The book that did not exist

Some years ago, when MySpace was still cool, Twitter was Twttr, and Facebook was only open to U.S. college students, I was invited to join a live talk show that aired on an Italian web TV — the first of its kind, as far as I can tell. The guests participating to the show were popular gurus of the dawning Italian blogosphere, and the host himself was — and still is — a very cool and smart guy.

I’ve always been very much into pranking, and back then I had a great partner for that — Luca (@lucasartoni), one of my best friends. We came up with the idea of fooling all of those people by making up a series of false information to test their reactions.

Here’s how it went: At some point I was asked to jump into the conversation. So I started by mentioning Networks Trade-off and the Future of the Internet, a book written by “world-famous author Mary Patterson. I talked about its content with great enthusiasm, pointing out that it was one of my favorite books and labeling it as “the bible of women bloggers.”

None of the guests seemed to be shocked by the fact that I had mentioned a book that did not exist at all. In fact, some of them nodded in approval, as if they knew exactly what I was talking about. To further foster the lie, we encouraged some friends to write fake reviews of this book and publish them on their blogs. Some also complained about the fact that the hardcover edition was a bit too heavy to carry around and that they couldn’t wait for the Italian edition to finally come out.

I still laugh when I think about it.