Survey Results on Book Compilations

I ran a survey the past week asking what you wanted to see in True’s book compilations. Here are the results.

The annual This is True book volumes are simply compilations of the stories from each week’s columns. Volume 1, for instance, covers the first year of stories, in the order which they were originally presented. (When there’s a significant update on the web site to any story, the URL is provided to see it.)

But my software is set up to allow me to gather up stories by category or keyword, too, enabling book collections of True stories on specific subjects. The idea was to see if you had interest in that!

Your Input

Here’s the chart of what categories/subjects you found of interest on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being “Very Interested” in reading such a book:

TRUE Book Survey Results

The type along the left is pretty small, so I’ll call it out, in order from “most interested” down:

Zero Tolerance, Government-Related Stupidity, Bureaucracy Gone Mad, Heroes, Technology, Lawsuits, Court-Related Stories, Crime, Medical, Politics, School, Sex, Work, Military, Puns, and “All Other”.

All Other shows that interest drops rapidly for (in order): Religion, Relationships, Crazy (insane) people, Prison, Travel, Explosives, Guns, Kids/Teens, Animal-related, Holidays (e.g., an all-Christmas theme), Drugs/alcohol, Death, and, at the very bottom, Royalty and Celebrities — which gives me great, great hope!

My Conclusion

My intuition was that you would love a book on Zero Tolerance, with some added context about what the idea means about humanity and society. And with that strong support, I am going to work on that. Stopping this institutionalized torture of children — which has spread out into the general society, since children do grow up — is one of my bigger goals.

Seems to me that “Government-Related Stupidity” and “Bureaucracy Gone Mad” are nearly the same thing — yeah, I know, I’m the one who set up the categories! — so with the combined interest, that one might actually outrank ZT. So I’ll probably try that one first, and if there’s enough interest shown (read: enough of you actually buy it!), I’ll continue down the list in a way that seems logical.

So thanks much for your feedback!

The Other Two Questions

Just getting a ranking was great, but surely you wanted to share some more open-ended feedback too. There was way too much to share, but here are the highlights. I reply to several of them in italics.

Q1: Do you have a question on something that you’d like to see covered in a This is True book, or a different category of story not already included above you’d like to see a book about?

  • Your essays on topics that matter to you.
    This was brought up in several ways, but this was the most succinct — a vote of “You decide, Randy, and I’ll read it!” I definitely appreciate that.
  • No, your list is more extensive than I would have thought of.
  • science
  • This could be covered in several of the above broad categories, but: How about misadventures in post-9/11 security measures?
    A book full of that actually sounds pretty depressing….
  • I’d like to see something about what you actually believe (in a religious/philosophical sense). I wouldn’t, given your comments to date, imagine that you would be willing to do that any time soon, but I would be very keen to see it if you ever felt the time was right (say, years from now at your retirement, or (a la Mark Twain) 100 years after your death)….
    My beliefs aren’t important, yours are. I challenge you to think about it yourself, and come to your own conclusions, rather than just be “X” because your parents were. I find it unlikely that anyone will remember me 100 years after my death, let alone be interested in what I thought….
  • Karma, that is, people getting payback for bad or stupid behavior.
  • Something on the theme similar to book “Future Eaters” by Tim Flannery. Concept is that we are using the resources of the earth in a non sustainable way. This is beyond idea of peak oil, to peak water and peak soil (to grow food).
    Ain’t gonna happen. TRUE is already quite wide-ranging, and if Tim Flannery is on that beat, I’m going to leave it to him.
  • Can you also make an ebook version of it? Shipping cost really kills oversea buyer like me.
    All the books will be ebooks, starting with Kindle and, later, on other platforms — and (at a higher cost) in print.
  • I would enjoy seeing more stories where law-abiding people use guns in positive ways to stop crimes, assaults, etc. Of course, with your characteristic use of humor.
    I’ve done a few such stories, but first, “the media” don’t cover them much, so I rarely see them, and second, they’re not often “weird” in a way that I like stories for TRUE. I know some sites/publications do run such stories regularly, but obviously not with my humor.
  • I have the first 5 books, and I really enjoy having the variety. It keeps things from getting stale.
  • All along I was thinking of the annuals, and how “free” readers could read a lot of great stuff they had not seen before. Now the idea of themed books is intriguing, or possibly two or three themes in one book. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
    The idea of two or three themes is not something I had thought of, and it’s intriguing! Thanks: I’ll think about that!
  • I’m sure you’ve got enough Florida stories to fill SEVERAL volumes; as someone who has crazy relatives in Florida I would totally appreciate this.
    I did think of that, in fact. Still considering it.
  • I would like to see a Darwin Award category.
    While weird deaths have been featured started with the very first issue of TRUE, I’ll leave “Darwin Awards” to the Darwin Awards folks, who already have their own books!
  • MOAR (actual) NUDITY! <—j/k!
    I’m just leaving this one in to illustrate how some people like to put …well… odd things in surveys — and that’s even before your classic “online” spelling of “more”!

