Where to find ‘The Beginner’s Guide To Human Sacrifice’

Do the shelves at Book Soup, shown in a 2009 file photo, contain prank self-help books like "So Your Son Is A Centaur"?
(Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times)

A single publisher has come up some of the strangest self-help books of 2015: “The Beginner’s Guide to Human Sacrifice,” “Learn to ... Dress Yourself!” and “So Your Son Is A Centaur: Coping with Your Child’s Confusing Life Choices.”

The publisher, Obvious Plant Publishing, has placed the books in a West Hollywood bookstore. Speculation is they can be found at Book Soup, but we’re awaiting confirmation.

That’s because Obvious Plant Publishing has surreptitiously placed the books on the shelves. It’s an art prank, I’d say, although LAist calls it trolling.


“Redditor ObviousPlant claims to have printed up a few hilarious fake book jackets and stealthily placed them on existing books in a West Hollywood bookstore,” LAist explains.

The jackets are fully thought out. They’re well-designed -- at least, as well-designed as a third-rate self-help book -- with copy explaining the books, information about the purported authors on the back flaps, and back covers full of blurbs.

Take, for instance, “So Your Son Is A Centaur.” Written by “Dr. Pinder Chips,” who is said to have acquired his psychology degree out of the back of the car and has been a licensed family therapist since 1995, the book takes on the age-old question, “Has a sorcerer turned your son into a centaur?”

The jacket flap reads, “The phrase, ‘Dad, I’m a centaur’ was a shock and surprise when it was uttered by my eldest son. At first, I struggled with this huge life announcement, but eventually I came to an important realization: Whether your children have two feet or four hooves, your love for them should come first.”

Its glowing (fictional) blurbs include this from George Takei: “The book isn’t just terrific -- it’s CENTAUR-IFIC!”

I’d place ObviousPlant’s book covers alongside other consumer commentary, like the Barbie Liberation Front, which switched the voice boxes in brand-new G.I. Joe and Barbies for sale on shelves so that the Barbies said, “Dead men tell no lies,” while the G.I. Joes said, “I love to shop with you.”


Although the books are not actually available for sale (yet), pranksters who want to make their own can print the jackets themselves -- ObviousPlant has made the files available for download here.

Book news and more; I’m @paperhaus on Twitter