How To Sharpen Pencils

Is your pencil sharp? Do you know how to best maintain an excellent point? Are you interested in learning artisanal pencil-sharpening techniques?

David Rees, the author of “How to Sharpen Pencils”, was a performer on a nerdy cruise I was on last year. He got up on stage and sharpened pencils for us (video from cruise), carefully, artfully. It was very obviously a comedy act, and it was hysterical. I’ve since followed him on Twitter, and he hasn’t been saying much until recently, when he’s started promoting his book for holiday sales. He made an infomercial (on the linked site), you see, and a great number of people are incapable of detecting a joke when they see it. He’s been retweeting people’s reactions to his infomercial, and it’s hysterical how many people are confused and aghast that such a book exists.

I think it’s brilliant marketing. A silly book addressing a nonexistent need for better pencil-sharpening education, being promoted in late-night infomercials, which are notoriously full of odd products to solve nonexistent problems. Not sure how it might translate into sales, but it’s getting him talked about! I wonder if ironic, ridiculous-on-purpose products will start being promoted this way more often. Seems to me that it’s a great way to get the product noticed, anyway.