Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Interview with Andrew Shaffer and Giveaway - April 13, 2011

Please welcome Andrew Shaffer to The Qwillery.

TQ:  Describe Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love in 140 characters or less.

Andrew:  A humorous look at the less-than-spectacular love lives of 37 of history's most revered thinkers.

TQ:  What is your most interesting writing quirk?

Andrew:  My most interesting quirk was that, for years, I didn't write with my true voice. In college, I attempted to write deadly serious literary fiction. It was dry and boring. My writing didn't really take off until I dropped the pretension and started adding humor to it.

TQ:  Out of all the philosophers in Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, who is your favorite? Why?

Andrew:  My all-time favorite philosopher is Friedrich Nietzsche, simply because he's imminently quotable. Syphilis drove him insane, but the insanity made his writing that much more entertaining – albeit incoherent and rambling at times. Probably the same reasons that people are fascinated with Charlie Sheen right now. (I'm not saying Charlie Sheen has syphilis, but I'm not ruling it out either.)

TQ:  What inspired you to research and write Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love?

Andrew:  As a kid in junior high, I was a nerd. I was near the top of my class in terms of test scores, grades, etc., but at the very bottom in terms of interaction with the opposite sex. Same with all of my friends. Philosophers are sort of the ultimate nerds, and the thesis that big brains and broken hearts go hand-in-hand is something I had fun exploring while researching the book.

TQ:  What songs would you put on a playlist for Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love?

Andrew:  A lot of Cure and Joy Division. Although I think I was listening to Slipknot on repeat while writing the book.

TQ:  What's next?

Andrew:  I will be contributing to a couple of "pop culture and philosophy" books over the next year – "Yoga: Philosophy for Everyone" and "Hunger Games and Philosophy." I'm also writing a second book for Harper Perennial, although I don't think the subject has been announced yet.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

About the Book

Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love
HarperPerennial, 1/4/2011

Few people have failed at love as spectacularly as the great philosophers. Although we admire their wisdom, history is littered with the romantic failures of the most sensible men and women of every age, including:

Friedrich Nietzsche: "Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent." (Rejected by everyone he proposed to, even when he kept asking and asking.)

Jean-Paul Sartre: "There are of course ugly women, but I prefer those who are pretty." (Adopted his mistress as his daughter.)

Louis Althusser: "The trouble is there are bodies and, worse still, sexual organs." (Accidentally strangled his wife to death.)

And dozens of other great thinkers whose words we revere—but whose romantic decisions we should avoid at all costs.

About Andrew

Andrew Shaffer is the creative director of Order of St. Nick, the greeting card company whose irreverent cards have been featured on The Colbert Report and NPR. He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and reviews Harlequin romance novels for RT Book Reviews magazine. He lives in Iowa with his wife.

Andrew's Links:
Twitter: @andrewtshaffer
Website: Order of St. Nick
Twitter: @gr8philosophers
Website: Great Philosphers Who Failed at Love

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Great Philosopher's Who Failed At Love.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question: 

Do you have a favorite philosopher?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. I haven't read a lot of philosophy, mostly just Satre, so I'll say he's my favorite. Although I think Erica Jong's writing can get pretty philosophical, so if she counts, then I switch my vote.
    I'm a gfc follower.


  2. followed and tweeted

    If Dvinci counts as a philosopher then he's my favorite. He's best quote: Art is never finished, just abandoned.
    so true.

  3. My favorite philosopher is Benjamin Franklin is he counts.

    Qwill follower!/zoombievampire/status/58944642196058113

    beatrixtroels (AT) gmail (dOt) com

  4. My favorite philosopher is Hume or Salmon.
    I am also a follower-thank you so much for hosting this giveaway

  5. I always loved Kant. I had a terrible time studying him when I was in high school but I ended up reading his books and I liked it

    GFC follower

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  6. i like Nietzsche and Locke, i like existentialists and i like the questions about the workings of the mind.
    I am a gfc follower

  7. I can't say I have a favourite but there are Ralph Waldo Emerson and Wolfgang van Goethe whose words of wisdom I've enjoyed. Mahatma Gandhi as well(does he count?).

    +1 I'm a GFC follower
    +1 Tweeted:!/SweetNSensible/status/61157056362708992