Books that should not exist #1: "Winning Lotto/Lottery for Everyday players, 3rd edition"

The printing press has been hailed as the most important invention in history, allowing smarter people to share their ideas with other less smart people. Unfortunately one of the ideas they shared was "printing presses" and since then the device has been abused to wreak such horrors as to make nuclear power look like an innocent and harmless kitten-based technology. In this series I'll be looking at books so hideously opposed to the idea of knowledge that every time one is sold, a scientist loses his lab coat.

"Winning Lotto/Lottery for Everyday players, 3rd edition" by Professor Jones

This book contains enough compressed illogic and falsehood to erase all scientific learning back as far as the middle ages. The only thing preventing this nightmare of stupidity from returning us to medieval times is the army of idiotic lotto players reading them, placing the barrier of their own knowledge-impermeable brains between the book and the world, preventing education and the "Anti-knowledge" in this monstrosity from wiping each other out.

I read some of the book, but to save you from the same dangerous level of exposure the title alone proves the retardedness of everyone who's even touched this book four times over:

  1. They had to write both Lotto and Lottery on the cover, for fear of missing half of their target market. "Dur, this book is for lott-e-ry, dat sounds more fancier than the lotto we simple folk play round these parts"
  2. The use of "everyday players" conjures the absurd vision that lives in the minds of the target market, that they are mere regular players while a secret cabal of professionals keep scooping all the jackpots. Why, if only they had access to some kind of inside knowledge they could make it too!
  3. The existence of the book. It's a point so astoundingly crystal clear that it's dismissed as a cliche, but if the writer wasn't lying then he wouldn't be writing the book. Many scams are revealed by fact checking, or odd requests for money, or even a lack of spelling - this is some kind of meta ur-scam, proved false purely by it's own existence. If I had access to secret lottery-winning strategies the only book I'd publish is a solid gold tablet entitled "Why it's awesome being me (with special contact information for triplet cheerleaders interested in discussing nudity on a yacht)"
  4. 3rd. Goddamn. Edition. I have no idea what possible refinements to lotto-winning technology the author could be adding each time, short of scribbling "hahaha, oh god this is working I can't believe it's working" all over the proof copy before sending it back to the printers. A third edition of anything hasn't damaged my faith in humanity so much since the Daily Mail ran their "Princess Diana - still dead" memorial in 2000.
If you can get past the title, the back-cover blurb is an even richer treasure trove of anti-logic weaponry designed purely to annoy anybody capable of thought. Though we may be able to use them to confuse the machines once they take over. Professor Smith proudly claims to have designed dozens of lotto-predicting programs, another sanity-shattering "the very fact I can make twenty proves they're all crap" claim, before promising to reveal the secrets of interpreting your dreams for winning lotto numbers. I hate to break it to you but if the best your conscious mind can come up with is "buy a book about how to win the lotto written by someone who has not done so", then your unconscious is unlikely to be some unharnessed money making probability superpredictor.

As a final spit in the face, chapters are devoted to cataloguing number frequency and hot numbers - yes, the two things that they very first page of the first chapter of any probability textbook will tell you are shite. The actual epitome of "stupid, stupid hopeless" gambler fallacies. The things that can be disproven with a coin and a minute.

This book is simply cruel. Buying a lotto ticket may be a tax on people who don't understand statistics, but it still provides that momentary hope, the few seconds of dreaming and a pleasant image. This book specifically harnesses and murders those hopes, telling the reader that playing the lotto is actually a valid financial strategy and something that can be worked at rather than the moments harmless escapism it is. When you're taking the money while killing the dreams of those left with nothing to hope for but winning the lottery, you have officially reached the rank of King Bastard.

Next book: Sudoku Solver

I can only hope that the author changed his name to "Professor Smith" to make the book seem more legitimate, because if I find that an institution actually accredited him a doctorate and tenure then I will be guilty of arson shortly thereafter.

1 comment:

David Curran said...

To be fair the designers of lottery systems are occasionally more stupid then dirt.
In one American state lottery there was a hole the ball fell into before being was dropped into the winning section. So the scrambling hands started. The balls dropped. The first ball dropped in fell into the bottom of the draw drum hole. This meant the first number came far more often then it should have.

But yes unless you can spot an obvious problem with the design of the lottery system you really are jumping into bed with the enemies of reason with lottery predictors.