October 14, 2008

For Sale

Alright, cool news. The other day some of us came upon a huge box full of new 2008-2009 copies of How To GAMIT (or, How to Get Around MIT). They're only sold at MIT in the Coop so they're relatively hard to get, but basically here's the deal. There is more information in this book about MIT than you will find anywhere else. Anywhere. I promise. And it's written completely by MIT students without help from MIT so everything written is uncensored and untouched by MIT.

They retail for $12.00, I'm selling them for $5.00 with $4.00 shipping. I've put one on ebay here:


And will keep adding them as I sell them. IF you want one, e-mail me at snively [at] MIT [dot] edu and then use the Paypal button on the right to donate $9.00. I'll go ahead and ship the book to you either next day or the day after.

Seriously, this is the best source of MIT information out there and the fact that we stumbled upon so many is pretty awesome. I'm keeping two for myself but I want to share with you guys too. Here's the ebay description I used.

The 2008-2009 edition of "How To Get Around MIT," otherwise known as How To GAMIT.


Written by MIT students for MIT students, this 383 page book is the most concise, useful, and affordable wealth of MIT information in existence. Updated every year, nothing is out of date. If you're even considering MIT as a college choice or if you have a son or daughter attending, this is probably the best source of legitimate information in existence.

I write for the MIT Admissions website, http://mitatmissions.org/Snively/shtml, and frequently use this book to help answer questions people ask me about MIT. A lot of people try to figure out what MIT is like by reading Newsweek or buying books "written with help from real students" by outside publishers, but this book is so much more than that. Honestly, don't buy anything more expensive than this, you're ripping yourself off. This book retails for $12.00.

The chapters it lists are as follows:

1) Useful Telephone Numbers
2) Emergency Information
3) Help
4) Academics
5) Medical
6) Housing
7) Law
8) Finances
9) Athletics
10) MIT Geography
11) MIT Facilities
12) Athena
13) Hacking
14) MIT Publications
15) Transportation
16) Sightseeing
17) Shopping
18) Entertainment
19) Restaurants
20) Media
21) Miscellaneous
22) Student Activities
23) Colleges Around Boston
24) Moah about Boston
25) MIT History
26) MIT Songs
27) Glossary
28) Index
29) Advertising and Photo Index
30) Staff

I'll leave you with the introduction to the book:

Welcome to MIT

You hold in your hands the very newest revision of How to Get Around MIT. I certainly hope you're happy you've got it -- I know I am. If you are reading this, chances are your life at MIT is just beginning. No matter what happens in your next n-many years here always remember Rule 0. Everything is gonna be OK.

When I was but a starry eyed frosh, I was handed my very own version of How To Get Around MIT. The cover had a very inelegant black on white title which proudly proclaimed that the book was thirty percent thinner than the previous version. I didn't really know how fewer pages was relevant to my ability to get around MIT and I was just annoyed to receive another bloody thing meant to indoctrinate me into the Institute. I dismissed the book as propaganda meant to be half useful and half a 300 page sycophant that in its indecision became entirely useless. Fortunately for all of us working on it and you kind folk, I was wrong.

How to GAMIT (as those in the know like to call it) is entirely student produced as well as financially independent. Because How To GAMIT does not take any handouts from the institute, these students are free to tell you the truth as they see it. Its staff has long since been embittered by countless caffeine fueled all-nighters, brutal exams, and hung over mornings, much like you will soon endure. Facts are a dime a dozen in this modern internet age, so we are offering you something better -- real advice, service with a laugh, a smirk, and a story. How to GAMIT is a snapshot of MIT life and culture taken by all of us who are trapped on the inside.

If you find the book to be a great resource and would like to help out next year, we'd love your assistance. If you find errors in this book send me an e-mail at _______@mit.edu. They will get fixed for the next version.

Good Luck.


Eric Schmiedl said...

And yes, the "G" and the "A" did exist in real life. There was some debate whether or not it constituted a hack -- it did exist, people saw it, it was just gone rather quickly.

Eric Schmiedl said...

* the G and the A making up GAMIT on the cover photo

Charlemagne said...

Just a note to add, I got one of these books, and it's definitely worth the money and time to read through it. It's not a book so much as it is a holy grail for questions you didn't even know you wanted the answers to. two thumbs, five stars, whatever you're preferred convention is, this book is worth it.

Alex said...

Would the shipping be the same for puerto rico?

Paul said...

Hang on. Are you seriously selling these for your own profit?

