Since 2009, Dan Ryckert’s life has been well documented. Whether through his writing, live appearances, tweets, or thousands of hours of videos and podcasts, his work has been seen by many. He’s set two Guinness World Records, earned the ire of legendary baseball players, penned two novels about an alligator fighter pilot, raised thousands for charity via custom Super Mario Bros. levels, and works a side job as a professional wrestling manager. These are the stories that people already know.
Before jumping headfirst into the public eye, Ryckert’s history was just as unique. He’s been a Catholic schoolboy and an insufferable movie theater employee. He’s befriended the insane and almost been stabbed. Time and time again, he’s taken long shots that have inexplicably paid off in ridiculous ways. Dan Ryckert’s history of unlikely events didn’t start in 2009. They were happening for 25 years prior to that, and the details can be found in The Dumbest Kid in Gifted Class.
They say don't judge a book by its cover, but when I saw the title of this one, I had to read it! After all, I WAS the dumbest kid in the gifted class! I knew nothing about the author, but I immediately liked him from his writing style. He and I would have gotten along as kids and I more than likely would have had a crush on him. That may have made things awkward between us, but then Dan is the kind of guy that taunts the Westboro Baptist Church by running around their protests in a shark costume! Then he walks across the street and hugs the gay rights supporters, considering them on the right side of the debate! How can you not love a guy like that?!
As for the stories, they were all engaging and fun to read. Even stories that focused on his love of wrestling - something I've never been into - kept my attention. He comes across as awkward, but smart; lazy, but able to achieve his goals (mostly!). This was a great read. I'm glad I judged the book by its cover!
A collection of true stories that could only happen to Dan
I was introduced to the mind of Dan Ryckert when he joined the Giant Bomb team. His enthusiasm and genuine sense of fun makes him an interesting person to watch. But it's his stories that draw me in. With the mix of "how can this be true?" And "no one really thinks like that do they?" From "egg whites" to "normal guy stuff" Dan's stories on the Giant Bombcast keep me coming back for more. And when I heard he would be putting out a book with some of his stories that he never told? Well, I had to read it. Dan does a great job drawing you into his goofy life adventures. His stories seem unbelievable, yet you can tell there just no way to make them up. If you like to laugh at a genuine goofball, whose life really is stranger than fiction, this book is for you.
Former Game Informer writer and current giantbomb.com staffer, Dan Ryckert has had many unique adventures he has told of his past on the podcasts I have listened to him on over the years. This book collects a lot of his stories ranging all the way back from being in 'gifted' class to slacking off in high school and college part time jobs, dorm and college party tales and to his anxious attempts starting off in the dating scene.
'The Dumbest Kid in Gifted Class' reminds me of similar books put out by Tucker Max like 'I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell.' Most of Dan's stories are not quite as brazen as Tucker's, but there is still a lot of good material in here to see how Dan eventually became who he is today. Listening to Dan on podcasts for the last several years I went in presuming I would hear a lot of recycled material, but a majority of the encounters he writes here about are the first time I recall hearing them.
There are a few tales in here I heard him recite before in interviews like how he landed his job at Game Informer and how he nearly got stabbed by a dorm neighbor. Ryckert finds ways to add new wrinkles to these stories by going in more detail than I previously recalled and he goes out of his way to provide sufficient background and context to all the parties involved and what type debauchery that eventually transpired. I was hoping to see more behind-the-scenes tomfoolery from his recent years at Game Informer and GiantBomb, but since Dan is still in that field I am presuming a lot of his untold tales their will probably be left untold for the foreseeable future.
At a little over 200 pages this wound up being a quick read. I loved all the tales in here, and being a fan of Ryckert's work from over the years definitely helped me get more out of this. If you are not familiar with Dan's work and you are just looking for another Tucker Max style book, than this may not hit as high marks as Tucker's, but I would still suggest giving it a try.
My husband introduced me to Dan through Giant Bomb and I’ve been thoroughly entertained ever since. The Dumbest Kid is no exception. A collection of stories too bizarre to be made up made me laugh again and again. Not amazing literature by any means, but definitely a fun escape. I’m waiting for the next installment that shares the behind the scenes of a Taco Bell wedding. Maybe co-written by Bianca Ryckert?!
Dan has a unique voice and is a great storyteller. It doesn’t hurt that we grew up in the same area, went to the same college at the same time, and majored in the same subject...not to mention sharing the same passions (movies, video games, and wrestling). It’s kind of a wonder we never crossed paths (or maybe we did). Perhaps it was our social anxiety.
I found myself chuckling out loud many times throughout this one. Dan has some of the best stories, and I identify with a bunch of them, having grown up as a dorky white kid myself. Definitely worth a read if you're a Giant Bomb fan, and is a charming collection of Kansas coming of age tales, even if you're not.
The blurb for this informed me that the author is well known in some circles, but I don't travel in those circles, so had no context for this autobiography. Some of the pranks described made my stomach hurt. The guy can write, though, no doubt about that.