Should we have a puzzle and activity book for Gulchers?

Posted by BrettRocketSci 1 month ago to Ask the Gulch
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Hi fellow Gulchers. Please allow me this question as a capitalist doing a market survey. (There is your full and honest disclosure up front!)

Thinking about all of the concepts and terms unique to Objectivism, wouldn't it be fun and effective to embed them into puzzles like crosswords, word scrambles, word searches, cryptograms...

Thinking about all of Ayn Rand's captivating novels, how quick do you think you could complete a crossword puzzle about each of those?

To satisfy the kinesthetic people among us, how many of you would enjoy a coloring book with images that are inspired by scenes in Ayn Rand's novels? (We are getting into areas that might be subject to copyright and trademark issues which I have complete respect for. At this point I'm asking the question hypothetically and assuming a legal and ethical product can be made. Run with that assumption please.)

In my independent book publishing business, I have built a design and production pipeline to make puzzle and activity books. For people who want some life-affirming puzzle activities for themselves, or as gifts for their friends and family (especially the younger generations), I think this would be a fun and exciting addition into our world.

What are your thoughts? Whether pro or con or anything else, please share in a discussion. Thanks in advance!

By the way, here's an example - a puzzle book for all things Tesla Motors. The cover for us would (obviously) have a different look and feel. https://www.amazon.com/Tesla-Fan-Puzz...


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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 1 month ago
    " I think this would be a fun and exciting addition into our world. "
    I agree. I have no idea whatsoever how to package it and market it to be appealing.

    I find the juxtapositions of the world amazing:
    - People have created an amazingly free world by all historical standards, yet people feel like the world could collapse under the weight of oppression.
    - The percentage of people who are poor is decreasing. Many of the modern poor have access to goods and services better than the rich had in most of human history. But people think it's time to consider socialism.
    - Individuals pursuing their dreams (not pursuing reactions from other people) built all this, yet some of us think a person's accomplishments can be roughly measured by the amount of outrage he generates in other humans.

    The world desperately needs the life-affirming message I took from Ayn Rand. I don't know how to package it for modern audiences.
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    • Posted by 4 weeks ago
      Thanks for the positive response. Who is a good graphic and visual designer in our Gulch? I've got the production covered. We would benefit from a marketing guru and influencer too. Let's do this.
      One strategy to build interest and demand ahead of time is to invite input and suggestions from people to make it a great product. That's what I started doing here. ;-) What I mean on a more dedicated level is to create a private list or group somewhere (like Facebook) just for discussing and sharing the development of the book. Just throwing out more ideas on the process. I'm going to go into our Store here and look for some potential partners. Open call for anyone reading this to raise your hand and offer how you might want and be able to contribute. Thanks, Brett
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      • Posted by  $  gharkness 3 weeks, 6 days ago
        I don't know whether this is enough to be included or not, but I am an expert on getting stuff published on Amazon through their KDP program. I currently have over 2,500 publications live. Some are ebooks; some are paperbacks; some are in both formats. Usually puzzle books and activity books - depending on the type of puzzle or activity - are NOT welcome in the ebook realm, simply because in order to complete the puzzles, one must write on them. So it would need to be paperback format.

        Of course that is only true of puzzles that have solutions that one would want to write down IN the book. I can envision some logic-type puzzles that could be presented in an ebook but would basically be answered by the puzzle-taker on his own.

        That could be interesting, and solutions could be presented from an objective viewpoint. But that's not necessarily my realm. MY realm is taking a set of pages/images, etc. formatting them correctly and getting them through the publishing process for Amazon. I have some limited experience with other publishers - the main drawback would be the requirement to purchase an ISBN without which nothing can be published (Amazon provides one for free, but only for publication on their own site).

        Also, I create book covers, but would also be open to someone else doing that - I certainly have no corner on the market and could work with a graphic artist to take their cover art and make sure it passes Amazon's requirements.

        So,.....let me know if this is of any interest at all.

        Editing to add: your mention of "having the production covered" may make my contribution unnecessary. Still, I have interest! Let me know if I can help.

