As long-time readers know, on Fridays — like, you know, today — I do a week-in-review type of thing. Today, I’m going to ask you for a favor: help me get my books to 1,000 total reviews on Amazon.
The short version, in case you want to (and are able to) help: if you’ve read any of my books, please go to Amazon and leave a review. While I prefer four and five-star reviews, please be honest. The links to my books:
The longer explanation? Yes, this will help me sell more books. But that’s not my goal here.
Earlier in the week, it occurred to me that I don’t really know how to describe Now I Know to people. As recently as a few years go, it was easy — it’s an email newsletter sharing a fun fact and a story behind it each day. That’s still true today, but with the explosion of email newsletters, it’s not really useful. I can (and often do) make reference to the number of subscribers on the list, but that’s esoteric for most and has prompted some unexpected replies. (I’ve heard everything from “is that a lot?” to “how do you know so many people?” Really.)
Basically, in 2010, when I started Now I Know, having an email newsletter was, itself, remarkable. Today, not so much. I want to add a line to the Now I Know story; being able to add “I’ve written three books with 1,000 total reviews on Amazon” sounds like something most people would get. (That’s why I’m asking for Amazon reviews, not reviews in general; for better or for worse, Amazon reviews are a verifiable number, without much wiggle-room attached.)
Right now, I’m at a hair over 800 reviews, so I think 1,000 is attainable. So, if you’ve read the book(s), please leave a review. If you haven’t read the book(s), please do not — I am not trying to game the system here or do anything otherwise dishonest.
The Now I Know Week in Review
Monday: When The Faucets Ran Red: Coincidentally, a box of wine just arrived at my house today.
Tuesday: The Man Who Jetted to Millions: I’ve been meaning to write this story up for a while now; I’m glad I finally did.
Wednesday: Who is Q? (James Bond Version): A bunch of people wrote in to tell me that there may be more to my bonus fact than I know — it’s quite likely that the real James Bond (the ornithologist) was also a spy and, according to the BBC, he served in World War II under the command of “Bond” author Ian Fleming.
Thursday: Taking Delegating a Bit Too Far: This reminds me of a story I once read… and you can read it now, too! It’s the first long-read, below.
And some other things you should check out:
Some long reads for the weekend. Apologies in advance if you were the one who sent any of these in; my recordkeeping has been mediocre recently and I can’t figure out who to credit for the share.
1) “The American Dream” (Some random website, from a long time ago, 11 minutes to read). I am certain I’ve shared this before; it is an Internet classic. It is the story of an office employee whose job is eliminated but no one actually ends up firing him — so he ends up going to work for the purpose of doing absolutely nothing (but ends up with a pay check). It’s likely fiction, but it’s fun to believe it is true.
2) “Jungle Law” (Vanity Fair, 44 minutes, May 2007). The subhead: “In 1972, crude oil began to flow from Texaco’s wells in the area around Lago Agrio (“sour lake”), in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Born that same year, Pablo Fajardo is now the lead attorney in an epic lawsuit—among the largest environmental suits in history—against Chevron, which acquired Texaco in 2001. Reporting on an emotional battle in a makeshift jungle courtroom, the author investigates how many hundreds of square miles of surrounding rain forest became a toxic-waste dump.”
3) “The curious case of the handlebar bag scam” (CyclingTips, January 2021, 9 minutes). I admit it: I find niche scam stories irresistible.
Have a great weekend!