A Million Random Little Digits

People sometimes ask me what I’m reading. Sometimes they don’t ask and I tell them anyway. Especially if we’re on a long bus ride together.

If you’re looking for some summer reading, here is a book that is as gripping today as it was when it was first published by Rand back in 1955.

That’s right, it’s 600 pages of random numbers! Here’s an excerpt (caution: spoilers):

Still, isn’t £62 a little steep for a book filled with random numbers? I mean, that’s almost $97 in actual money. If I want some random numbers, can’t I just make them up on my own? Check it out:

1 3 9 8 4 — Oh wait, that’s my address when I was growing up in Lakewood, Ohio.

Let’s try again:

2 8 6 5 — Shoot. That’s the beginning of my social security number.

I know I can do this!

7, um, 5, um, um, let’s go with 2, then um 3, and 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 — Damn! Got stuck in a rut.

This is obviously more difficult than it looks. Best to leave your random number generating to the professionals.

Here are some of the best of the Amazon comments on AMRD:

Wayne Redhart:

Rest assured that I shall not divulge precisely what was to transpire upon that final page, but I can tell you that the conclusion left me open-mouthed and goggle-eyed with bemusement. Had I just encountered a profound statement about the aleatoric structure of the universe and the fleeting nature of life? Was the entire final page the result of a perversely improbable misprint? Or had the author simply been permitted to watch one David Lynch film too many? Ultimately, this is a work that raises more questions than it has answers to.

Faacht Von Teetermunchen:

Maybe this is what passed for random in 2001! by todays standards this is positivly signposted. i read it to my 5 yr old adopted indian boychild and he was able to chant along with me by the third page.

I myself have written a book of numbers so random they have been known to cause insanity, temporary blindness, unexplained homosexuality and even hiccuping. i am not able to write any passages here, for fear weak minds might stumble upon it.

M. Taylor:

You’d think that a book priced this high would have gone through a rigorous editing and review process, but apparently not. The book is littered with typos (“83252” instead of “83522” – seriously? Come ON!) and on page 153 the number 9 is missing entirely.

Moley mole:

This book of random numbers might be very good for the younger generation with their hip hop music. Call me old fashioned but I prefer my numbers to be in a traditional sequential order, some people may find that predictable I grant you but at least there a clear beginning and end.

Gilbert Friedrickson:

. . . a wonderful testament to man’s ability to think the unthinkerable.

As for me, this amazing book has inspired me to write a sequel consisting of a million random letters. I shall call it: Twilight.

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2 Responses to A Million Random Little Digits

  1. funny funny 1209 funny 28 oh my 34981 god. funny comments that 003563 you shared here 6453 as well. and yes, 27852100 harder than it looks!

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