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The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time
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The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time

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3.17 of 5 stars 3.17  ·  rating details  ·  945 ratings  ·  293 reviews
The signs of the times are missing apostrophes.

The world needed a hero, but how would an editor with no off-switch answer the call? For Jeff Deck, the writing was literally on the wall: “NO TRESSPASSING.” In that moment, his greater purpose became clear. Dark hordes of typos had descended upon civilization… and only he could wield the marker to defeat them.

Recruiting his f...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Crown (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,477)
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Sarah Wingo
Aug 17, 2010 Sarah Wingo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book clubs
So um, this book is awesome. I'm not even sure where to start with how awesomely well put together this book is (guess that's what happens when an editor writes a book). First of all Borders has it shelved in the "Writing Style" section of the store, and while I realize that it is about grammar and punctuation I feel that categorization it has been given is misleading. What this book achieves is not a dry or tedious lecture on grammatical style, but rather a Bill Bryson-esque travel writing styl...more
Gerry
I'm an editor. Sure, I work at a pharmaceutical ad agency, not the New York Times, but I am paid to catch typos, correct grammar, and uphold the tenets of the style guide. At work, I care about these things. Today, for instance, I spent half an hour fixing one sentence. I talked the fix over with two different editors. Then I talked to the copywriter about the sentence, and then we fixed it. Then, after we fixed it, I fixed it again. At work, people expect me to care.

But off the clock, I don't c...more
Stephanie
I should begin this post with a disclaimer. As a lover of words, a notorious pedant, grammar nazi extraordinaire, and neologiser of the word "misapostrophication" I have a vested interest in the subject matter of this book. I hold an honours degree in linguistics, have spent more than a few years in publishing (okay, just a few--I'm twenty-five, after all), have a thing for asyndetic coordination. On my good days I like to consider myself a descriptivist, merrily taking in the language usage of...more
Jafar
So these two dorks decide to take a few months off work, go around the country in a big road trip, find all the publicly displayed typos, and correct as many as they can. While this indeed may be a fun thing to do, it’s not necessarily fun to read about. There’s very little justification for the publication of this book other than the authors recovering the cost of their trip. The “adventures” that they face, id est, getting various people to allow them to correct the typos, are really not much...more
Velma
Nov 13, 2010 Velma rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The apostrophe police
You should know that had I written my review before finishing the book, it might have been a '1-star', or maybe a '2-star' affair; which is to say, since I eventually awarded this book 3 stars, that it gets better so don't, when you inevitably want to, bail on this book.

The reason I feel so torn is not because the premise isn't an intriguing one (it is), nor is it because the author can't write (he can). No, it's because the author often writes too much. I think he was going for wry and dry, übe...more
Dolly
Mar 23, 2011 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy reading books about grammar
I rather enjoyed this story. It takes a few not-so-recent college graduates on a journey of exploration...to see the country and to fix grammatical and spelling errors where they find them. I love that it ends up being a journey of self-discovery as well as a lesson in humility. My one complaint is that the authors use too many "50-cent" words. They caution the reader to self-edit and review. I think they should have edited their own book a bit more to use less flowery language (see the list of...more
Jamie
I love the concept of this book. It’s about a couple of guys who go on a road trip, traveling all over the United States correcting spelling and punctuation errors on public signs. They take before and after photographs and keep score of typos found vs. typos fixed.

Some business owners are agreeable and even grateful for the corrections. Some are apathetic, but permit the mistakes to be fixed. Others stubbornly refuse to allow corrections. The guys take care to make any corrections as subtle as...more
Traci
As someone who now has a small gig proofreading for a small publisher, I cannot tell you how much I loved this book. If you are a self-proclaimed "grammar nazi," then this book is for you. If you've ever looked at a sign in public and shaken your head at a horrible misspelling, this book is for you. If you're one of those people that know the difference between its/it's, your/you're, to/too/two, etc, this book is for you.

Besides all the great typos Deck found (and trust me, there are some real d...more
Sheila
I remember reading about "the great typo hunt" in the papers—which are, of course, a valuable source of lesser typos. I’m not particularly good at spotting errors in casual writing, or at spelling either, though I do know the rules and can usually apply them with a little help from my computer. So I reserve a special sympathy for those whose signage lacks accuracy. Also, I like rebelling against a teacher mother and a husband who’s very detail-oriented. “Play In Doors or Out” evokes quiet smiles...more
Victoria
I laughed out loud through parts of this fun, quirky book, not something I usually do. The idea behind the story is incredibly simple: take a road trip around the country correcting typos in public places. But Deck draws you into the story, with cliffhangers at nearly every chapter end. In the prefaces to each chapter he imagines himself a grammar superhero, fighting the dark powers of ignorance and defensiveness. He questions why he is doing this, and ends up on all kinds of interesting tangent...more
M. E.  Kinkade
Fixing grammar AND referencing The Lord of the Rings? I think I've found my intellectual soulmate!

Ok, now that I've finished the book... it is amazing. I love the way Deck analyzes not only his trip, but the value of language, the changes over time and culture, and the value of education. It's SUCH an informative and inspiring read.

Count me in as a member of TEAL!
Jim Thomsen
When I was about Jeff Deck's age, I could relate to being to at loose ends with my career and my life. I wish I'd had the idea that Deck had — to take a trip around the United States finding and correcting typos in public signage, and to blog about it along the way in hopes of drawing attention to the cause. (I had the chops, churlishness and willingness, but I spent a year working in Yellowstone instead.)

