Crowdfunding real-life, citywide choose-your-own-adventure stories

Sean Williams sez, "Best-sellers and award-winners Isobelle Carmody, Robert Shearman, Marianne De Pierres, Kim Wilkins, Mark Leslie, Mindy Klasky, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and many, many others, including me, have signed up to write choose-your-own-adventure stories that will play out in real life, in real cities via smartphones and QR codes. Rewards include guided tours, printed versions, tuckerizations, author-led adventures in their cities, and even the chance to have a CYOA written in a town of your choice, in person."

They're trying to raise AUD26,000. At AUD10, you get a pair of the adventures as PDFs.

Read the rest

Can you trust a sociopath's memoir?

I have never killed anyone, but I have certainly wanted to. I may have a disorder, but I am not crazy. In a world filled with gloomy, mediocre nothings populating a go-nowhere rat race, people are attracted to my exceptionalism like moths to a flame. This is my story.

That's the beginning of an essay about sociopathy written from the perspective of a sociopath. The author, M.E. Thomas, recently published a book about her experience being a sociopath. The name is a pseudonym and it's not totally clear how much of this story you can trust. For instance, whether Thomas' sociopathy is actually professionally diagnosed or not seemed unclear to me. Another example: At one point in the essay, she says she wasn't an abused child — then goes on to describe a childhood with a father who once beat apart a bathroom door to get at her and a mother who nearly let her die from appendicitis to avoid the medical bills ... and then blamed Thomas for her own illness. It's all a little weird.

That said, there's value in the "interesting, if true" sort of read that this is. At the very least, I've never seen an actual sociopath describe their own condition before. So, if that's what's actually going on here, it's a tour of a very different way of thinking. I'm not sure whether the fact that it all comes across as very manipulative is evidence in favor of, or against, the purported origins of the narrative.

Read the full essay "Confessions of a Sociopath"

Read a review of M.E. Thomas' book by Boston Globe writer Julia Klein, who has some of the same reservations that I do.

Great economics/storytelling podcast

Tim Harford (Undercover Economist, guest blogger, statistical superhero) has a new show on BBC Radio 4, called Pop Up Economics: well-told tales about the dismal science. The inaugural episode (MP3) is a beautiful parable about innovation and invention.

A must-read for anyone who wants to be less stupid

When it comes to discerning truth from myth, our enemy is ourselves — and ourselves really, Really, REALLY like to turn chance events into coherent narratives. (Via Kellan)