Worst Ideas Ever is a review of bad ideas (such as New Coke) told in a humorous way.
This wasn’t just a bad book about bad ideas, it was a complete waste of time. A cursory – very simplistic – overview of surface level pop culture “bad ideas” from the past forty years. To younger people, there might be some basic stories they might find interesting enough to Google to get a real description of the events, but to anyone older who at all follows the culture, there’s nothing here that is informative.
In fact, there’s information that’s flat out wrong. I know something about video games, for example, and to call the Atari Jaguar the follow-up to the Atari 2600 is to completely ignore the 5200, 7800, Atari computers, and the Atari Lynx… not to mention a foolish argument in the first place (nobody familiar with the business would call a system released in 1993 a follow-up to a system that effectively died in 1983. That isn’t a follow-up, that’s an attempt to re-enter the home console market.
Catching the authors with basic blunders like that caused me to call into question how accurate the information on other topics really was. Also not good, how the authors sacrificed accuracy to a quick joke… yes, we all know the Yugo is a crappy car but to say “nobody” liked it or bought it is to ignore the (yes, weird and small) contingent of American collectors who love the vehicle (for example). Yes, it may be an amusing joke (maybe) but it shades the truth.
When the authors then talk politics, they chicken out and can only mention John Edwards (and Gary Hart as an extension to his story) and Mark Sanford… as though he cherry-picked a Democrat and a Republican as examples of “bad ideas” in politics and then walked to avoid anyone getting angry at them. So why bother with politics at all if you’re going to ignore the big “bad ideas” like Nixon or Clinton… assuming political scandals are even “bad ideas” in the first place.
I could go on but I think my point is made. I give this one star even though it was a fast and sometimes amusing read. I’d normally give such a book two charitable stars but I deduct one of our scorn.