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Academia Obscura: The Hidden Silly Side of Higher Education

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If you think the groves of academe are all stuffiness, elbow patches and greying old men... think again. Academia Obscura is an irreverent glimpse inside the ivory tower, exposing the eccentric and slightly unhinged world of university life. Take a trip through the spectrum of academic oddities and unearth the Easter eggs buried in peer reviewed papers, the weird and wonder If you think the groves of academe are all stuffiness, elbow patches and greying old men... think again. Academia Obscura is an irreverent glimpse inside the ivory tower, exposing the eccentric and slightly unhinged world of university life. Take a trip through the spectrum of academic oddities and unearth the Easter eggs buried in peer reviewed papers, the weird and wonderful world of scholarly social media, and rats in underpants. Procrastinating PhD student Glen Wright invites you to peruse his cabinet of curiosities and discover what academics get up to when no one's looking. Welcome to the hidden silly side of higher education.


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If you think the groves of academe are all stuffiness, elbow patches and greying old men... think again. Academia Obscura is an irreverent glimpse inside the ivory tower, exposing the eccentric and slightly unhinged world of university life. Take a trip through the spectrum of academic oddities and unearth the Easter eggs buried in peer reviewed papers, the weird and wonder If you think the groves of academe are all stuffiness, elbow patches and greying old men... think again. Academia Obscura is an irreverent glimpse inside the ivory tower, exposing the eccentric and slightly unhinged world of university life. Take a trip through the spectrum of academic oddities and unearth the Easter eggs buried in peer reviewed papers, the weird and wonderful world of scholarly social media, and rats in underpants. Procrastinating PhD student Glen Wright invites you to peruse his cabinet of curiosities and discover what academics get up to when no one's looking. Welcome to the hidden silly side of higher education.

30 review for Academia Obscura: The Hidden Silly Side of Higher Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Debi Roberts

    Glen Wright states that his primary goal in the writing of this book was increasing procrastination - and here he certainly has succeeded. I've barely achieved anything in the 24 hours I have had the book! Having followed @academiaobscura on Twitter for a long time - I couldn't help but get involved in the crowdfunding that brought this book to life (there, I paid money to get this book out there!) and it does not disappoint in any way. This is an irreverent look at the inherent humour, craziness Glen Wright states that his primary goal in the writing of this book was increasing procrastination - and here he certainly has succeeded. I've barely achieved anything in the 24 hours I have had the book! Having followed @academiaobscura on Twitter for a long time - I couldn't help but get involved in the crowdfunding that brought this book to life (there, I paid money to get this book out there!) and it does not disappoint in any way. This is an irreverent look at the inherent humour, craziness and borderline insanity that runs rampant through the academic world. I have laughed out loud at many of the tales contained within and I think the people around me who have had to hear me quote passages from the book are trying to decide whether to read it themselves or just tape my mouth up! An excellent read for anyone (with a sense of humour) involved in academia!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    I first came across this book via the Twitter account @AcademiaObscura. This is an account that points out the lighter, sometimes absurb, often downright freaking oddball, aspects of life as an academic. Now I have several academic friends and I have listened to their tales of woe (and student ignorance) at length. Not to mention the fact that I aspired to the academic life myself, though due to circumstances, was unable to reach it. Hell, my English teacher and I already had the title of my firs I first came across this book via the Twitter account @AcademiaObscura. This is an account that points out the lighter, sometimes absurb, often downright freaking oddball, aspects of life as an academic. Now I have several academic friends and I have listened to their tales of woe (and student ignorance) at length. Not to mention the fact that I aspired to the academic life myself, though due to circumstances, was unable to reach it. Hell, my English teacher and I already had the title of my first paper worked out! Watership Down: Rabbits and the Traditional Arthurian Quest Motif. The thing is, after reading this book, that putative paper sounds sane and sensible! I frequently laughed aloud at the sheer ridiculousness of some of the papers mentioned in the book. The scary thing is that the majority were science papers! Though most of the laughs came from the comfortable style, and quirky comments and footnotes of author Glen Wright. WARNING: This is one book where you MUST read the footnotes. You will miss too much if you don't. Hell, the footnotes alone are worth the price of the book. A must read for anyone who is an academic, knows an academic, aspires to be an academic, or has a twisted sense of humour. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll sit here and give some serious thought to actually writing that paper.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Graham

    ACADEMIA OBSCURA is less a book, more a collection of mildly diverting and amusing blog posts writtne over a number of years on the subject of the sillier side of academia. Thus the focus is very much on ridiculously-titled papers and theses with odd subject matters. The tone is conversational and down-to-earth, but the presentation is rather poor and the short chapters on each topic make this feel very repetitive and more than a little dull.

