Title This Article!

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 30, 2006

(This post isn't about revitalization, but what's the point of a blog if you can't riff occasionally on quirks that don't fit anywhere else? I promise it won't become a habit.)

I was recently reading an article in Slate on falling birthrates. When it mentioned Philip Longman's new book Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What To Do About It, I had an epiphany of sorts concerning the book's title, which followed what I suddenly realized is a painfully predictable non-fiction template.

The pattern is simple but almost infinitely variable. Start with a memetic catch-phrase that identifies a problem, and follow it up with a colon. Then finish it off with a phrase promising to explain how the problem happened and "what to do about it."

A quick search on Amazon turned up the following punctilious titles:

I also found the following books, which deviate slightly from the mold while still hewing it its principles:

So as a corrective measure, I'm going to write a book to help prevent more of the same. I'll call it Stupid Book Titles: How The Publishing Industry Lost Its Imagination and What To Do About It.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted May 31, 2006 at 21:05:10

Nice catch there Ryan. Got a good chuckle out of this one.

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