Friday, September 23, 2011



One of the books I picked up at SPX was THE YOUNG DISSENTER’S HANDBOOK, by these guys:

Ryan Eggensperger (left) and Dan Strauss (right)

Imagine a collection of advice in the vein of How to Seize Control of Your Life, but with absurdity, sympathy and a hilarious sense of humor. It all follows the exploits of an anonymous shirt & tie wearing guy who is at different points gleefully oblivious, painfully self-aware, elated, or deeply distressed.

Ryan says “the genesis for the book was basically when I received a christmas gift one year of a pack of cards entitled 50 Things You Should Do Once in a Lifetime. I flipped through it once, quickly noting the cutesy sentimentality of it (“have a conversation with a hobo!”) and later that day started making my own list . . . a year or two later, I found the notebook and it made me laugh, so I started transcribing the list into my computer, splitting it in two. The first half (which we may turn into a book soon as well) became Shove Your Breakfast Up Your Ass and 99 Other Things You Absolutely Must Do Before You Die, and the latter, sadder half became the first draft of The Young Dissenter’s Handbook.”

I love how the character is both really sincere and foolish.

Dan says, “It changed drastically over the course of several drafts and ways of thinking about it. We worked and re-worked the order using index cards, tiny pieces of paper, and endless lists of entries, which were edited, eliminated, reintroduced, and rearranged countless times. Eventually, we came up with the idea of making it a linear narrative.”

Dan: “I originally thought of this as an interesting way to exercise a certain shared humor I have developed with Ryan during the many years of our friendship. It ended up signifying a lot more to me . . . like a very revealing satire of my personality (and Ryan’s) when we were in our 20′s.

Dan and Ryan can be reached at (and that’s how to get the book too).

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