Lunatics, Lovers, and Metadata

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Some (perhaps algorithmic) drudge on the Google Books assembly line has a (perhaps accidental) sense of humor. Tracking down a surprising apparent antedating of a piece of managerial jargon, I found this:

In the Google Books index, this is Margaret Croyden, Lunatics, Lovers, and Poets: The Contemporary Experimental Theatre, published in 1974. But the content is Shrinivas Pandit, The Alchemy of Leadership, published 2009. The quoted publisher's blurb could almost fit either book:

A distillate of author's interviews of the current crop of successful leaders, this book detects the essence of leadership in the mental make-up, personal traits, beliefs, faith, vision and working style of successful Indian leaders. It enables entrepreneurs to understand their growth trajectories for reaching their goalposts and leaving a lasting legacy.

Amazon seems to have picked up on the same crossed wires:

And likewise AbeBooks:



  1. D.O. said,

    February 16, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

    Were you searching for "reach goalpost"? That looks like a strange invention. In soccer, at least, if you (well, not a player, but a ball, of course) reached a goalpost you might miss as well as score and if you scored nobody would call it "reached the goalpost".

    [(myl) No, I was searching for "Best Practices".

    As for "reaching the goalposts", it's certainly an easier thing to do than scoring is.]

  2. AntC said,

    February 16, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

    That "distillate" doesn't sound happy to my (BrEng) ears.
    I would restrict "distillate" to being in the liquid sense, and prefer "distillation" for the abstract/metaphorical. Online dictionaries only partially support my intuition.

    Presumably this is the publisher's blurb, so I can't lay it at the door of Google.

    And it's managementspeak, so foolish of me to expect euphony. That … of … of …, … structure is also clunky.

  3. Dan Lufkin said,

    February 17, 2014 @ 9:44 am

    The Google drudge must have been of imagination all compact.

  4. Mark Dowson said,

    February 17, 2014 @ 10:46 pm

    @AntC Per OED, a distillate is the result of the action of distillation, and sounds OK to my (similarly BrEng) ears. It is also the term used for their product by our delightful local micro-distillery here in Virginia. But I confess that a "a distillation of author's interviews…" sounds OK too, and, perhaps, a bit more familiar. Language change on the hoof?

  5. KathrynM said,

    February 20, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

    The confusion may be related to the ISBNs. The 13 digit ISBN displayed in the ABE Books image shows up on the McGraw-Hill India website assigned to the Pandit book:

    That book isn't on Goodreads, but the Croyden is, and the record gives both the ISBNs shown in the ABE Books image; the source of that information (which can be accessed in the Librarian Log on Goodreads, but only by Goodreads Librarians) was apparently Barnes & Noble.

  6. Garrett Wollman said,

    February 26, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

    A bit late to comment on this post, but anyway: ABE == Amazon, so that's not a distinct data point.

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