        Second addition: Ha, following your links, BrettRocketSci, we may know each other in "that" world! Stranger things....
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 weeks, 6 days ago
    Sure. It's called MENSA... ;)

    Seriously. Most of the people here are extremely intelligent - especially when compared to common forums. It takes some real thinking to survive here.
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  • Posted by  $  brightwriter 3 weeks, 6 days ago
    My logic-puzzle book contains problem-solving puzzles, what to do in a real-life situation, among other puzzles. A book of that format would encourage the habit of thinking in John Galt ways if enough such puzzles could be written to constitute an entire book. I’m not sure if I can come up with a bookful, but with others contributing too the book is probably realistic. I won’t put a direct link to my book here (that would be advertising), but see brightwriter.com if you wish.
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  • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 3 weeks, 5 days ago
    A fine idea, Brett. Of course, if the ultimate agenda is to spread Objectivist ideas to the uninitiated, you may get political resistance. If you want to present enjoyable recreations to the cognoscenti, puzzle books and ebooks may be a good product line. Most such books deal with word puzzles, however. For abstract thinking and conceptual problem solving, it would be good to use puzzles like those I have created in the geometric and spatial realm. See my display in the Gulch Marketplace. These are non-verbal, physical objects that double as pieces of math as art (Ayn Rand liked mathematics, too). Each physical tiling has thousands of different possibilities and engages logic, reason, and individualist features, without overtly preaching any political message. Their constructive solving provides an intellectual, visual, and emotional reward. I just don't know how to make them financially rewarding to anyone else, since we don't wholesale. The best I can offer is a small commission to anyone who helps sell them. My output through 40 years of designing consists of over 250 original sets. You can see them on www.gamepuzzles.com. They are a tactile form of disproving socialist practices.
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    • Posted by 3 weeks, 4 days ago
      Thanks a lot for your experience and perspective. I still have an assumption that something explicitly about Objectivism and Ayn Rand would have appeal to people for themselves, and to a lesser extent (but still real) as a gift for others. Sure, some people will be offended or disgusted by it but they can't stop others from getting it and enjoying it.
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  • Posted by Eyecu2 3 weeks, 6 days ago
    As a High School Teacher, I LOVE this idea! I would use it in my classes in quite a number of ways. Please wether you actually create this full fledged or not I am GREATLY interested in this.

    You can reach me at richornsby@hotmail.com
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  • Posted by starznbarz 3 weeks, 6 days ago
    Way off topic, I have a question, or two you may be able to answer, seeing that you `re in the business. Is the publishing/printing of a book with color photos that are inserted to a specific page, as opposed to several pages of photos in the center of the books a cost and layout nightmare compared to B/W captioned photos in a separate center section?
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    • Posted by  $  gharkness 3 weeks, 6 days ago
      Ok, so with most publishing, and certainly with Amazon, if you have ONE colored pixel in the book, the entire book is considered "color." This is important because color print is extremely expensive.

      The author creates the book in PDF format. Amazon just takes it and prints it. So, it's all dependent on your layout abilities. And of course getting help is not that hard to do.
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      • Posted by  $  gharkness 3 weeks, 5 days ago
        Adding to say: is it harder? No I don't think so, but you actually create the document in Word - or even Powerpoint - and then print to PDF. Surprisingly, arranging photos in Powerpoint is very, very simple. Much simpler than doing the same in Word. Powerpoint is my go-to for text with images combined.

        Hope that helps. My previous reply was truncated a bit due to dinner being ready to serve :-)
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        • Posted by starznbarz 3 weeks, 5 days ago
          It does help, I appreciate it. I guess my next step is to learn powerpoint, then find out if it has a book format feature similar to google. I think the cost/benefit will push me to transfer the images to B/W and insert them at the appropriate places in the text.
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          • Posted by 3 weeks, 5 days ago
            G is giving you lots of good info. For me, I am using Google tools as much as possible. Instead of PowerPoint I use Google Slides and Google Docs. Export to PDF for paperbacks and export to doc or docx for ebooks. Hope that helps too.
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            • Posted by starznbarz 3 weeks, 5 days ago
              Any and all info is appreciated. This has been in the planning stages for quite a while, as the prospect of partial retirement looms, it is climbing the priority ladder. Now I just need to decide how to do it, I have been writing media and opinion articles for several years - my guess is, this is a whole different critter.
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          • Posted by  $  gharkness 3 weeks, 5 days ago
            Well, in the "bright light" of 4 am, I just realized I made an unwarranted assumption, which is probably 100% wrong.

