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May 19, 2011

Go The F To Sleep: An Adult's Bedtime Story

Most parents have probably had the experience of the young child who will not sleep, in spite of all attempts to get them to nod off. The parent may be pushed beyond the point of good humor, beyond the point of exhaustion, and beyond any memory that (at one time) having the kid seemed like a good thing.

This book provides those parents with a coping mechanism that makes explicit and brings out of the closet the dark thought, whether muttered or unsaid, that most parents have experienced: "Go the f--- to sleep. Please."

For the very young child, the content of the book may be irrelevant**; the child has their parent speaking to them in gentle, rhythmic tones. You could be saying anything to the kid, just like you might say to your dog, "Good dog, rover, I wish you were a cat Rover, good dog, you're a jerk, good dog" and the dog just loves it. The content of the book is really for the adult, and by focusing on the likely affective state of the adult reader this book may be doing a great service.

The cats nestle close to their kittens now.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear
Please go the f--k to sleep.

The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest
And the creatures who crawl, run and creep.
I know you're not thirsty. That's bullshit. Stop lying.
Lie the f--k down, my darling, and sleep.

The book is beautifully illustrated.

The profanity is gratuitous, but rather than the button-pushing provocation of a Lenny Bruce these doggerel verses give expression to the frustration that most parents face. They may be the equivalent of "It Gets Better" for parents of young children.

Several Experiments in One

There are a few interesting things about this 32-page book. It hasn't been published. You can't go to the store and buy it, but you can pre-order it at and it's on their best-seller list.

Viral Freemium

It has managed to make the best seller list without any marketing, and without any physical product. A PDF version of the book somehow made it to the web, and it's gone viral. Here's a GoogleDocs link to the book.

It's an interesting marketing experiment. By giving the book away, they're creating buzz, people are pre-ordering the book, and then they're printing the physical book in response to known demand rather than on risky speculation.

When a best-selling book has never been printed yet, there's probably some implications for selling virtual books in the context of e-readers like the Kindle or the Nook.

Beneficial Piracy

They leaked the PDF of the 32-page book hoping that people would distribute it to their friends, in a way tempting/enabling their customers to pirate copies of their intellectual property.

Some people contend that piracy helps content creators more than it hurts - content piracy, that is, not Somalia piracy - because piracy builds demand and grows the total market.

** Infant Learning

The premise of the book is that you might read this to the child because they're just a kid and they won't understand it anyway. It's going to be fun to watch when they ask Grandma, "Want to hear my poem?"

Stuxnet Epidemiology

Let's say you want to disable the Iranian centrifuges. You take some generic thumbdrives and load them with pictures of girls that also contain malware, and you leave them where 22-year old technicians will find them. Viola VoilĂ , you've set the Iranian nuclear program back five years. Thanks, Frank!

Let's say you want to figure out how widely you can distribute a virus. You might embed it in a children's book PDF, start some buzz about how it exists, and let people hunt for and find the file. They'll do the work for you.

Maybe you know enough to not open zip files of free books from unknown sources, and maybe you'll do what most people do - take it to work and use your work computer to open it. (They have virus protection and IT support).

I hope you don't work at NASA.

That'll keep the grownups awake at night.


Frank Van Haste said...


(Or, was that intended to be ironic?)



Vannevar said...

Thanks, Frank. It was not intended. I have an ironic deficiency, and a shortfall on cleverness. I'm glad you're reading it, and I hope you're continue.

Cheers, V.B.

Anonymous said...

best book like ever...just saying

Anonymous said...

This book is completely repulsive.

Anonymous said...

It sounds really funny

Anonymous said...

sounds like something my mother would write haha

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