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Book Review: Have Your Poo Rolled Away by Dung Beetles – And 99 Other Things to Do Before You Die (Plus a Few to Do Afterwards) by New Scientist

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If the title alone isn’t enough to get you to buy this book, don’t. If it does, then be prepared for some nerdy suggestions. This book was written by the writers who bring you New Scientist, a non-peer reviewed scientific journal that can be easily read by the non-scientist and the scientist alike. The book pulls together ideas from its writers and some submittals, too.

Being written by squints, most of the submissions are nerdy in premise. But if the reader has a Jeopardy!-loving inner-geek, this is a very fun book to read. And a quick read also. Sporting less than a hundred pages in its small form factor bindings, it makes for a good evening of reading.

But reading Poo Rolled Away is well worth it. For many it will bring good ideas for the next trip to a foreign land. Others suggest small experiments like weighing your head, with all the requirements to do so explained in simple details. But others suggest taking the ultimate high by ingesting DMT, which should produce shamanic states of mind. Dimethyltryptamine is the grand-daddy of hallucinogenics and is supposedly the “stuff that serious psychonauts dream of.” Be prepared for vomiting at first, the book warns, but buckle up for breathing butterflies, out-of-body experiences and for it to last for hours. The book says nothing about devolving into a monkey, though.

The problem with most of the submittals is the scope of probability they occupy. Some are simple, much like reading the ubiquitous The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, which of course is scripture for the biology gang. And it is of course a seminal work that should be read by all. Nevertheless, some of the 100 things to do are simply impossible to accomplish without a doctorate or unlimited funds, such as proving one of the seven mathematical conjectures (for big winnings – but these conjectures have been plaguing mathematicians for centuries).

And then there’s of course Time Travel. If it were remotely possible, who wouldn’t want to? But seriously, this is impractical in a book about things to do before you die. Any Trekker would deprive themselves of certain body parts for the opportunity, but like teleportation, it's science-fiction.

For the squints or those with aspirations of squint-ness Poo Rolled Away is definitely an enlightening and fun read, as short as it may be. Not much more can be said about such a short book without sounding enumerative. A 3 outta 5

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