            My answer was cast in the light of PRINT publication, but you may be intending to create an EBOOK publication, in which case you can ignore everything I said.

            eBook creation is slightly harder and I DO encourage you to use MS Word (or equivalent) to get it into the base shape you want. Then you use a program freely downloadable from Amazon called Kindle Create to finish it off to their specifications (makes life a lot easier).

            BTW you can also ignore everything I said about color/grayscale if you are creating an ebook. Color in ebooks incurs no additional charge.

            Here's the rub: with an ebook, you have to realize that the text and the pictures are resized per the individual reader. So what I see on my iPad will not be the same as what I see on my Android Phone or my Computer, all of which have Kindle apps on them. And if I'm feeling "old" today I might decide to increase the size of my font...so my point is that there is a lot that you can't control. Once you get past that mental hurdle, and realize you have limited control over how your book looks, you are well on your way. Kindle Create has a previewer feature so you can see how the book will look on every device before you commit.

            So, two different ways of creating the book - and once you have ONE of them done, they invite you to create the same book in the other format. Actually not hard at all, but here's another hint and then I'll leave you alone: Create your finished-copy PDF for the print version first from Powerpoint, Word or however you want to do it (if doing both versions I recommend Word or equivalent). Then use the same Word doc to create the ebook. Once you have used the kindle creator program, it becomes difficult to find your original file.

            If you want to take the conversation elsewhere, my email is gharkness @ gmail.com. I'll help as much as I can, but I am sure this is not beyond you once you get the base concepts down.
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            • Posted by starznbarz 3 weeks, 5 days ago
              I get up at 4 most days, it s the best time of the day. You are correct, this will be a print on demand, unless some publisher is rocked and wants to cut me a big check...OK, back to reality, I agree the e book is a poor choice for images mixed with text, I contributed to one years ago and it was OK, but not "right". I collect old/signed/1st editions and an e-book just doesnt blow my dress up. I appreciate the input, using Word for the actual copy is a great idea cause I only want to write it once. I `ll put your e mail in my contacts and may pester you again once I get further than planning and rough layout.
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              • Posted by  $  gharkness 3 weeks, 5 days ago
                Happy to be in your contact list.

                I too am usually up between 4 and 4:30 but woe be unto he who dares to even look at me before I have finished my morning "routine" which involves much coffee and close-and-personal time with my computer.

                Hubby knows to check the coffee machine carefully to make sure I've had mine before daring to speak in my direction :-)
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  • Posted by ABeautifulMind 3 weeks, 6 days ago
    Using the concepts and terms of Objectivism, I would prefer more modern examples and we could claim originality of our own ideas. Solving our future problems would generate more utils than an oil crisis or a train wreck.
    I cannot believe that so many peeps are stuck in her old ssshh...it.
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    • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 3 weeks, 1 day ago
      A "puzzle" book about Objectivism could make a fine teaching tool and propaganda organ. Situational questions could be included with a multiple-choice list of answers dealing with ethics, rational self-interest, equal rights, etc. The situations could be modern cases of conflicts and events in the real world. We need someone well versed in the Objectivist ethics and psycho-epistemology to set these up. Making up a crossword puzzle out of Rand's special vocabulary would be easier. Analogies, premises, core values... all would make fine puzzle topics. I would love to see a treatment of the many meanings of the word "selfishness" that Rand threw in the faces of the sacrifice crowd. Fifty shades of selfhood, not giving up a greater value for a lesser value, not living "for the sake of" another yet giving all for the sake of another whom one loves more than oneself. Think of Galt willing to kill himself to spare Dagny from being tortured. The whole topic of values would make a great boardgame. Sorting out how Rand's prime principles apply to today's situations would be a fine puzzle in its own right. Who's up for designing them?
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      • Posted by 2 weeks, 2 days ago
        Wow, many great ideas!! You were on a roll... I think the multiple choice questions would be very fun to answer - and to make. I can envision a card game that leads to discussions being very lively and stimulating too. An Objectivist version of those popular discussion card games out there now... but my original post was thinking about simpler puzzles and games like word puzzles.
        I'm still eager and open to talking with you more about these. My preference and recommendation would be to start and test with quicker, easier, and less expensive products first. Baby steps that get feedback from our target audience and prove we are on the right track. Let's talk and giddee-up!
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