WorstPlans.com updates every Monday!

Your weekly source for terrible plans and ideas!

Category: Literature

Stop putting off reading of CLASSIC LITERATURE: you can do it without spending any time at all by using one of these new incredible methods! Never fold a paper crane again without learning some classic poem!

The issue:

It’s often hard to get motivated to read a famous work of literature, especially when there are so many other forms of entertainment competing for one’s attention.

Proposal:

Let’s create a situation so that a person can read a book as a “bonus” along with a primary activity that they were already doing.

(Ideally, the primary activity should be something that doesn’t require linguistic processing, since then it would compete for attention with the text of the book.)

Examples:

  1. Jigsaw puzzles in which a book is printed on the individual pieces (Figure 1). This could work well for a novella or a Shakespeare play (which is something that is already commercially available in entire-play-on-one-poster form).
  2. Knitting yarn with a chapter of a book written on each ball of yarn, so you can read War and Peace while you make a scarf. As a bonus, the ink could be water soluble, so when you’re done knitting the scarf, the text washes right off!
  3. Origami paper with famous poetry printed on them. You could read some Robert Frost while folding an origami crane.
  4. A “learn to type” program in which the example sentences are famous quotations. For example: Classic: a book which people praise and don’t read.” – [Mark Twain].
1-book-puzzle.png

Fig. 1: The person solving this jigsaw puzzle will also have the opportunity to read the entirety of “A Tale of Two Cities” (possibly in a very confusing out-of-order fashion).

Conclusion:

It is very surprising, in retrospect, that the 20th-century invention of “popsicle sticks with jokes written on them” did not inspire a more widespread “literature-on-everyday-products” genre.

PROS: Increases appreciation of classic literature.

CONS: May cause existential angst in children who just want to assemble a jigsaw puzzle but end up also reading The Stranger by Camus.

Do any programmers work at your company? Give them the ultimate retirement gift—save all code contributions (e.g. `git` commits) and have them published as a leather bound book!

Background:

Occasionally, people get a gift or memento from a company after working there for a certain period of time, or, sometimes, when their jobs are outsourced to a much cheaper country and everyone is fired.

Proposal:

For programmers, what better way to commemorate their contributions to a company than a log of all their code contributions?

Specifically, the proposal is to collate all of the log messages into a giant bookshelf-worthy tome.

Here, I’m using git as an example (Figure 1), but any version control system with annotation could work (e.g. user comments in Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes”).

1-git-historical-record.png

Fig. 1: Each time user “jsmith44” changed code in a codebase, a line like the ones above was generated. The comments in red are what we’ll be including in the published book. Note that only comments are included—not the actual source code.

All of a user’s contributions to a codebase can be collected by running a simple command (e.g. git publish_book –user=jsmith44 –start 2014 –end 2018). This would generate the raw PDF / ePub / Microsoft Word document that would then be sent off to a print-on-demand printing company to generate a physical book (Figure 2).

2-git-book

Fig. 2: After the code contributions in Figure 1 are printed out, we would end up with a book like this one. For users with particularly extensive “commit” messages, a multi-volume series could be generated.

 

PROS: Makes for a great retirement gift!

CONS: Reading it could cause existential dread, especially if the code was contributed toward an ultimately-failed project.