Saturday, June 15, 2013


I have two hardcover copies of In The Dismal Swamp which I thought I'd give away in a drawing to readers of this blog. But I'm getting ahead of my story...

As a new batch of college grads join the job search, a new batch of news articles with job hunting advice hits the newsstands. Lists are hot, including lists of which college degrees are hot...and which are not. In the latter category, time and again, a degree in Philosophy gets low marks (this is ironic, as we're still recovering from the greed driven housing crisis and TRILLION dollar banking scandals of 2008). Philosophy and the study of great ethical questions, so the advice goes, is a dead end, job-wise. But is that true? And should it be? What can you do with a Philosophy degree, anyway (other than seize the moral high ground)?

Well, you could write a novel. Not a surprise. But maybe you decide a career as a novelist isn't for you, a lover of books.

You could...start a publishing house. Hire a young editor who also loves books and has a keen eye for story. You could publish some good books, and some great books. Go to the annual MWA awards dinner with, not one, but three of your authors, because they've been nominated for the Edgar Award that year. Earn the respect and admiration of publishers, readers and writers. Then you could sell your publishing business. Then you could start another one, and publish more great books with more great stories. Yeah, you could do all that...with a philosophy degree.

And someone did.

And they did it without polluting the groundwater, lying to Congress, or dropping buildings onto hundreds of underpaid sweat shop employees, crushing them to death.

Which brings us back to the Book Giveaway. Send an email to with BOOK CONTEST in the subject line, and the name of this philosophy major turned business entrepreneur. OR write your answer on the back of a twenty dollar bill and mail it to: Pat Balester, PO Box 11164 Kansas City, MO 64119.  All the correct answers will be thrown into a hat, and the winners will be picked by my granddaughter, who much prefers the latest Junie B. Jones novel to my own writing, thank you.

Rules & Other Stuff the lawyers make me say: Contest runs for one week, until the clock strikes 12 midnight on June 22, 2013. The winners will be announced the next day on Sunday on this blog. The contest is open to everyone except my immediate family. One entry per person...entrants must be human (no zombies, wizards, hobbits, vampires, dogs, cats or fish...sorry). Winners agree to allow the publication of their names, but not their location, age, bank account number or the contents of their NSA/FBI file.

Even if you've read my book, you can participate. After all, it makes a great gift, and if nothing else, serves as a handy paperweight.

Good luck, and keep reading great stories.

P.S. And if you have a child in college undecided as to their major, show them the graph at the top of the page. Philosophy trumps business in every category. Take that, Forbes magazine!

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