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The Dice Man (Dice Man #1)

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  8,219 ratings  ·  533 reviews
The cult classic that can still change your life... Let the dice decide! This is the philosophy that changes the life of bored psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart -- and in some ways changes the world as well. Because once you hand over your life to the dice, anything can happen. Entertaining, humorous, scary, shocking, subversive, The Dice Man is one of the cult bestsellers of ou...more
Paperback, 541 pages
Published 1999 by HarperCollins (first published 1971)
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardBreaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer1984 by George Orwell
Best Ending
147th out of 988 books — 1,741 voters
Catch-22 by Joseph HellerThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienUlysses by James JoyceMoby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman MelvilleHoly Bible by Anonymous
The Most Begun "Read but Unfinished" (Initiated) book ever
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Hannah Eiseman-Renyard
Author Too in Love with his Own Concept to See the Gaping Blindspots

This is a novel which was recommended to me by friends as "if you liked Fight Club you'll love this." Though I can see the comparison, I liked Fight Club and I really didn't like this one. Fight Club was lean and taut, this was bloated and outdated - like some lecherous late middle-aged guy you run in to at a party, who proceeds to trap you in a conversation you’d rather not be in.

Once I started reading I discovered that my fr...more
Manny
The basic plot of The Dice Man is simple. The hero, pretty drunk, is cleaning up one evening after a party. He sees a die lying under a playing card, and a thought comes into his head: if it's a one, I'll rape Arlene. He picks up the card, and it is, indeed, a one!

So he goes downstairs to his neighbor, and says he's going to rape her. As it happens, no rape is needed, since she'd anyway been thinking that he was rather hot, and what a shame he'd never tried anything. They begin an affair, which...more
Judith
I let the dice dictate what review I write.
My review should be...

1. a normal one
2. just 1 word
3. a fairy-tale
4. in rhyme
5. a hatemail
6. non-existent

I roll a... 4

As the author of this book already said,
Never create an option on which you don't want to bet.
So now I am stuck with having to write a review in rhyme :-(
But imagine having the dice control your life every single time
For that is what Dr. Rhinehart in this book sets out to do
The dice control what he eats, when he sleeps, when he goes to...more
Charlotte
Well this book provided me with a first - it is the first book (as an adult) I have started reading and not finished. Usually, no matter how dull a book gets, I plough on to the end in hope of a revival 3/4 of the way through, but of The Dice Man, 140 pages were all I could bear before it was thrown in a charity shop bag.

On reading the back of the book I had high hopes - the concept sounded fantastic, really interesting and fun - I thought I'd found a real page-turner.

But no - how wrong I was....more
Frank Weber
This book is awful.
I don't know how it was a best seller in the 70's.
The worst thing about it is that you can tell the author is enamored by his main character, who is a narcissistic imbecile.

It's a childish, racist, homophobic rant by someone who's sexually frustrated.

The end.


Jeremy
Picnicker

Due to other reviews, let me first state that this is a heavily ironic, playful and darkly-humorous novel.

Dispersonate

A work of fiction.

Scythestone

It is enjoyable as just this, but becomes even more interesting if you're familiar with the ideas of Nietzsche: as critique or affirmation?

hobnob

It's actually hard to tell...

Cretaceously

Rhinehart is playful with a whole range of ideas here, from morality to the modern notion of self.

Conquer

He also matches the mood of the story to the style of the narration is very interesting ways.

Arras

Try to not...more
Dan
The Dice Man resembles comic narratives set in academia, such as David Lodge's Small World: An Academic Romance or Robert Grudin’s Book. However, this is not only a satire of the psychiatric industry in America; at times, it reads like the type of radical re-thinking of reality that often accompanies the emergence of a new religion. Its protagonist is Luke Rhinehart, a professional psychiatrist who decides early in the novel to let dice determine his actions. Before long, his dice-throwing has s...more
Liz
The Dice Man is a book I'd heard about and was happy to read when it was suggested for book club. It started off well; a depressed psychiatrist roles a dice to determine his fate, starting a random chain of events that challenge his identity and steer him further and further from his comfortable middle class life. In it's anarchic and comic way, the novel asks why we stick to the narrow scripted roles we're familiar with, when we have the ability to chose from a much wider range of life's possib...more
Michael
Thank goodness that's over.

I re-read this book as preparation for a talk that I'm giving about chance. I remember hating the book the first time I read it (probably about a decade ago). I hate it more now.

