A year ago, Richard Sandomir and Mark Reiter came out with "The Enlightened Bracketologist," an amazing book which basically put all sorts of fun debates into a bracket -- as one contributor to Page 2's epic bracket strategy of the earlier part of this decade, I obviously approve.
They have put out a new edition, now titled "The Final Four of Everything" -- a much better title, although I am shocked that the NCAA was cool with them appropriating the name "Final Four," which I believe is trademarked. (And doesn't ESPN own "bracketology?" How could they not?)
It's even better this edition: First, it's a paperback, so it's cheaper. Second, there is a ton more in there, including 28 brackets specifically dedicated to sports, prepared by the likes of David Maraniss (Olympic Athletes), Pete Thamel (Absurd College Nicknames), Stefan Fatsis (Field Goals and PATs), Advertising Icons (Bryan Curtis) and 21st Century Sports Books (Will Leitch).
Here is where the book takes it to another level: Bracket Smackdown, a Web site that not only promotes the book, but promotes the idea of creating your own brackets, across an infinite number of topics. It also lets you see what others have created, filtered by most recent or most popular. It is arguably the most clever book-promotion Web site I have ever seen.
Some enterprising sports site -- or entertainment or news site -- should partner with them to promote the widget and its results; it is a neverending source of fresh, clever content (and it speaks to the ways that open-source, let-the-fans-in editorial strategies can be huge winners).
When the first edition of the book came out, I said that it was an absolute must-have -- you'll want this on your coffee table or bookshelf, and it is a fantastic conversation/argument-starter. This new edition is even better -- if you haven't gotten it yet (or even if you have the first edition), it's a must-have. (And the Web site is a time sink, but so worthwhile.)