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The dice man by Luke Rhinehart
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The dice man (1971)

by Luke Rhinehart

Series: Dice Man (1)

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2,137425,456 (3.52)36
The cult classic that can still change your life... Let the dice decide! This is the philosophy that changes the life of bored psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart - and in some ways changes the world as well. Because once you hand over your life to the dice, anything can happen. Entertaining, humorous, scary, shocking, subversive, The Dice Man is one of the cult bestsellers of our time.… (more)
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Title:The dice man
Authors:Luke Rhinehart
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The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart (1971)

  1. 00
    The Handicapper by Robert Kalich (bergs47)
  2. 00
    Yes Man by Danny Wallace (LadyHazy)
    LadyHazy: Another story about a central character who puts restrictions on his decision making, thus changing the outcome of their life.
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» See also 36 mentions

English (38)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
What was the point? ( )
  paven | Jan 26, 2021 |
"It's the way a man chooses to limit himself that determines his character. A man without habits, consistency, redundancy-and hence boredom-is not human. He's insane."

I first heard mention of The Dice Man in a walking magazine of all things, of using a dice to decide which direction you should take (within limits) when you got to a path junction, so when I spotted it only a couple of weeks later I couldn't resist picking it up. Imagine living your life at the whim of a roll of a dice, every decision you make left to chance.

Luke Rhinehart, a Manhattan psychiatrist,finds himself stuck in a rut. He has a successful practice, a loving wife and two kids but feels his life is empty. Even worse, he sees no possibility of it improving. One night, he decides to roll a die to determine whether he should go and rape the wife of one of his friends and neighbour. The die tells him to do it and so he proceeds to the neighbours apartment where the woman quickly consents. From that point forward, Rhinehart gradually turns all of his decisions over to the dice and as he throws off his own restraints, so he also begins to preach the virtues of “dice living” to the general public, causing many people to abandon their lives to the whims of the dice.

There is certainly a sardonic humour here as it questions the norms of civilised society and what constitutes madness but it is more bludgeoning than subtle:
“This is a great land of freedom but it isn’t made for people who insist on insisting on their own ideas”
“Tell me the manner in which a patient commits suicide and I’ll tell you how he can be cured".

It also touches on some pretty thorny topics like religion, homosexuality, child molestation and murder amongst others, however, far too much of the book seems to simply centre on the author's sexual fantasies. I certainly would not regard myself as a prude but after a while these simply became repetitive, like something that you would find in "Playboy" or a similar publication.

Set in 1969 and written in the early 1970's towards the end of 'free love' and the height of the Cold War when world annihilation seemed a real possibility this is a book that sets out to shock. Whilst some of the humour could certainly be described as edgy (some of the character names are certainly amusing)and I found myself wanting to turn the pages to find out what happened next I also felt that it rather ran out of steam, as if the author had run out of ways to shock the reader, meaning that some of the jokes fell flat. As such this book although it still has the power to shock and offend it also feels of it's time.

This is certainly what can best be described as a Marmite book, some will certainly love it, some will hate it but everybody will find something distasteful about it. However, it also asks the reader a question. Will breaking the patterns of our lives lead to fuller ones?

“From children to men we cage ourselves in patterns to avoid facing new problems and possible failure; after a while men become bored because there are no new problems. Such is life under the fear of failure” ( )
  PilgrimJess | Dec 10, 2020 |
Like nothing else you or I have ever read. This story of a psychologist who decides to guide his life using the results of a die toss is alternately hysterical, horrifying, and pornographic--but never less than engrossing. And through it all, despite the randomness of it all, it somehow remains quite serious in its depiction of the failure of "normal" practices to consistently cure anyone of their phobias and other mental issues. The transformation of the narrator (a pseudonym also used by author George Cockroft for his later novels) is like watching a car wreck--but is it really a transformation if it is all dictated by the die (or in the case of really complex decisions, the dice.) He even attracts followers from the most unlikely places. The book is full of memorable scenes, such as Rhinehart's hearing before the Psychiatrist's Association of New York is a high point, as are some of the letters he receives from fans, and the way his colleague, Dr. Jake Ecstein, behaves, despite being the victim of Rhinehart's initial dice-dictated outrage. But there's no way to really describe the joys of reading this book without giving too much away. Just try it. If you're not hooked in the first few page, maybe you're just not a diceperson. ( )
  datrappert | Mar 10, 2020 |
A hard book to categorize, this story is written like an autobiography. A psychiatrist bored with his "perfect" life conceives the idea to make decisions based on the roll of dice. He increases the risk and frequency of using the dice, involves his patients, develops a 'treatment plan' based on dice. It's a very
interesting premise and there are some thought-provoking societal comments and beliefs shared.

It's probably a 3.5 rating because I actually quite liked the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the book. I lost interest by the end.....was missing something to keep me so skimmed to the end. Could be a good book club discussion book. ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
The idea itself sounds interesting, but after a couple of hundred pages, you feel you're losing some interest in the book, and you've come up with the idea itself.

The concept of ​​the book is ritualistic and makes you think it is an absolute genius, but it feels as if the writer is not a tree lover. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain why the original idea of ​​the book documented in 440 pages, 300 of which feel superfluous and make you lose Interest.

Note that there are quite a few pages that document sexual events that are not suitable for children, and I am quite sure that many adults will not like to read them either.

In any case, I must say that this book has made me think a lot about our society and life and change my way of thinking a bit, so it may be something that is worth reading. ( )
  RUTHKOLOCKR | Jan 11, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
Dedication
to A.
J.
M.
without any of whom,
no Book.
First words
I am a large man, with big butcher's hands, great oak thighs, rock-jawed head, and massive, thick-lens glasses.
Preface

In the beginning was Chance, and Chance was with God and Chance was God.
Quotations
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
1. I hated myself and the world because I had failed to face an accept the limitations of my self and of life. In literature this refusal is called romanticsim; in psychology neurosis. The assumption is that a limited and bored self is the unavoidable, all embracing norm.

2. Love, one of society's many socially accepted forms of madness.

3. Success and failure mean simply the satisfaction and frustration of desire.
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Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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The cult classic that can still change your life... Let the dice decide! This is the philosophy that changes the life of bored psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart - and in some ways changes the world as well. Because once you hand over your life to the dice, anything can happen. Entertaining, humorous, scary, shocking, subversive, The Dice Man is one of the cult bestsellers of our time.

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Book description
Luke Reinhart is a psychiatrist, a husband and a father, his life locked down by routine and order - until he picks up the dice. The dice govern his every decision and each throw takes him further into a world of risk, discovery and freedom. As the cult of the dice grows around him the old order fades: chance becomes his religion, the dice his god.
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Average: (3.52)
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