Official Policy on Book Recommendations

If I recommend a book (I will say “official recommendation” or something like that) it comes with a guarantee. My personal guarantee that you will find that it was worth your money, or I’ll give you your money back. Seriously. You can’t lose!!

Here’s how it works and why: I often give people books, and I usually keep a supply of favorite titles on my shelf, anyway. That way if I have a dinner-guest who hasn’t read “The Phantom Tollbooth” I can fix that right away! So, if I suggest that everyone read “The Phantom Tollbooth” and someone doesn’t like it, they can email me, I’ll tell them where to ship the book, and when I get the book I will refund their money plus the shipping cost. Because books deserve a good home and anyone who can honestly say they don’t think “The Phantom Tollbooth” is worth the money is probably a despicable human being with no taste who shouldn’t have nice things anyway.

If you need to reach me for a refund, contact If you don’t get a response in a week, txt or call my cellphone 814-553-2430 (I have very aggressive spam blockers)

I first made this offer at a computer security conference, in which I recommended a book to everyone in my class. That was around 1998 or so. Since then, I have made this offer online and in classes and nobody has ever claimed a refund. That makes me one top-notch book recommender, I suspect!

Note: I do not guarantee you will like a book that I recommend. Just that you will find it worth your money. For example, if you read Howard Zinn and like it, there may be something wrong with you.


Note: I will link to for book recommendations, but that does not imply an endorsement of amazon and its horrible labor practices. It is up to you whether you wish to simply google for “bookname pdf” and find a pirated copy, or not. When dealing with books or authors I dislike, I use amazon’s used book search to obtain books without putting money in the writer’s pocket.

My refund policy does not cover antiquarian editions. If you blow $4,000 on a signed 1st edition of Mark Twain’s Eve’s Diary and manage to not like it, I’ll cheerfully take it off you but not for $4,000! (actually, if you did buy a copy of that book for that price, you’d be best off keeping it as a priceless treasure)