  4. 5 out of 5

    manka

    I've put a link to the IT Crowd's "internet is in this black box" into my Bachelor's thesis. The video was totally unrelated to my topic. I've quoted the most famous (and fictional) Czech's play in my Master's thesis. The quote was totally unrelated to the topic. This was the right book for me. The only question is whether I'll be able to get a penguin to my next paper and how long till I get a cat so it could be my co-author. I might have forgotten to mention this before: I've just started a PhD. I've put a link to the IT Crowd's "internet is in this black box" into my Bachelor's thesis. The video was totally unrelated to my topic. I've quoted the most famous (and fictional) Czech's play in my Master's thesis. The quote was totally unrelated to the topic. This was the right book for me. The only question is whether I'll be able to get a penguin to my next paper and how long till I get a cat so it could be my co-author. I might have forgotten to mention this before: I've just started a PhD. There's one thing I don't understand, now: how come there are people attempting to get / who got a PhD that didn't read this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

    I laughed and laughed and laughed.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Athan Tolis

    My buddy Jerome and I (separately) read Liar’s Poker in the summer of ’90 so we both ended up at Salomon Brothers a year later. The place was packed with people like us who did not mind wasting their youth trading bonds, because (i) the money was good and (ii) childish behavior was, if anything, encouraged. We knew we were living in some kind of golden age of misbehaving, so we started compiling a “fun file” of internal memos, emails, company results, axe sheets and publications that we hoped to My buddy Jerome and I (separately) read Liar’s Poker in the summer of ’90 so we both ended up at Salomon Brothers a year later. The place was packed with people like us who did not mind wasting their youth trading bonds, because (i) the money was good and (ii) childish behavior was, if anything, encouraged. We knew we were living in some kind of golden age of misbehaving, so we started compiling a “fun file” of internal memos, emails, company results, axe sheets and publications that we hoped to publish one day. I left in ’97, Jerome in ’99 and the fun file was passed on to our wiser friend Stefan, who retired well before his 50th birthday and intends to publish! “Academia Obscura” is not quite as good as the original Viz Profanisaurus that is to be found in our fun file, but is an extremely thorough compendium of hilarious factoids relating to the much more serious world of academia. It’s laugh-out-loud funny. Personal favorites were the author’s views on self-citation (p. 153) and his presentation of important findings regarding socks (p. 177). Before reading this book I’d mistakenly adopted the view it was gentlemen who are meant to always keep their socks on. On the other hand, the author tweets the very best bits all the time, and I follow him, so this was a bit like when I went to see “Clerks” and my friend Nick had already told me about the kid that bought the cigarettes, the girl who was allowed to “do everything” by the dead man and “I’m your friend, I got you chicks with…” So basically, if you already follow Academia Obscura on Twitter, you’ve already read the funniest bits. Then again, if you follow it you probably want to keep all those treasures in one place and a good, old-fashioned book is as safe a way as I know to keep it all in one place. It’s why I've kept my Profanisaurus, at any rate…

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan Antonescu

    A funny and interesting book about the "hidden silly side of higher education" (Wright 2017). Topics range from "Academic Publishing" (e.g., ATLAS Collaboration& Collaboration 2015 has 5,154 authors, 9 pages discussing the findings, and 24 pages listing the authors and their affiliations), and "Impact & Outreach" (e.g., Kardashian Index, Hall 2014, my K-index is 6.679 = "Kardashian"...), to "Conferences" (e.g., conference bingo, an excellent activity that keeps you engaged and awake at conferenc A funny and interesting book about the "hidden silly side of higher education" (Wright 2017). Topics range from "Academic Publishing" (e.g., ATLAS Collaboration& Collaboration 2015 has 5,154 authors, 9 pages discussing the findings, and 24 pages listing the authors and their affiliations), and "Impact & Outreach" (e.g., Kardashian Index, Hall 2014, my K-index is 6.679 = "Kardashian"...), to "Conferences" (e.g., conference bingo, an excellent activity that keeps you engaged and awake at conferences), and "Academic Animals"** (e.g., Hetherington and Willard 1975). Decision: highly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Simon Curling

    This book is a dip into the rather strange world of academic life, and is probably best appreciated by someone working in that environment. The author is an academic trying to finish his PhD and has taken a few of the weird things he has come across and made it into a blog and book. It covers the strangeness that is academic publishing, paper production (including the number of cats named as authors!), conferences and academic life in general. Interesting but a bit niche to say the least.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    I had no idea academia could be quite so weird and surprising, and sometimes laugh out loud funny. This book is super entertaining, even for a non-academic like me, and I think it's a must-read for anyone in academia with a sense of humor. I had no idea academia could be quite so weird and surprising, and sometimes laugh out loud funny. This book is super entertaining, even for a non-academic like me, and I think it's a must-read for anyone in academia with a sense of humor.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emilie Champagne

