This article is from the Shenanigans FAQ, by Michael Moncur altshen@REMOVETHIS-starlingtech.com with numerous contributions by others.
[This list is by no means complete. If you've got any such books, or
can clarify something about these ones, kindly mail me the info as below.
Dates and Publishers would be nice, too.]
- Richard P. Feynman, "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"
Feynman was one of the world's greatest theoretical physicists and
was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics; but this is not a book about
science. It's a collection of stories from his past, ranging from
scientific discovery to meeting girls - and many of them are
first-rate shenanigans. An excellent book, particularly if you think
that scientists are boring.
- Richard P. Feynman, "What Do _You_ Care What Other People Think"
A second book by Feynman, this one is mostly serious. It includes
some stories from his past, and the latter half of the book tells of
his experience in the committee that studied the "Challenger
Disaster". Despite a more serious tone, it's a funny and enjoyable
book. Feynman died in 1988, and will be missed.
- Penn Jillette and Teller, "How to Play With Your Food"
A collection of food-related magic tricks, shenanigans, pranks,
and humorous stories. Includes props for some of the tricks.
- Penn Jillette and Teller, "Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends"
Another collection by Penn and Teller, again with props included.
Also, the book is a shenanigan in itself - try reading it and
be prepared to be confused at first.
- Don Novello, "The Lazlo Letters"
...and "Citizen Lazlo: The Lazlo Letters volume 2"
Workman Publishing, NY, 1977 and 1992
Don Novello (who played Father Guido Sarducci on Saturday Night Live)
has collected a series of letters written by himself under the
pseudonym of Lazlo Toth. The letters are to world leaders, corporate
giants, and others, and most include a reply. A humorous inspiration
to the literary-minded shenaniganist.
- There are also two other books of similar letter-writing pranks:
"Outrageously Yours" by Bruce West, 1986
"Modest Proposals" by Randy Cohen, 1981
Specifics on these would be appreciated.
- Harry Anderson, "Games you can't lose: A guide for suckers"
Pocket Books, 1989
Harry Anderson, the magician, comedian, and sometimes actor on Night Court
and Dave's World, wrote this collection of sucker bets and such.
- Peter van der Linden, "The Official Handbook of Practical Jokes," Signet,
ISBN 0-451-15873-3, 1989 and "The Second Official Handbook of Practical
Jokes," Signet, 1991, ISBN 0-451-16924-7
Two collections of practical jokes, urban legends, and delightfully bad
- "Legends of Caltech" and "More Legends of Caltech", authors unknown
This details both Rosebowl shenanigans, the Hollywood sign changeover,
and a bunch of other random shenanigans done by Caltech students.
Caltech is also where Richard Feynman taught and goofed off
for many years.
I think the books are available from the Caltech bookstore:
(818) 395-5121 - at least, they used to ship them everywhere...
- Neil Steinberg, "If At All Possible, Involve A Cow"
St Martin's Press, 1992
A book about college pranks in general; it covers a number of different
universities, and has a chapter devoted to comparing MIT pranks to
RE/Search Publications, RE/Search #11 "Pranks"
RE/Search Publications, 20 Romolo #B, SF CA 94133
Interviews with: Tim Leary, Abbie Hoffman, Paul Krassner, Mark Pauline,
Boyd Rice, Monte Cazazzo, Jello Biafra, Bruce Conner, John Waters, and
Henry Rollins. More about pranks than shenanigans... but there's a fine
- The Journal of Irreproducible Results (periodical)
This Journal publishes parodies of scientific studies. It is conceivable
that any shenanigan with the pretense of scientific rigor or possible
technological utility could be sent in for publication. Here's the
Marc Abrahams, Editor
The Journal of Irreproducible Results
c/o Wisdom Simulators, Inc.
PO Box 853
Cambridge, MA 02238
[send a SASE for writers' guidelines]
- Games Magazine (periodical)
Games has a lot of puzzles, brain teasers, contests, and information on
gaming in general. It also, however, presents a lot of dirty tricks
including fake ads, practical jokes (every april issue), and even the
odd Penn & Teller trick. Some of the past articles have
discussed practical jokes, carnival gaffs, and sucker bets.