Ad of Comparison

If I manage to sell anyone on all three books in this comparison instead of only my own, I think it’d be wonderful. The purpose of this comparison is to show the major differences of these three books, all published in 2022. They’re all good books, though certainly for different audiences.

Hopefully by the end of this comparison an individual will know better what type of book to look for while shopping for a book full of questions. There are a fair amount of these crowding the digital, and the physical, bookstore shelves, so it’s good to know what they really represent. A person could use this comparison to better judge between the other offerings out there as well as the three here.

The three books I’ve chosen to compare are: Ponderous by Kurt Gailey (my own, of course); What Would Plato Think? by D.E. Wittkower, PhD; and Questions That Will Get You (And Others) Talking by Diane Weston.

Diane Weston has an impressive 1000+ questions in her book. Keep in mind though, these are what I would call pajama party questions. In the style of “What is your favorite color?”, pajama party questions are good for conversations. The way to tell if it’s a pajama party question is to look at the wording. Most questions with the word “you” within will be a getting-to-know-you type of question. Those kinds of questions won’t likely give you something to think about all day. If what you’re after is a way to boost creativity, or to ponder the deeper meanings of things, Weston’s book won’t be much help. Ponderous on the other hand has more profound material, such as: “Is Karma a method of blaming the victim?” If you want a way to get people to open up, to break the ice, to start connecting with each other, then her book will certainly give you the tools for those tasks. Her book, Questions That Will Get You (And Others) Talking is currently 11.99$ on Amazon, published by Monkey Publishing, and is 109 pages.

The book by D.E. Wittkower is probably more comparable, more similar, to Ponderous, even though he only has around 200 questions. One reason he has so few is because he leads in to every question, explaining the philosophies. This method could be good or bad. If you didn’t have any idea about the subjects Wittkower goes through, you might want to invest in his one-man explanations. If you didn’t want someone to lead you toward an answer, then you might rather invest in Ponderous and look up the subjects you don’t grasp already through more rounded and multi-person explanations, perhaps with Encyclopaedia Britannica or some other reliable source (never Wikipedia, which is built around submitter’s bias). The good Doctor has done his homework, and relies on studying ancient philosophers for the material. Ponderous, however, delves into the questions one could find while studying more contemporary philosophers like Theodore Sturgeon and Bruce Lee. Sturgeon in particular had the self-discipline to wonder, “What is the next question?” He probably understood when he first asked this that learning is dynamic, while knowledge is only static, which is why questions are so valuable. Lee for sure knows the difference between static and dynamic. He philosophizes throughout his great works on the two concepts in depth.

Presentation matters too, though. Wittkower does a good job with the presentation. Within the pages of his book, he leaves space for note-taking. He also tries to ask return questions for the more controversial questions so that he is playing both sides of the debate. His book may be somewhat narrow in scope since it only deals with subjects brought up by the ancients, but he formatted it well. His book What Would Plato Think? was published by Simon and Schuster, is 16.39$ on Amazon, and runs 225 pages.

Ponderous has 366 questions you can ruminate upon for an entire day, a week, during a meditation session, or during a pajama party if you must. The questions are a little more flexible. Some examples include:

“How many lies make a person a liar?”

“Can you get a tattoo on a prosthetic limb?”

“Why is ‘Question everything’ a statement?”

and

“How did anyone get angry before Heavy Metal music?”

These are existential questions, questions of life’s seeming contradictions, and questions to make the mind reel. There’s room inside Ponderous for taking notes, answering questions, or asking new ones. Independently published through Amazon, it is currently priced at seventeen dollars even, and is 379 pages long.

Published by Kurt Gailey

This is where I'm supposed to brag about how I've written seven novels, twelve screenplays, thousands of short stories, four self-help books, and one children's early-reader, but I'd rather stay humble. You can find out about things I've written or follow my barchive (web archive, aka 'blog) at xenosthesia.com or follow me on twitter @kurt_gailey. I love sports and music and books, so if you're an athlete or in a band or you're a writer, give me a follow and I'll most likely follow you back. I've even been known to promote other people's projects.

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