A lot of books come across my desk, but few catch my attention. “The Great Typo Hunt” is one that made its way out of the pile and on to my nightstand. It’s like my own real-life version of “the claw” who-will-get-picked game. Only a little more cerebral.
I’m an editor, so I spend my days picking apart proper spelling and gasping at yet another misplaced comma. So when I heard about Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson setting out on a cross-country road trip to correct typos, I couldn’t get the cover open fast enough.
It all started when Jeff Deck decided he wanted to make a difference in the world, in almost superhero fashion. His good intentions needed a mission, and when he asked himself “What am I good at?”, his response was editing. Every good superhero has a super power, and this is his.
“I decided to change the world by hunting down typos,” Jeff told us in an interview during his book tour.
In the book he introduces the idea of typo hunting, his strategic plan to save money, recruit friends and drive from the east coast to the west and back again all in the name of proofreading.
Every good super hero has a sidekick, so along for the ride was Benjamin Herson, who when approached with the idea told Jeff “I love road trips!”, not realizing how serious the whole typo hunting thing was until Jeff actually showed up to collect him.
Neither of the co-authors knew what to expect at the start of their journey, but what they found is the stuff that makes good books, like this book.
“Behind every typo is a story,” says Jeff, noting that it’s often a breakdown in communication, a difference in background or culture or even not talking honestly with one another that creates these errors. A much deeper reason lies in our education system.
The two agree that there is a much bigger problem in our education system that leads to a misplaced apostrophe on a clothing store sign or a misspelled word on a restaurant marquee. They point to deficits in early education as simple as phonics in the classroom.
Benjamin notes that more phonics earlier in the classroom and teacher training that focuses more on mechanics rather than theory are key to properly educating children and ultimately preventing typos.
You can watch my interview with Jeff and Benjamin in its entirety here.
Visit Jeff and Benjamin online at the GreatTypoHunt.com or buy your copy.
Special thanks to Watermark Books in Wichita, Kansas for allowing us to use their store for the interview.