Essentially, the plot is that a psychotherapist (named Luke Rhinehart, as is the author of the book) is bored of his mundane life, and decides to improve it by assigning options to a 6-sided dice, rolling it, and then living his life according to the options. Unfortunately, the options that Rhi...more
Ensiform
The hero of this novel (sharing the author’s name) is a psychologist who, jaded and sunk into ennui, decides on a whim based on the turn of a die to “rape” (read: seduce) his colleague’s wife. After the success of his seduction, he turns to aleatory direction more and more (creating his own options and letting the die decide which to do), until he’s built a whole religion or cult after the Dice, complete with nationwide centers where inductees are required to cast away all inhibitions and identi...more
Michael McGovern
SPOILER LEVEL: Moderate.

I met an interesting girl at a party once. Certainly not the world’s most unique of circumstances, but what drew my interest to her was what drew me to this book.

There this person stood, drink in hand and no stranger to hobbies branded as unusual. She it turned out was a contortionist and juggling extraordinaire. But most fascinating of all, she referred to herself as The Dice Lady. My eyes darted to her ears where the sides of a mutilated die punched holes and mutilated...more
Zubin
Feb 06, 2008 Zubin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone stuck in their ways
Recommended to Zubin by: AT THE FUCKING GATES!!!!
this book fundamentally changed my perspectives on decision making, our roles in society, and the whole idea of the individual self. Rhinehart suggests that the idea of the self is a crutch that pigeonholes us and prevents us from experiencing things that we would not experience if we were "being ourselves".

the premise of the book is that luke rhinehart, a psychologist, decides one day to make all his decisions based on the roll of the die. he writes down six options for what he might do, then...more
Linn
The reason why people are disappointed after reading this book must (or might) be because it's starting a bit slow; you probably won't get completely hooked until somewhere in, or after, the middle. That's where everything explodes and gets completely out of control. It's an insane book for somewhat insane people, that's why I nowadays recommend it only to a few people although it's one of the best books I've ever read. The people I recommend it to are those with unconventional philosophies abou...more
Lisa
Sep 10, 2009 Lisa rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: David
Hmmm, I'm really not sure about this one.

What started off as rather interesting and highly amusing got rather flabby around the midsection, and the novelty of Luke's random adventures as Dice Man soon started to wear off. The numerous (and sometimes seemingly endless) discussions surrounding the psychiatry of the dice and it's use as a therapeutic tool also grew rather tiresome and by the end, although intermittently entertained, I was rather relieved to have finished it.

It didn't help that the...more
Marvin
This is a re-read. Originally read this in 1971 and remembered it to be a funny and scathing satire on all the faddish psycho-therapies and theories that inundated the 60s and 70s. Should be interesting to see how it holds up.

.....

Well. it did not hold up very well. While The Dice Man enjoys a cult following it is still a book locked in the 60s and not treated all that well in the 21st century. The 60s and 70s was a time of upheaval for psychotherapy. There were some exciting ideas in the air bu...more
Catachresis
If I could give this negative stars, I would weigh it down so heavily it would sink to the bottom of the ocean, through the sea bed itself, and burn, burn, burn in the magma of the earth's core.

This book is so badly written that it only attains one thing - it holds the prize for the greatest discrepancy between quality of the idea vs. execution in literary (if it can be so called) history.

Abominable. So bad in fact that the prominence it is always given in bookstores - because they know people w...more
Myranda
Traditional autobiographies wish to help you understand how the adult was "formed." I suppose most human beings, like clay chamber pots, are "formed" - and are used accordingly. But I? I am born anew at each green fall of the die, and by die-ing, I eliminate my since. The past - paste, pus, piss - is all only illusory events created by a stone mask to justify an illusory stagnant present. Living flows, and the only possible justification of an autobiography is that it happened by chance to be wr...more
Ian Mapp
This has sat on my shelves for an age and despite knowing the premise, the book was nothing like I expected.

I was expecting a light hearted romp about someone using a dice to make key decisions. It was actually a pseudo serious attempt at pschyotherapy. An interesting premise but my god, how its dated from its 70s style.

I mean, can you really get away with using the dice to rape a family friend. Unless the 70s definition of rape is seduce! I dont know.

