Big Cam

Book Review: Brickdiction by Bill Deen

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"You know the scene. You walk into any toy-store, “for the kids” (*wink-wink*) to purchase just ONE toy. You come out with just about every LEGO set the store has – for yourself. Next, you’re wondering how you’re going to pay the bills, and whether you’ll be able to give your kids Christmas presents this year."

Title: BRICKDICTION (A Seven Step Recovery Guide for People Addicted to LEGO)

Author: Bill Deen

Pages: 58

Price: $0.99 digital download, $4.89 paperback

Hello Eurobricks, Big Cam here with a review that is out of my normal reviewing area. Today I am giving a short review of a book by an AFOL for AFOL's. It's called Brickdiction. Now before anyone gets the wrong idea by the title, this is not a serious book. It is meant to be a joke, although in the right context I think it actually could help someone.

The book starts out with some common AFOL terminology, AFOL, MOC, swooshable, etc. Although completely unnecessary, I really like that this is here, and you'll understand why later. The book then goes into a short intro about the author and why he wrote this book, in short, he did it for fun. :sweet:

Now we get into the steps, now I won't cover them all since obviously the author would like you to buy the book yourself. I will however give you a preview of what you can expect.

Step One: Admit you are powerless over the bricks.

Step Four: Make a searching and fearless plastic inventory of yourself.

Those are a few of the steps to recovery. One thing I like about this book is once you've read through and hopefully completed all the steps, there is still more to this book. Once done with the steps the author offers advice on how to control your thoughts and actions towards bricks with what could be argued as REAL advice. Even though the book was written as a joke, the advice is good. There is actual advice on how to get away from and avoid our beloved bricks. A lot of this book is what I call inspiration, the author reassuring you that you can break the habit, and explaining how. The book then goes on to what is my favorite part, the confession.

The Confession

This is actually my favorite part of the book and ties into the reason I like the AFOL terms at the beginning of the book. Besides being a fun read for any AFOL, I think the perfect place for this book is any AFOL's coffee table. In the confession section the author explains his reasoning for writing the book and explains why LEGO is so awesome. Teaching creativity, problem solving, improving self confidence, all things that some of us probably don't even think about. The reason I think this is the perfect coffee table book is because of the actual useful information in it, and the way it presents it. Although it's hard for me to look at it this way, if I imagine myself not being an AFOL, and reading this book, I'd definitely think it's a joke, BUT I'd learn something and take some info about LEGO away with me. Also this book is short. There are 58 numbered pages but there is a lot of blank space and a few pictures. Without rushing you could easily read this book in 15 minutes, again making it a great book to have lying around for your not Brick addicted friends to notice and read.

So what did I think overall? It's fun. I think it would make a great gift for anyone who likes LEGO, and if you are an AFOL yourself I'd buy one and leave it lying around your house. It's a great conversation starter. I know this wasn't a very comprehensive review, but that's because I didn't want to give out the entire book for free, I recommend you pick up a copy and read it through for yourself.

It's available on Amazon right now, and it's not expensive. :wink:

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I just read this the other day, and I must say it was pretty entertaining. A 15-minute read sounds about right, and for a $.99 download on my Kindle I can't complain about not getting my money's worth. There were one or two points in there that made me think "Aw crap, I AM addicted!" :laugh:

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Thank you for the nice book review, Big Cam! We don't see enough of these around here! :sweet: This sounds like a very entertaining read and certainly one I would consider buying for my non-FOL better half!

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Thanks for the review Big Cam! I might need to follow your advice and buy one to leave laying around the house. Maybe it can finally make my hobby (Lego, obviously) seem normal to other people. :laugh:

Sounds interesting, but can it really stop your addiction.

To be honest, I hope not! :tongue:

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Sounds interesting, but can it really stop your addiction.

To be honest, if the AFOL who really wants to stop reads this book, probably not. There are many references to the book being a joke and whem you read the book in it's entirety it would probably cause you to go buy LEGO.

If you take the ideas from the book and present them to an AFOL in need, I think it actually could help someone get out.

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Read about the book before. I understand it's more of a tongue-in-cheek caricature for AFOLs. Sounds very entertaining, though! :)

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Thanks for the little book review, BC!

When I first read the article about this book on Brickset a few weeks back, I became intrigued and then slightly frightened. Then I found out the book was mostly a farce. What a relief! I completely admit to being addicted to Lego, but I don't want that to change! :laugh: Knowing that the book is intended for humorous results, I may have to check it out. Especially considering the nice low price.

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Sounds interesting, but can it really stop your addiction.

Why would you want that?! :tongue:

This sounds like a great read. Time to start calling local bookstores.

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"Brickdiction" sounds like a fun and interesting read. Great review, Big Cam! :wink: It was great to know your thoughts about the book.

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Sounds like fun, i ordered a copy, though at 11 Euro's it's kinda expencive here in the Netherlands.

