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Authors On 'The Final Four Of Everything'


This next item is for those people who look at the names of, say, big financial institutions on a stress test list and cannot resist seeding them in their heads like teams in the NCAA men's basketball bracket. As in the Final Four B of A proves more zombie-like than Wells Fargo, Citi out - underperforms Morgan Stanley. And it's Citi versus Bank of America for the title. This is, of course, a completely pointless adolescent waste of time. But it's also a very entertaining one at the hands of editors Mark Reiter and Richard Sandomir. Two guys with respectable day jobs, who have just produced their second magisterial work of the genre, "The Final Four of Everything." Welcome.

Mr. MARK REITER (Editor, "The Final Four of Everything"): Thank you.

Mr. RICHARD SANDOMIR (Editor, "The Final Four of Everything"): Thank you.

SIEGEL: I'd like you to demonstrate how this works by reading not an entire bracket of 64 entrants, but, say, the Final Four. And I like the category, worst movies by great directors. This was assembled by the film critic, A.O. Scott.

Mr. A.O. SCOTT (Film Critic, The New York Times): Well, in the west regional in the finals, it's Francis Ford Coppola's "Jack," which goes up against Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut."

Mr. SANDOMIR: In the other regional, Vincente Minnelli's "Sandpiper" goes up against Oliver Stone's "Alexander." And "Alexander" had just beaten "Samson and Delilah," Cecil B. Demille's epic.

SIEGEL: Leading to a championship match up for a worst movie by great directors between Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" and Oliver Stone's "Alexander," we won't give away who the worst movie is in that case. You've been doing these for a while?

Mr. REITER: Well, this is our second book. First one "The Enlightened Bracketologist" came out two years ago and this is a new and improved version of that.

Mr. SANDOMIR: And we're a little obsessive about this. We never expected to do a second book. But the urge and the market was crying for it, as far as I can tell.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. REITER: And we just like the practice of it. Few brackets were repeated from last time because we've decided to narrow our focus to mainly American-related things. So, I redid my bald guys bracket and it is somewhat different. And I had to make sure that some of the foreign-born people had become naturalized citizens. So I able to include Yul Brynner in there, who goes up against Michael Jordan in the semi-final. And John Glenn goes up against Homer Simpson in the other semi-final for a Michael Jordan - John Glenn final match-up.

SIEGEL: You ruled out non-citizens but not fictional animated characters.

Mr. REITER: He's from Springfield, isn't he?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SANDOMIR: You know, the cover of the book is red, white and blue. And we've been almost religious about keeping it strictly all-American.

Mr. REITER: Well, we also gave dispensation in ways that allowed for a Bobby Orr to make it into our Boston athletes bracket by Dan Shaughnessy because we said, okay, he played for a Boston team, even though he's Canadian. You can't have great athletes in Boston without a few hockey players and most of them come from Canada.

SIEGEL: Not so much by American as bracket American - your strategy here.

Mr. REITER: Yes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. REITER: Success in America.

SIEGEL: Mike Reiter and Richard Sandomir, editors of "The Final Four of Everything." Thanks a lot for talking with us.

Mr. REITER: Thank you, Robert.

Mr. SANDOMIR: Thank you, Robert. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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