How To Get Around MIT does not exist for profit. It exists to educate incoming MIT students, and other members of the community, about MIT.

Each year, about 25 people dedicate their time and expertise into editing, publicizing, and distributing this book. A couple thousand copies are sold to grad school departments (and the Coop) in order to fund HTGAMIT's primary goal - which is to a copy of HTGAMIT, for free, to every incoming freshman. Everyone who works for HTGAMIT (including myself, as treasurer and an editor, which is why I care so much about this) is a volunteer. No one makes any money off of it - why is it rational for you, who have contributed nothing to HTGAMIT's mission, to do so?

I'm guessing this is the box of HTGAMITs that were posted to reuse a few days ago. (For the prospective students, reuse is a mailing list for giving away items their current owner doesn't want for free.) In that case, selling them for profit is not only against the mission of HTGAMIT, but also the purpose of reuse.

Technically, I admit there's not really anything I can do stop you. But I would appreciate it if you reconsider what you're doing here. At the very least, why not donate the money you earn to some worthy cause?

Michael said...

Here's the deal. I have a box of 34 How To GAMITs sitting in my room. I got them on reuse, ergo they belong to me. Nowhere did anybody say that if you claim something from reuse you have to keep it. If you claim it from reuse, it belongs to you and you can do whatever you want with it.

I want people to have these books. My time is worth something to me, so while I'm perfectly willing to package and ship these books to people, I'm not willing to do it for free. I think that's pretty understandable.

I also think that selling these for cheaper than retail is also quite reasonable, especially considering that they only retail at The Coop so unless you're in Boston you can't get one.

As much as you probably feel ripped off, Paul, putting in all of that time and volunteering, that was your decision. This is my decision. Please understand that not everything you believe in is gospel, other people can be right too.

Paul said...

That's fine. I'm not trying to take away from your ability to do what you want, Snively, let alone inflict my worldview upon you. I'm just pointing out something that I think is important for you, and the other people reading this blog, to consider.

Because fundamentally, no matter how you justify it, you are profiting off of other people's volunteered time.

Michael said...

False. I'm profiting because I'm providing a service. I'm packaging and shipping.

If it makes you feel better, I'll give the books out for free but instead of just $2.00 shipping I'll charge $5.00 handling as well.

Free books!

Eric Schmiedl said...

As another HTGAMIT contributor (In addition to providing more photos for the book than everyone else combined, I shot the cover photo at dawn and then spent four or five hours at the computer doing post-processing/prepress work for it), I think that Snively should be _encouraged_ to sell the book and make as much money off it as he can. It's not like we don't already have other people making money hand over fist by selling the book-- just ask the Coop! Instead, think about our core mission: when it comes down to it, HTGAMIT exists to get this information into the hands of as many new MIT students as possible. These are copies that would otherwise be sitting around unread, and here Snively is making them available to people who want them but couldn't get them. As far as I can tell, more people reading HTGAMIT is a win. If he wants to make money off it, fine -- being able to make money is an economic incentive to distribute the book, and it's an incentive that costs HTGAMIT nothing.

Alex said...

Umm... No offense but I really don't care if anyone gets a profit... I just want a book and I want to know if it's still $2.00 shipping to Puerto Rico...

Michael said...

It probably won't be $2.00 shipping to Puerto Rico, but if you e-mail me an address I can see how much it'll cost and you can decide if you want to pay it.

Ehsan said...

$2 shipping to Toronto, Canada?

The WordCynic said...

As someone else who has contributed to the GAMIT (not this year, but last year) I really hate to admit it, but Paul actually raises an excellent point.

And your generous offer to give the books away but charge $5 handling is just an obnoxious bullshit comment.

Michael said...

Alright, let's find a solution for this.

You want me to only give the books out for free. Should I pay for shipping or should they?

Next, I should just box and ship these, accepting just shipping to break even?

The WordCynic said...

I don't want you to do or not do anything...I honestly don't care all that much, and have no power to stop you even if I did. I'm just saying I think Paul has a point.

Lhydium said...

It's called "How to GAMIT," not "How to GIMIT," Ehsan, so give it a f***ing rest.

Ahana Datta said...

Wow...I'd want one of those...but not now, next April, if I get admitted. That settles that, and Snively, I think that you should just charge shipping(which you are just going to, I guess) because a reuse copy for you is a reuse copy for everybody else!

Ehsan said...

GIve what a rest? Learning more about MIT?

Anonymous said...