Thursday, November 20, 2008

Learn with BOOK

- R. J. Heathorn
First printed in "Punch Magazine" May 9, 1962.

A new aid to rapid - almost magical - learning has made its appearance.
Indications are that if it catches on all the electronic gadgets will be
so much junk.

The new device is known as Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge. The
makers generally call it by its initials, BOOK.

Many advantages are claimed over the old-style learning and teaching
aids on which most people are brought up nowadays. It has no wires, no
electric circuit to break down, No connection is needed to an
electricity power point. It is made entirely without mechanical parts to
go wrong or need replacement.

Anyone can use BOOK, even children, and it fits comfortably into the
hands. It can be conveniently used sitting in an armchair by the fire.
How does this revolutionary, unbelievably easy invention work? Basically
BOOK consists only of a large number of paper sheets. These may run to
hundreds where BOOK covers a lengthy programme of information. Each
sheet bears a number in sequence so that the sheets cannot be used in
the wrong order.

To make it even easier for the user to keep the sheets in the proper
order they are held firmly in place by a special locking device called a

Each sheet of paper presents the user with an information sequence in
the form of symbols, which he absorbs optically for automatic
registration on the brain. When one sheet has been assimilated a flick
of the finger turns it over and further information is found on the
other side.

By using both sides of each sheet in this way a great economy is
effected, thus reducing both the size and cost of BOOK. No buttons need
to be pressed to move from one sheet to another, to open or close BOOK,
or to start it working.

BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it.
Instantly it it ready for use. Nothing has to be connected or switched
on. The user may turn at will to any sheet, going backwards or forwards
as he pleases. A sheet is provided near the beginning as a location
finder for any required information sequence.

A small accessory, available at trifling extra cost, is the BOOKmark.
This enables the user to pick up his programme where he left off on the
previous learning session. BOOKmark is versatile and may be used in any

The initial cost varies with the size and subject matter. Already a vast
range of BOOKs is available, covering every conceivable subject and
adjusted to different levels of aptitude. One BOOK, small enough to be
held in the hands, may contain an entire learning schedule.

Once purchased, BOOK requires no further upkeep cost; no batteries or
wires are needed, since the motive power, thanks to an ingenious device
patented by the makers, is supplied by the brain of the user.

BOOKs may be stored on handy shelves and for ease of reference the
programme schedule is normally indicated on the back of the binding.
Altogether the Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge seems to have great
advantages with no drawbacks. We predict a big future for it.


Anonymous said...

i meant cute, can you delete my prior comment

Anonymous said...

The piece fits today really well but what technology was he talking against back in 1962?

Anonymous said...

Good point Leahle. It can't have been pcs because there weren't any then. What other technology could have been a threat to reading? Unhless the date of publication is wrong?

Anonymous said...

The whole "Learn with Book" article. reminded me of a foward I once got of the original IT guy.

The IT guy basically shows someone how to use a upgrade from the's cute.