About Jenga was published on October 1st. I’m now two weeks into my tour across the United States promoting the book, and currently in Los Angeles about to attend a book- signing event at Chevalier’s Books, hosted by Bob Peirce, the Chairman of Brit Week.
Media coverage for About Jenga has been widespread and diverse, and reviews have been reassuringly good – on the whole – and where critical, the criticism has been both fair and constructive.
The Wall Street Journal’s review, for example, criticises me for displaying a tendency in the book to meander off course from time to time, which I agree I do. But, in my defence, I would say that I take these side trips deliberately and with a purpose; they are not just aimless rambles through the park.
As the WSJ points out About Jenga is a book of three separate, but interconnected parts.
In part, it is a history of the game. Today, 70 % of all families in the United States (Hasbro’s market survey 200) recognise the name Jenga, and know the game even if they have never played it themselves; yet very few people know Jenga’s provenance. In part it is a business case study of how I took Jenga, and other games, to market. And, in part it is an exploration of why Jenga, the game, is so successful and why Jenga, the word, has stuck.
To do justice to any of these three themes, I found it necessary to go off on the odd tangent. For example, in asking why Jenga has become a household name; I explore just what branding is in the first place, and in asking why Jenga is so successful a game; I consider what makes a ‘good game’ and why we play games at all.
Geoff Williams in an article in AOL Business says
‘Not that Scott, who will turn 54 this December, has ever said she wrote the book to let people know that she is the one behind the game, but, boy, if you had created a global phenomenon, wouldn’t you want a little recognition?’
Well, of course one of the reasons I wrote About Jenga was that I wanted to be recognized as the game’s creator. However, in truth, this was not because I sought fame per se, but because it puzzled me that neither Pokonobe nor Hasbro (who own the rights to the game) were actively promoting the fact that Jenga has a living, breathing (almost 54 year old!) author. Promoting this fact would, in my opinion, be a pretty powerful tool to use to counteract the growing impression that Jenga is a generic or ancient game. An utterly false impression that suits Jenga’s many imitators very well.