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Intriguing read Cam, thanks for an insight into a comical look at our hobby via a coffee table read. I might have to swipe the wife's Kindle and have a read.

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I bought this book a few weeks ago for my kindle and thought, 'Ok, let's see if you can change my mind about Lego' (I keep getting evil looks from my family everytime I buy a Lego set) and about three pages in realised it was a joke! Oh well, I did enjoy reading it. It did feel a little short, but what can you expect from a book that costs less than a pound/dollar?

Nice review, Big Cam! default_classic.gif

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Although I am usually in no way a killjoy and although I do enjoy humor verging on the black and deviant, I see some disturbing potential in this book. Judging from the review, it does 2 things.

Talking about Lego as an addiction - ok, well, that has been (over?)done with every hobby or everything that has ever stimulated people. Functionally, this seems to stress how important the thing is to a certain group, in the case of LEGO it might even have a cry of "take us serious" in it.

But mimicing the structure and style of a self-help material - I am not so sure about this. This explicitely draws on the pathological - those who are addicted enough to use self-help material such as the well known 12 (7? 5?) steps into freedom from alcoholism. Making fun of that discourse might make it more difficult to talk seriously about real addiction, even LEGO addiction if something like this exists.

Maybe I am overreacting a bit. But if talking about Lego as an addiction is old news and mimicing self-help material for addicts is morally questionable, this might be not my kind of fun. This book presupposes that no real cases of LEGO addiction exist or that LEGO cannot have a destructive potential on people and relationships at all. This I highly doubt.

Edited by Wardancer

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Yes, you are over-reacting. This book is meant to be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek read, not a serious self-help book. However, I totally get your point about the loose way people use the word addiction. But as this is a silly book about goody adults who play with Lego, I don't think we have anything to worry about.

~Dwarf

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With hopefully as little as possible offence to the author, I'm very critical about this. I've been missing a real lego book, one that can be interesting to non-FOLs and AFOLs alike. I don't expect to find this in a 58-page paperback which, on its very cover, declares itself a joke. While this is a funny little idea, I think its ideal media would be something like a mini-essay in a magazine or blog.

Paying nearly £5 pounds - a price, I might add, which isn't significantly smaller than Amazon's paperback price for so many other wonderful books (only a week ago, I bought a hardcover book there for £2,5) - is, to be frank, not even something I'd consider. Particularly not for just 58 pages in relatively large print and a lot of unneccessarily empty space.

The 'items in which you might be interested'-column led me to a book called The Cult of Lego, though, and while I'm not buying that either at its current price (something like £26), that looks like it might be the book I've been looking for. I'll definitely be watching it.

Edited by Multiverse

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I think the price is ok. Most people do not know what publishing a book costs. When a book is sold, many need to get their share: the lector, the printers, the people who made the graphics, marketing, salespeople and at the end of all this: the author.

A friend of mine published books sold for 20 Euro a piece. How much do you think she earns? She gets 1 Euro per sold copy. For a book that is three quarters of a years work. Try and apply that to Brickdiction and you will realize that the author most likely earns a few measly cents per copy. Publishing a book is a risky adventure and those who do it often pay more for it than they earn. It is always an act that shows the authors passion for what he writes about. So even with my beforementioned critism in mind, I think risking to publish a book on Lego is a courageous act of love for the brick.

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I think the price is ok. Most people do not know what publishing a book costs. When a book is sold, many need to get their share: the lector, the printers, the people who made the graphics, marketing, salespeople and at the end of all this: the author.

A friend of mine published books sold for 20 Euro a piece. How much do you think she earns? She gets 1 Euro per sold copy. For a book that is three quarters of a years work. Try and apply that to Brickdiction and you will realize that the author most likely earns a few measly cents per copy. Publishing a book is a risky adventure and those who do it often pay more for it than they earn. It is always an act that shows the authors passion for what he writes about. So even with my beforementioned critism in mind, I think risking to publish a book on Lego is a courageous act of love for the brick.

I agree with pretty much everything but the first sentence (although I believe that the author's share tends to depend largely on the publisher). But from a consumer's point of view, I'm still doubtful as to whether this book holds its price's worth of content.

Edited by Multiverse

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Thanks Cam for bringing this to my attention, it looks like it could be a fun read.

I'm pretty sure not many people in the need of self help books are going to be upset of the mimicry of the 12 step program, unless they really want to be. By which I mean haters gonna hate. I've read a stack to try and get some control over depression and anything that gets a laugh is helpful even if it's laughing at myself (sometimes especially so in the case of depression).

But from a consumer's point of view, I'm still doubtful as to whether this book holds its price's worth of content.

I think you're having a semantic difference here. It's quite OK to feel it wouldn't be worth it to you, as the value of the content is subjective. Pretty much any published book for $5 is probably a fair price though given the cost and effort involved.

