Go the F**k to Sleep

(NSFW! Especially the youtube video)

I first heard of this book when Samuel L. Jackson’s reading of it went viral. I watched the video over and over again laughing hysterically each time and passed it on to every person, especially parents, who I thought would appreciate it. Go the Fuck to Sleep is written as a children’s book only it is actually for adults. It contains colorful pictures of happy children at bedtime along with rhyming phrases full of foul language encouraging the children to “Lie the f**k down, my darling, and sleep.” I have even found myself using “now GtFtS” (acronym for the book title) as my final sign-off for conversations that go late into the night.

Imagine my surprise when at the Tivoli I saw a poster with the tell-tale cover of the book announcing the appearance of the author, Adam Mansbach. In a tri-institutional event on August 31, 2011, Mansbach spoke primarily on the creative process. He started with a bit of background on the luck that made his latest book so popular which included an accidental leaking of the the full text, including pictures, of the book. Other publishers assumed this “accident” was really an intentional marketing ploy but it was really just luck that proved that our new “freemium” economy works as seen by the explosion in popularity of Go the F**k to Sleep as well as increased sales of all of his past books.

Mansbach spoke about his upbringing mentioning that he came from a literary background that valued words and books deeply. He spent his youth writing hip-hop lyrics about eurocentricity, police brutality, institutional racism and class warfare at the height of rap music’s political apex. I loved his belief that “art should be about making the world a better place.”

His “steps” for the creative process turned out to be just a collection of euphemisms. (In other words, I liked the first half better than the second half.) Here are the steps for Mansbach’s creative process: 1. Put in the work 2. Improvisation, Play and Creativity 3. Paradox and Parameters 4. Accept failure and embarrassment 5. Community 6. Coffee. He started with four steps but by the time he finished talking, he finally landed on six.

After hearing Mansbach speak, I am excited to add one of his past books, Angry Black White Boy, to my “to-read” list. When asked whether he was going to write subsequent books in a similar style as Go the F**k to Sleep he answered quite simply, “Nah. Somehow ‘Eat Your G**d*** Veggies’ just doesn’t have the same ring.” (I think he should write it. I would read it!) Either way, I think I will follow his advice and grab some g**d*** broccoli.


  1. http://thefeministbreeder.com/massive-recall-of-2011-version-of-babies/

  2. Holy cow. That's amazing. Thanks Deanna!!!!! I love it!