinney - Booklist)

About the Author

John D. Williams Jr. served as the executive director of the National SCRABBLE Association, acting as the official national spokesman for the game, and is the coauthor of the best-selling Everything SCRABBLE®. He lives in Greenpoint, Long Island.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright; 1 edition (June 22, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871407736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871407733
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,041,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting back-story and inside scoop on how a stodgy, old-school board game became an international obsession. Full disclosure: my spouse is one of those competitive scrabble types--though not on a tournament level--so it was fun to see how that world works. Just the right amount of gossip. And it's not just for fans of word games...it's a fun, fast read that shows how smart marketing can reinvent any product. I found myself thoroughly engaged despite the havoc that Scrabble occasionally brings to our family life
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Speaking as a true "word nerd" and devoted Scrabble player, I can honestly say that this book is the real deal! Super fun to read, especially for someone like me who can relate so much to the world of competitive Scrabble. Witty and fun reading for anyone.
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Format: Hardcover
One can hardly expect good things from an author who early on writes that JIAO is an alternative spelling of CIAO. This appears in a discussion of "foreign" words that are found in the official Scrabble dictionary. His discussion does not include even one example of numerous Scrabble words marked foreign in any of the various dictionaries underlying the official word list.

But things get better. There's a longish, intriguing, and accurate discussion about how Merriam-Webster produces its standard dictionaries, although the author says nothing about how vastly that differs from the way the Scrabble dictionary is produced. Many items therein have never appeared in any standard Merriam dictionary. The progress Merriam has made in lexicography over the last fifty years, and changes in standard English, are often not reflected in the Scrabble lexicon, which has proved to be a toxic waste dump for the game.

On page 129 the author mentions that he lives 45 minutes from any Scrabble club. Too bad he didn't count the number of bridge clubs he could reach within that time -- it won't surprise me if there are at least a half dozen. Polls show that Scrabble is slightly more popular than bridge, so why the paucity of clubs? You can read between the lines of this well-written book and discover for yourself answers that eluded the author, who appears to have been somewhat miffed when the manufacturer belatedly decided they should be selling more sets, so his services would no longer be required.

Nonetheless, the book can be read as the life and times of a publicist, and there are lots of engaging anecdotes that transcend the travails of Scrabble. If only most Scrabble books were as superbly written as this one.
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Format: Hardcover
*** PLEASE READ THE FULL BOOK REPORT AT
*** www.donaldsauter.com/scrabble-word-nerd-john-williams.htm
*** I HAD TO CUT ABOUT 30 PERCENT FOR AMAZON.
*** PLEASE COME BACK HERE WITH YOUR COMMENTS.

I enjoyed this book immensely.

"Big deal, so what?" you might be thinking.

Well, the "so what?" is that I went into it fully convinced I would hate every page of it. I was actually looking forward to trashing it in a review for Amazon, and I told the librarian that when I checked it out.

Here's the background.

I love Scrabble -- as a word game drawing on nice, big, fat words from my vocabulary. On the other hand, I'm convinced modern tournament-style Scrabble, based on the smallest, weirdest words in the language and with a revolting poker-style bluffing component, is totally "broke". Think, people, how long would crossword puzzles and other word games and activities last if they were based on Scrabble word lists? Not two days.

I was sure Word Nerd would be another glowing paean, like Word Freak before it, to the tournament-style "strategy" game. I had contacted the author several times in the past, and the closest I come to appearing in the book is on p187, in the list of the types of communications handled by the NSA, specifically, "new ideas for improving SCRABBLE." Yes, I was (still am) naive enough to think the world is big enough for a Scrabble option for "word lovers", as distinct from point lovers jumping each other with their strange, little "game pieces".

I emerged from my communications with John convinced that he was what you might call a "stooge" for the tournament players. Notice the irony here.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a terrific, fun, and fascinating book for Scrabble fans and others (like me) who only dabble in Scrabble and crosswords - either way there is stuff in this book for you to enjoy. Many of the inside stories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes are great. The author clearly had a front-row seat to this word nerd world and is the right guy to tell the story. I highly recommend!!
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