Edited by peterab

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I think you're having a semantic difference here. It's quite OK to feel it wouldn't be worth it to you, as the value of the content is subjective.

Well, of course. I wouldn't write a comment to a review if I didn't have an opinion to add. :classic:

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Maybe I am overreacting a bit. But if talking about Lego as an addiction is old news and mimicing self-help material for addicts is morally questionable, this might be not my kind of fun. This book presupposes that no real cases of LEGO addiction exist or that LEGO cannot have a destructive potential on people and relationships at all. This I highly doubt.

I honestly mean no offense to anyone or any program. I hope no one is offended. I personally do not know of any LEGO "addictions" that have caused relationship troubles. Of course, anything (hobby, project...anything) in excess can be bad. But LEGO also builds (pun intended) relationships through time spent together having fun and being creative.

In other words...I am truly sorry if anyone finds this offensive. I truly mean it just as a fun, positive thing.

With hopefully as little as possible offence to the author, I'm very critical about this. I've been missing a real lego book, one that can be interesting to non-FOLs and AFOLs alike. I don't expect to find this in a 58-page paperback which, on its very cover, declares itself a joke. While this is a funny little idea, I think its ideal media would be something like a mini-essay in a magazine or blog.

I think The Cult of LEGO can interest AFOLs and non-AFOLs alike, in case you don't know of that book. I actually never even thought about writing it as a blog post. The idea of a "LEGO addiction recovery guide" came to me in book form--other forms didn't even cross my mind. Now that you mention it, it probably would've been just as fun to write (and read) in that form. The reviews from Brickset, Eurobricks, TheBrickBlogger are all great examples of blog-post versions of the book. I do like having a physical version, thought--something I can hold and say "I made this!"

The 'items in which you might be interested'-column led me to a book called The Cult of Lego, though, and while I'm not buying that either at its current price (something like £26), that looks like it might be the book I've been looking for. I'll definitely be watching it.

My brother owns TCOL. Great book. It does a great job of laying out the craziness of AFOLs.

Publishing a book is a risky adventure and those who do it often pay more for it than they earn. It is always an act that shows the authors passion for what he writes about. So even with my beforementioned critism in mind, I think risking to publish a book on Lego is a courageous act of love for the brick.

I didn't consider this project risky--it was all for fun. I hope my passion for LEGO showed through. I had three motivations:

1. "It'd be cool to have written a book about LEGO. Just to have something fun I could point to and say "Yeah, I made that."

2. "It'll be a great experience self-publishing a book." What can I say? I like building things...books, MOCs, websites...

3. "Maybe I'll get featured on Brickest/Eurobricks/TheBrickBlogger!" That would be awesome.

I'll happily admit--once or twice I thought "Hmm, I wonder if this could pay for set 10228..." But the whole time I thought "Even if I didn't make any money off this, it'll still be cool, fun, and I'll learn a lot."

I've read a stack to try and get some control over depression and anything that gets a laugh is helpful even if it's laughing at myself (sometimes especially so in the case of depression).

Pretty much any published book for $5 is probably a fair price though given the cost and effort involved.

I'd like it give it away free, but I would also like to recoup my publishing costs. If it funds my brickdiction awhile, even better. :classic: And what you said makes quite a bit of sense--I think humor sometimes changes the way we think more than being serious does (in positive ways).

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I think The Cult of LEGO can interest AFOLs and non-AFOLs alike, in case you don't know of that book. I actually never even thought about writing it as a blog post. The idea of a "LEGO addiction recovery guide" came to me in book form--other forms didn't even cross my mind. Now that you mention it, it probably would've been just as fun to write (and read) in that form. The reviews from Brickset, Eurobricks, TheBrickBlogger are all great examples of blog-post versions of the book. I do like having a physical version, thought--something I can hold and say "I made this!"

My brother owns TCOL. Great book. It does a great job of laying out the craziness of AFOLs.

I'm glad there seems to be no hard feelings. I've no doubt it's a great piece of work you've done, I just don't think it's ideally represented as a book (though, yes, I realise how awesome a feeling that must be, and am secretly very envious of it), and partially therefore, something I'll personally pass on. ;J

Thanks for the recommendation, too. It's pretty cool (and says something about how much you really mean it when you say you're not doing it for the money) that you're willing to recommend what is essentially a competitor to your own book. You certainly have my respect for that! =)

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This is a great review of a very interesting book. Going to look for it on my nook. I like the part about confidence building and problem solving. It was a big reason I started playing with them as a child. I was an only child for most of my childhood to a single mother perusing a PhD in psychology and Lego was a toy I could do alone and lose hours in. Now I am an "adult" and have two kids of my own. I remember how accomplished I felt after hours of building and wanted that for my own children.

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I just wish it was available as a pdf (even watermarked) as that’how I prefer my digital books these days...

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