    A funny book about academia, with all sorts of fun fact, stupid or weird stories. Just what you need to relax, when the day in this system is just too much.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Filip Olšovský

    Original and funny but still lacking two important elements – at least a slightly stronger narrative and a much more critical approach towards academy as such. It slowly gets there in the end (the chapter on Conferences is brilliant) but that is just not enough. The whole academic field just asks to be criticized as hard as possible and all the cats and dressed rats should be just funny sidenotes.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Axiel

    Very few books make me burst in laughter, loudly, with a shake off my chest. This is one of them. Cannot recommend enough.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Savyasachee

    Are you an academic? Locked in an ivory tower? Do you have a sense of humour? Pick this book up. An entertaining read about the idiosyncrasies of Homo academicus, this book will definitely brighten up your day. The writer, a PhD student himself, talks about a wealth of topics. Conferences, cats, Shakespeare in science, plagiarism, originality, wit, witticisms, the Oxford comma, nearly everything academics go crazy on has a place in this book. The slightly dry, whimsical tone of the book really se Are you an academic? Locked in an ivory tower? Do you have a sense of humour? Pick this book up. An entertaining read about the idiosyncrasies of Homo academicus, this book will definitely brighten up your day. The writer, a PhD student himself, talks about a wealth of topics. Conferences, cats, Shakespeare in science, plagiarism, originality, wit, witticisms, the Oxford comma, nearly everything academics go crazy on has a place in this book. The slightly dry, whimsical tone of the book really sets the tone for an enjoyable jaunt through academic-fantasy-land. The author does everyone a favour by not taking the subject matter too seriously. Instead, there's open laughter at the number of "Fuck"s published in literature (more than you'd think) and the number of "Cunt"s (none, to the author's surprise), the various reasons academic papers have been rejected, and of course, the one in a million attempts at cartoonishly falsifying data and getting caught. Keeping to the best traditions of academic publishing, the author liberally sources his work. I must admit I didn't glance through the sources too keenly, so I cannot say whether there's any Easter Eggs hidden in the text or not. I wouldn't be surprised if there were, though. Some day, I'd like to sit down and comb through the sources with a fine-toothed comb and try to see if I can find something to email the author about. And the best bit about it all? The author is a fellow PhD student! An easy 5/5, would recommend if you have a sense of humour, and would recommend even if you don't. This book will go some ways in developing it yet!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melody Schwarting

    I bought this on a lark (I think I was purchasing the next semester's textbooks) and it has been a rollicking ride. Beware that it's really about scientific academia--only a few references to the humanities and other disciplinary fields--but it's hilarious all the same. My husband, a research scientist, found it uproarious. I, a non-scientist, deeply enjoyed it. You'll laugh out loud for sure. I definitely recommend it for impostor syndrome and scholarly blues. I bought this on a lark (I think I was purchasing the next semester's textbooks) and it has been a rollicking ride. Beware that it's really about scientific academia--only a few references to the humanities and other disciplinary fields--but it's hilarious all the same. My husband, a research scientist, found it uproarious. I, a non-scientist, deeply enjoyed it. You'll laugh out loud for sure. I definitely recommend it for impostor syndrome and scholarly blues.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Stewart

    Academia Obscure by Glen Wright explores the hidden humorous, bizarre and unexpected side of academia, looking at topics ranging from academics' love of their pets (and publishing with them too) to all the Easter eggs hidden in published articles. Just having finished by first semester of my PhD, this book was poignant ("publish or perish" is a mantra I've heard several times already) and hilarious with all the things I can do in the future. This book shows that humor is important to hold onto d Academia Obscure by Glen Wright explores the hidden humorous, bizarre and unexpected side of academia, looking at topics ranging from academics' love of their pets (and publishing with them too) to all the Easter eggs hidden in published articles. Just having finished by first semester of my PhD, this book was poignant ("publish or perish" is a mantra I've heard several times already) and hilarious with all the things I can do in the future. This book shows that humor is important to hold onto during the rigor of academia, and I think Wright's book does an excellent job showing the hidden silly side of higher education. I'm definitely passing this book to the rest of my cohort.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wouter

    An excellent read if you want to have a quick laugh at weird people like academics. The sheer brilliance of weirdness made me chuckle out loud more than once. It's funny and quite sad at the same time, and causes me to doubt whether I want to stay in that world or not. Every sector has it's shortcomings and Glen points us towards weird teaching methods, goofy experiences and the use and misuse of publications. It was over too quick, and I doubt I'll remember much after a few months. Amusing but An excellent read if you want to have a quick laugh at weird people like academics. The sheer brilliance of weirdness made me chuckle out loud more than once. It's funny and quite sad at the same time, and causes me to doubt whether I want to stay in that world or not. Every sector has it's shortcomings and Glen points us towards weird teaching methods, goofy experiences and the use and misuse of publications. It was over too quick, and I doubt I'll remember much after a few months. Amusing but forgettable.