Q2: In your own words, how do you think of This is True? By that we mean, in one short sentence, What is This is True really “about”?

  • Text funnies for thinking people.
    I like it!
  • Thinking and comparing yourself against others so you don’t make dumb mistakes.
  • Exposing idiots to the light of day, turning over one rock at a time.
  • Thinking, honesty, and the ability to laugh at yourself when needed.
  • The Stupidity Of Mankind combined with the Heroic (Honorary Unsubscribe), makes you think.
  • About life as we DON’T know it [But realy need to!]
  • Amusing real stories that shed light on the human condition.
  • Keeping intelligent readers informed and entertained with the exploits of hypocrites, fools and obliviots worldwide.
  • This is True is really about “common sense”.
  • A shining ray of thoughtful humor, illuminating the aggregate madness of society.
  • Learning how to identify stupid people, and hopefully never act the same way.
  • This is True is a reference point using stupid people doing stupid things to help discourage other people from doing stupid things. I laugh, I think, I learn, and I cringe when it gets too close to home.
  • A great way to reinforce my opinion that people in Florida really are the stupidest in the country (and I live here so I have first hand knowledge of it!)
  • Thoughtful and hilarious coverage of irony, hypocrisy and other shenanigans.
  • A view of the quirky, silly, and sometimes stupid and crazy things humans do, with wry commentary.
  • This is True illlustrates the new “normal”.
    Boy, I sure hope not!
  • How stupid are people and do I have to change my behavior to not end up in it.
  • True is about all those things we think we are too smart to ever do — except we aren’t.
  • Making us think, or making us aware of our own assumptions.
  • True is about “think before you act”.
  • The best “Me Time” of the week.
  • Your view of reality and well presented. Which I enjoy even though I do not totally agree.
  • News and thought-provoking stories nicely disguised as entertainment.
  • Great conversation starters.
  • Stupid people tricks.
  • Thinking.
  • Clever, funny, and insightful retellings of globally diverse, true stories, gathered into a weekly digest.
  • Stories from the news, with a twist to make me think: entertaining, informative, provocative.
  • Reminding us that we (humans) are not as uniformly smart as we think we are.
  • Enlightening the open-minded and spotlighting the dumb.
  • TIT (did you KNOW your site’s abbreviatioin is “TIT”?) is about real, thought-provoking stories.
    (No! I had no idea.)
  • Exploring the absurdity of reality, now with 15% more snarky commentary!
  • True is all about making me laugh while making me think about issues I may not have considered.
  • This is True is a mirror put up to society — and then giggling.
  • True is about realizing that the human psyche is a weird and wonderful and warped place all at the same time.
  • True is the center of a community of people who are not scared to think.
  • Truth is stranger than fiction, and a lot more interesting.


  • You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!

Again, great stuff, everyone! Still a lot, even though I hacked out most of it, but I found it extremely interesting. Thanks again.

See what books are available here.

7 Comments on “Survey Results on Book Compilations

  1. Not only would I love books about Zero Tolerance, government-related stupidity, and/or bureaucracy gone mad, but I can think of a couple relatives and friends who would love a book about Zero Tolerance as well.

  2. It’s a good thing that they stopped printing the Encyclopedia Britannica because now I’ll have room for the Government-Related Stupidity on my shelves.

    Even with that, I’m not sure there’s enough room on your shelves for a complete catalogue of Government-Related Stupidity. -rc

  3. “Even with that, I’m not sure there’s enough room on your shelves for a complete catalogue of Government-Related Stupidity.”

    Excellent! I’m reminded of the adage, “To err is human; but to really (*ahem*) foul it up requires the government.

    I thought the last two words of that were supposed to be “a computer”! But I’ll grant you artistic license. -rc

  4. An “Honorary Unsubscribe” book, please. I think. You could craft it in a few hours.
    Books in the hand satisfy different cravings than “books” elsewhere. I spent so many years in magazine publishing that I know the potential of having a beautifully made artifact, easily accessible to all vs.intangible pixelation.

    I would never do an Honorary Unsubscribe book in print — way too risky. But yes, if a “few hours” means a day or two of work, I could produce one, and have virtually no up-front out-of-pocket costs. All the writing is done. So yes, I’ve been thinking of doing just that! -rc

  5. “Zero tolerance” and “911” sometimes overlap, and are usually both subsets of “government stupidity”. If a particular volume starts to get too depressing, that might be a good time to add a uplifting “balance” page of an Honorary Unsubscribe.

  6. Interesting thought. Does a murder mystery or suspense novel become too depressing and require a comedic intervention to help? On the other hand, adroitly done, it can actually enhance the reading experience. Especially if both share a common relation. Still, that’s what the tagline is for, isn’t it?

  7. My first thought about an entire ZT book is — too depressing! So I’ll agree with the 2-3 topics comment and the suggestion to add a few pages of upbeat stuff.


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