In an interesting expose of the practice of...more
Nikolai
Sep 27, 2011 Nikolai rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who can enjoy offbeat satire without attacking an intentional lack of realism.
I'm planning to add a more thorough review later, but for now, I want to defend a few things about this book that seem to have made people utterly furious. It can be summarised thus: this is not meant to be a work of realism and careful psychological characterisation, with clear and sensible motivations. It is meant to illustrate an interesting, imperfect theory while poking fun at every facet of psychiatric tradition, and many of human nature.

I have no idea how so many people could misread this...more
Ashkan
Oct 17, 2010 Ashkan rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lecherous old men
Shelves: did-not-finish
I could not enjoy this book at all. In fact I enjoyed it so little I could not even muster up the energy to finish reading. I stopped reading about 200 pages in, so if it suddenly became awesome after that you can just ignore this review.

Dice Man is obviously written by a fairly sad man gripped by midlife crisis. I know nothing about the author but I am going to make some bold presumptions based on the book. Correct me if I'm wrong.

-He was around 50 when wrote this
-He hated his life
-He hated his...more
BrokenTune
Not sure how this got to be a cult book. I enjoyed the 70s feel of the story, but couldn't get over the inherent flaw in the logic behind the idea of being liberated by assigning decisions to the roll of a dice. By inherent flaw, I mean that by both assigning a choice of action to the dice or by choosing to roll the dice in the first place, the choice is made by man not dice.

Velvetink
I read this in 1980 after a workmate recommended it to me. Now, I can't remember the main character or the plot ( but I didn't really like either) other than the idea of throwing a dice to make decisions. It was that freedom that I remember gaining from the book that is particularly invaluable to someone who is indecisive.
Laurel
Let’s see. I give the dice one chance in six that I review The Dice Man positively. Seriously, this book is so 70s; I can see why it became a cult classic. Raw, compelling, obscene, insane, hilarious, freakish, and frightening, a number of words come to mind. Throughout the entire time I read this book I felt I was being reeled in, page by page, into deeper and darker territory, continuing whether I wanted to or not. I might have recommended this book when it was first published. I wouldn’t toda...more
Richard Mulholland
Bizarre, difficult... but great.
Louisa Talipski
The worst book I've read in a while. The main character is a borderline psychopath, but without the entertainment value of someone like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. The book constantly tries to shock with its numerous depictions of sexual violence and other forms of physical and psychological abuse, but these scenes have no other purpose: they're completely gratuitous.

What bothers me the most is that the entire book is predicated on one concept that the author never manages to sell, an...more
Dot Gumbi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alanpalmer
This book comes with the intriguing Strapline that it might change your life: it didn't.

The basis of the story is that the protagonist stops taking decisions determining his own future and actions and starts rolling dice to decide what to do. An interesting plot idea however that is only the front for this book. Aall dirty books have a front from which the charachter gets into various sexual scenes: washing machine repair man, hairdresser, vacuume cleaner slaesman etc. This book just has a slig...more
Tanya
What could have been an uplifting and adventure filled read turned out to be an almost insane drivel on how you can take any bright idea and use it to turn everything in your life negative. The book is so bad that I actually decided a 100 pages away from the ending that I really don't want to insult my senses anymore by finishing this crap.

The author obviously wanted to write something powerful and influential but ended but creating the most uninspiring, annoying and unintelligent work of litera...more
Alan Armstrong
The setting might be somewhat dated now and perhaps audiences are more desensitised these days but the subject matter is timeless. The feeling of a suppressive social system of rules, mores and standards, feeling like you are just going through the motions because that's what you SHOULD do and what everyone else does. But by resigning to the will of random chaos, where your behaviour is subject to chance rather than conformism.

We watch as the lead character finds first new freedom but soon learn...more
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Luke Rhinehart is the pen name of the author George Cockcroft.

George Cockcroft was born in the United States, son of an engineer and a civil servant. He received a BA from Cornell University and an MA from Columbia University. Subsequently he received a PhD in psychology, also from Columbia. He married his wife, Ann, on June 30, 1956. He has three children.

After obtaining his PhD, he went into tea...more
More about Luke Rhinehart...
The Search for the Dice Man Long Voyage Back Whim The Book of Est The Book of the Die

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“ Give up all hope, all illusion, all desire..I've tried. I've tried and still I desire, I still desire not to desire and hope to be without hope and have the illusion I can be without illusions..Give up, I say. Give up everything, including the desire to be saved.” 14 likes
“Why did children seem to be so often spontaneous, joy-filled and concentrated while adults seemed controlled, anxiety-filled and diffused? It was the Goddam sense of having a self.” 8 likes
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