Deck's idea was a bit of an ill-defined monkeyshine at the time, with some predictably ill...more
Emily
Even though I majored in English and thought I'd enjoy this book, I was so bored! The author's around-the-country typo-correcting spree sounded interesting, and it may have been for him, but the book sure didn't turn out that way. First off, he bounces around between gung-ho and depressed about his adventure, then veers off on random philosophical/political asides that are, frankly, kind of annoying (mostly because he brings them up, then drops them without fleshing them out, and rarely offers s...more
Kristal Cooper
Disturbed because he hadn't done anything useful with his life by his 5-year (?!?) high school reunion, Jeff Beck decided to tour the United States with the goal of finding typos in public places and correcting them. When I saw an interview with this guy on the Today Show, I thought that it was a great thing to do, just probably not worthy of a whole book. Unfortunately, I was 120% right. There's not much substance, but you will find more adjectives and adverbs than you thought it was humanly po...more
Ensiform
After his five-year college reunion, editor and writer Deck was left looking for a last road trip that he could infuse with meaning. Hitting upon the idea of correcting “typos” (read: mistakes based on poor literacy skills) found in public signs, he and a friend formed the somewhat tongue-in-cheek Typo Eradication Advancement League and started on their quest, armed with Sharpies and correction fluid. It’s all fun and games until the friends make the naïve mistake of correcting a sign on public...more
Jennifer
Loved this book, which may be because I spend a lot of time at work going back and forth with our legal department on where commas should be placed in a sentence!

The language reminded me a lot of the show "Big Bang Theory" (which I love!) because the authors use a very large vocabulary to get across a very specific point, even though one or two words could have been a good enough. But, it made me think!

Here's a glimpse of what you're in for...a sampling of my favorite quotes from this book:

Whe...more
Gabriel
This is a very interesting take on language and the future of it. Though part of it felt too much like name-dropping (is it really important that we know he's reading Red Mars at the end of the trip?) and fell into some issues that could have been cleared with stylistic editing, the rest of it was pointed and very good. It definitely gave me lots to think about and I will probably go back through this book later enjoying many of the characters and plots again.

Is this book for you? Well, the prem...more
Darcy
I really wanted to like this book--the premise is right up my alley: a guy notices typos all over the place and decides to take a road trip to correct what he sees around the country. Should be funny, right? Well, there is humor here, but it mostly reads like an excuse for a shy, editor-type to share his self-righteous views about politics, education, and the rules of English. Oh, and he likes to show you that he knows big words. You wouldn't think that a book about typo-hunting could include st...more
Lisa Roney
This book was a lark and a pleasure. Even though I loved the idea of a story about a couple of guys (and a couple more helpers) taking off for a 'round the country road trip to correct typos in signs, I couldn't imagine how that could stay interesting for 250 pages. But they did it! The story unfolds and the issues change and evolve as they progress around the country and re-think what they are doing. There's even a twist at the end that is awful but hilarious. The book is a real portrait of bot...more
Stefanie
I really enjoyed this one, even though I wasn't sure I would in the first few chapters. This story of friends touring the country and correcting typos is very entertaining once you embrace the somewhat hyperbolic "English majors showing off" writing style. Some of the text is a little pompous, but after a while you realize that's part of the goof, that they're poking fun at their "mission." Once I realized that, I just dug in and went along for the ride. If you like language, you'll probably lik...more
Steve P
I've seldom read so tiresome, annoying, trivial, and relentlessly unfunny a book. Being an editor myself, I thought this was a great idea for a book--traveling across the country fixing the kind of nearly ubiquitous errors that rile me to no end. I was wrong. It is indeed a bad idea for a book, but, as the book's main editor (who is thanked profusely in the "Acknowledgments") no doubt perceived, the originality of its conception and the youthfulness of its author attracted the media's attention...more
Moira
I picked this book up for the title. I loved it but am now slightly afraid to write about it because I can't spell worth a darn (thank you computer for the lovely red line that appears whenever I truly misspell a word). But it frustrates me when people don't care enough about what they put out in the world to look at it twice before releasing it to the public.

Back to the book: I enjoyed the story involved as much as the need to correct the typos, but I think what really made the book fabulous t...more
Janet
I think my favorite thing about this book may be that I didn’t find a single typo in it (though how ironic would it be if I had?). I often feel our country's written correspondence is suffering from an increasing “dumbing down,” so it was refreshing to read about people who not only care about our language, but are doing what they can to inform and educate. Okay, I have to confess. I re-read my entry multiple times before posting—just in case I have a typo. :)
Catherine Thompson
Jeff Deck sets out on an epic quest to rid America of typos. Along the way he encounters resistance, acceptance, and downright rudeness as he and his fellow members of TEAL (the Typo Eradication Advancement League) try to help others see the errors of their ways.

Deck started out wanting to change the world, like his fellow university graduates, but all he had were his editorial skills. I can empathize with him, because sadly, editorial skills are pretty much my greatest skills (sometimes I fear...more
Will
I am a news producer and this book was a great read about the search for typos in everyday society that drive me crazy.

Their search across the country made me shake my head at times.

in many ways this is a great book about a cross-country road trip.

Katie
Jul 07, 2011 Katie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I needed something lighter after reading two histories in a row and I think this one is going to fit the bill. I'm already laughing aloud on the subway and only two chapters in!
Lee
A fun read, I wish I had known about their blog as they travelled. I enjoyed the analysis (and self-analysis) that they carried out as they croseed the country.
Sonja
I liked the concept a lot, but it seemed strung out a bit too long - maybe I felt like that because the mock-heroic style got on my nerves after a while.
Stephanie
The premise of this book was appealing, but I only got about half way through before I was tired of reading about all the typos he found.
Erika Fellars
Very entertaining and well-written book, especially for all of you grammar lovers out there. :)
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Jeff Deck lives in South Berwick, Maine.
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