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The Diceman

(Dice Man #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  17,746 ratings  ·  1,000 reviews
The Dice Man is a semi-comedic novel published in 1971 by George Cockcroft under the pen name Luke Rhinehart and tells the story of a psychiatrist who begins making life decisions based on the casting of dice. The novel is noted for its subversivity, anti-psychiatry sentiments and for reflecting moods of the early 1970s. Due to its subversive nature and chapters concerned ...more
Published 2003 (first published 1971)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  17,746 ratings  ·  1,000 reviews


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Judith
Apr 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 Fight Club was lean and taut, this was bloated and outdated - like some lecherous late middle-aged guy you run in to at a party, who proceeds to trap you in a conversation you’d rather not be in.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
...more
Manny
[Original review, Dec 2009]

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.
...more
Simon Fay
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
(You can see my video review for the book here: https://youtu.be/XxsyKwDa3iQ )

In The Dice Man, the first time the protagonist picks up the dice to choose what the rest of his life will look like, the moment is given an appropriate amount of weight. His standard existence up to this point has been described as comfortable, if a little banal, while the option of shattering it is an exciting possibility achieved through a completely amoral act: The rape of his neighbour's wife.

It's a bold opening t
...more
Frank
Aug 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
I understand the appeal of the concept. It's very intriguing, but the main character is a childish, racist, homophobic imbecile. People who love this book are enamored by a narcissist who supplies them a guilt free method to behave like psychopaths.
...more
Peter
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Random
I can't believe I actually finished this book. It's considered a cult classic and with my eclectic reading choices, I would always give something like this a chance. I wish the dice had landed differently 😂.

I suppose at times we all wonder what it would be like to be totally unpredictable and random, so I thought this could be a great premise for a book. Do we fall into a rut with life, sticking to what we are comfortable with and trying nothing new? Is variety truly the spice of life? The
...more
Tom Quinn
Aug 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Turgid, flabby, lackluster prose struggling to elevate an obscene and immoral wiseass. I should have abandoned it as soon as I saw the page count, because as I suspected it is overblown, overlong, and over-the-top. This is a shame because the world of mental illness has not been all that well-depicted in fiction and the narrator starts out with quite a few choice and well-phrased insights about depression and living with suicidal ideation. It's just that they're anchored to such an unlikable pre ...more
Dan
Apr 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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
Nima
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, philosophy
The case of six sided man!
If that dice has a 'one' face up, I'm going downstairs to rape Arlene. if it's not a 'one' I'll go to bed. Let the dice decide, who am I to question the dice?
It's the story of a man that became a dice man. he starts consulting with the dice for everything, every single decision. he sacrificed all of his life to dice will. So he became a random man. A man without pattern, without habit, without self, without ego. totally unpredictable.
It's an unbelievable, amazing , unmo
...more
Zubin
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Charlotte
Oct 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Robert
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

What an ingenious idea. In fact I'm surprised no one thought of this earlier.

Psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart bored with life so he devises a scheme where all his life decisions are taken up by choosing twelve options and rolling a pair of dice. Some of the options range from simple choices to killing his son. As the word spreads Rhinehart gains a cult following and then things go from weird to bizarre, the overblown ending is akin to an action film.

The Dice Man is a good book of ideas. It is a bit
...more
Ensiform
Mar 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Krystal
OMG THIS BOOK.

Haha okay just to set the scene, I'm reviewing here when I read it, like, a decade ago. Back in the day when I was studying psychology and thought this would be fascinating.

But it was SO WEIRD YO.

Basically this guy live his life by rolling die to make decisions. I liked the idea and the implications but the actual context got batsh*t insane and from what I recall he was having messy, graphic affairs and basically devolving into an absolutely disgusting excuse for a human being. It
...more
Michael
Jan 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Peter
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"It's the way a man chooses to limit himself that determines his character. A man without habits, consistency, redundancy-and hence boredom-is not human. He's insane."

I first heard mention of The Dice Man in a walking magazine of all things, of using a dice to decide which direction you should take (within limits) when you got to a path junction, so when I spotted it only a couple of weeks later I couldn't resist picking it up. Imagine living your life at the whim of a roll of a dice, every deci
...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
Catachresis
Jun 24, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Anton
My feelings are best summarised by these quote from one of the characters in the book:

“You know this hospital is a farce, but tragic, suffering—a tragic farce. You know there are nuts running this place—nuts!—not even counting you! [...] You know what American racism is. You know what the war in Vietnam is. And you toss dice! You toss dice!! [...]

I’m leaving. Thanks for the pot, thanks for the silences, thanks even for the games, but don’t say another word about tossing your fucking dice, or
...more
Nadia
Aug 14, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
You're on a blind date with a dude who isn't much (but he thinks very highly of himself). You were set up by a friend you usually trust, who convinced you this dude was super cool.
Dude explains to you his greatest idea, which he finds very clever.
You nod and you mumble: 'mhm, okay', because you're a polite person.
He's puzzled at your lack of enthusiasm. Must be because you're too stupid to get his clever idea. He has to explain again. And again. And again. 'See, you assign outcomes to the fac
...more
Kolockr Ruth
The idea itself sounds interesting, but after a couple of hundred pages, you feel you're losing some interest in the book, and you've come up with the idea itself.

 The concept of ​​the book is ritualistic and makes you think it is an absolute genius, but it feels as if the writer is not a tree lover. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain why the original idea of ​​the book documented in 440 pages, 300 of which feel superfluous and make you lose Interest.

 Note that there are quite a few pages tha
...more
Bettie
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: published-1971, sport
I am pretty sure 37v2 has used this method of decision-making for years, whereas others posit 40v2 and chaos theory.

(view spoiler)
...more
Baba
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Bored psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart decides to give up fate to the roll of the dice, and changes is life, and maybe the world itself! [Rhinehart's real name is George Cookcroft.] This 'cult classic', known as being 'anti-psychiatry', about a psych letting the role of a dice determine his life and how he then extends this to a de-facto religion with followers, 'dice-centres', and the accompanying literature. I found it all rather juvenile to be honest! 4 out of 12.

...more
Louisa
May 07, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stay-away
This is it. This is the worst book I have ever read.

I pretty much hated everything about it, so these are only a few things I took issue with:

- 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.

- The le
...more
Lisa
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  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
May 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Ian Mapp
Sep 06, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mindaugas Mozūras
I love the concept and the central idea behind "The Dice Man". This novel asks what if we stopped playing our scripted roles and opened ourselves up to other possibilities. We contain multitudes.

I love the first half of the book. It explores the central idea in interesting and surprising ways.

But then it proceeded to beat me over the head with that same idea for 200 more pages. Didn't help that it got more misogynous and increased the stupidity of metaphors. I got a bit tired by the end.

Overall
...more
Alex
Nov 07, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
On the one hand, this interesting article! On the other hand, 500 pages. ...more
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Luke Rhinehart was the pen name of the author George Cockcroft.

He 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 teaching. During
...more

Other books in the series

Dice Man (5 books)
  • Adventures of Wim
  • Whim
  • The Search for the Dice Man
  • The Book of the Die

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