  17. 5 out of 5

    S.

    Apart from learning some insolite things about Academia, I hold this book in high esteem of being a great punny introduction to what it looks like doing research with an optimistic attitude... In my case, maybe I should mention this book as a co-author as well, since it brought me laughter and peace essentially needed to undergo any writing process... "I implore you to own this insanity. Send a silly academic tweet, study an improbable topic, or include a humorous reference in your next paper." Apart from learning some insolite things about Academia, I hold this book in high esteem of being a great punny introduction to what it looks like doing research with an optimistic attitude... In my case, maybe I should mention this book as a co-author as well, since it brought me laughter and peace essentially needed to undergo any writing process... "I implore you to own this insanity. Send a silly academic tweet, study an improbable topic, or include a humorous reference in your next paper."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gerda

    This was a collection of modern academia related anecdotes. It wasn't bad, but I imagined something different when I bought it. I thought it would be more historical and, well, obscure. The writing was OK, but the structure could have been better. It was broken down into sections with no real connection between then, except (I guess) that academia can be kind of funny. I enjoyed some sections more and some less (the twitter section was so bland and redundant I almost stopped reading the book entir This was a collection of modern academia related anecdotes. It wasn't bad, but I imagined something different when I bought it. I thought it would be more historical and, well, obscure. The writing was OK, but the structure could have been better. It was broken down into sections with no real connection between then, except (I guess) that academia can be kind of funny. I enjoyed some sections more and some less (the twitter section was so bland and redundant I almost stopped reading the book entirely).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vinko Culjak Mathieu

    Wright's Academia Obscura is a hilarious examination and response to the 'sillier side of higher education'. It highlights the little things that make academia enjoyable and also maddening. It brings to light many problems in academia with a light hearted tone but still gets the reader to think about those problems. A thoroughly enjoyable book that everyone should read, especially those contemplating a career in academia. Wright's Academia Obscura is a hilarious examination and response to the 'sillier side of higher education'. It highlights the little things that make academia enjoyable and also maddening. It brings to light many problems in academia with a light hearted tone but still gets the reader to think about those problems. A thoroughly enjoyable book that everyone should read, especially those contemplating a career in academia.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maria Rigaki

    I absolutely enjoyed this book. It gives an insight on the funny and sometime silly side of academia with footnotes and full references while at it! Although it is about academia, one does not have to be an academic to enjoy this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    thefoliofiles

    If you are connected to the academia in any way (researcher, student, publisher, family of...), this is a wonderful look into its oddities and eccentricities. The one book (barring Terry Pratchett's) where I read all the footnotes. If you are connected to the academia in any way (researcher, student, publisher, family of...), this is a wonderful look into its oddities and eccentricities. The one book (barring Terry Pratchett's) where I read all the footnotes.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carissa Gomes

    Really interesting read even for a non-academic It was absolutely informative and amusing. I shared the information acquired with all my friend, Albeit weird. Looking for a part two.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Maclellan

    Did not meet expectations. Although there are a few funny anecdotes in this book, in general it is not ver funny. I am not sure why there are so many footnotes and why each section of footnotes begins in the same way.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Josephine Xu

    Fun! Perfect for procrastinating. Glad I wasted time and money on this. Interesting and humorous perspectives of the academia and reminded me of all the good times and the not so good times of academic life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Henry Percy

    Summary of some of the stupidist academic research. Author too clever by half. We don't need his "witty" comments telling just how ridiculous the research is. Just the facts, please. Tedious, though it has moments. Summary of some of the stupidist academic research. Author too clever by half. We don't need his "witty" comments telling just how ridiculous the research is. Just the facts, please. Tedious, though it has moments.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Javier Bustos

    sometimes funny sometimes a brick

  27. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Pentecost

    Absolutely hilarious. I love the blog and this is the blog on steroids. If you are in academia this will help you take yourself less seriously. Love it love it love it!,,,

  28. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    I wanted to like this but I found the style very dull. I didn't finish it. I wanted to like this but I found the style very dull. I didn't finish it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Macarena Martínez

    Excellent book for those that are interested in Academia. I truly mean this. Academia Obscura is a fabulous collection of anecdotic data that occurs in research with a high sense of humor.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Volodymyr Kulikov

    Great entertaining book.

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