Dorky Poll: Least Favorite Textbook

It’s going to be a very busy day, in ways that will keep me away from the Internet for most of the day, so you’ll need to entertain yourselves. Here’s a question for the science-minded:

What’s your least favorite science textbook of all time?

It could be a book that you loathed when you were a student, or it could be a dreadful book that you were forced to teach out of, but if you’ve got a least favorite textbook, leave the name in the comments. Obviously, my expertise in dealing with textbooks is mostly in physics, but I’ll throw this open to all sciences, so go ahead and nominate that horrible biology book from your sophomore year.

What’s my answer?

This is also a tough question, but for a different reason than the favorite textbook question: bad textbooks are a dime a dozen. Well, no, actually, they’re a hundred bucks apiece, which just makes them all the more annoying.

The obvious physics answers would be the giant comprehensive books that are the Standard Texts for the field– things like Jackson’s Classical Electrodynamics or Ashcroft and Mermin’s book on solid state physics. Those are both huge, extremely formal, and used by every grad program in the country, which makes them widely hated.

On a more personal level, I really disliked Shankar’s book on quantum mechanics when I took that class, but I think that had more to do with the person teaching the class than the book itself. There’s also the fact that quantum mechanics is damnably difficult to write a text for– there are only something like six problems you can solve analytically, which doesn’t give you a lot of material for worked examples…

The book I’ve been most consistently annoyed at over the years, though, would have to be Arfken’s book on mathematical methods. This is partly because I really don’t like formal mathematics all that much, but mostly because it’s completely useless outside the context of a class. Everything you might hope to learn from a math book is left as an exercise for the reader, which is fine if you’re taking a class and somebody is doing examples in lecture, and grading your homework, but no help at all if you’d like a quick refresher on how to do something. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a hundred-dollar paperweight, and I’m not entirely sure why I still have the damn thing.

So, what’s your least favorite textbook?


  1. #1 Stephen
    January 23, 2007

    Ha! I wrote that Shankar was my favorite in the other thread before reading this one. I second your hatred of Jackson, Goldstein, etc. I’m going to go with Griffith’s Electrodynamics, however. When I was an undergrad, I took offense to his in-text examples. I felt there were many good teaching opportunities squandered by introducing tricks before the material was well-understood in the first place.

  2. #2 PhilipJ
    January 23, 2007

    I’ll second Arfken. We used it for an undergrad math methods for physicists class, and it was entirely useless. I have used it since a couple of times when needing to get refreshed on a particular special function or something, but even for that you are mostly better off visiting Mathworld.

  3. #3 Mike S
    January 23, 2007

    I guess Stephen and i dissagree about Grifiths. My least favorite was Analytical Mechanics by Fowles and Cassidy. Or maybe I just really disliked that class.

  4. #4 Clark
    January 23, 2007

    I’d like to place my vote for worst Physics book for “An Introduction to Thermal Physics” by Daniel V. Schroeder. First off, I remember the book having an even higher than usual cost to page ratio. But the bigger problem we had with the book was the way the author demonstrated every concept with the simplest possible example, and then raised the difficulty a few orders of magnitude for the homework problems. Solutions usually involved going back a few chapters to find some obscure equation in the text, differentiating that equation with respect to T, or S, looking up some a value for the reflectivity of snow online and then pulling a number out of thin air for the density of snow.

    The worst textbook I’ve ever seen goes to a CS book I bought for an introductory java programming class. The class was all about writing little programs in java, yet the book had NO CODE in it. Just hundres of pages of fluff about classes and objects. I threw the book away before the semester was even over.

  5. #5 Ben M
    January 23, 2007

    I have no gripe against the *content* of Marion and Thornton’s “Classical Dynamics”, 4th ed., but I’ve got a beef with the choice of binding; I’ve never had a $100 book fall apart so quickly.

  6. #6 Mary
    January 23, 2007

    Griffiths E&M is like democracy: it’s the worst way to learn E&M, except for all the other ways I tried. None of my classes used Griffiths, grad or undergrad, so I never picked it up until I was studying to re-take (!) my E&M qualifier. It was, at that point, like a revelation. E&M finally, almost, made sense.

    Obviously I’m going to pick Jackson, which was used in my grad E&M class, as the worst book.

    But then, they say the answer to “what’s the best textbook you’ve read on x?” is always “The third one.”

  7. #7 D.D.
    January 23, 2007

    I know this is a chemistry textbook, but I hate it so much it should not go unmentioned: Oxtoby, Freeman, and Block’s Chemistry. This text is the most horrid thing a student of science could encounter at the undergraduate level. Vague descriptions, pointless digressions, ambiguous questions, bad organization… I tried to get rid of it last semester, and no one wants it! Many of the professors have fortunately stopped using the damn thing.

  8. #8 UndergradChemist
    January 23, 2007

    I’d have to say that the worst textbook I’ve ever seen is H. J. Pain’s “The Physics of Vibrations and Waves.” Errors all over the place, confusingly done mathematical derivations, topics and equations scattered in all sorts of directions without much explanation to tie them together, badly hand-drawn graphs, exercises with errors and unclear descriptions, and so on. Really awful.

  9. #9 Chris Goedde
    January 23, 2007

    The graduate QM book by Cohen-Tannoudji, hands down. It’s not that the content is bad, it’s the organization. The book has regular chapters and sections, but then the chapters also have “complements” where lots of the important stuff is located. (The contents of the complements are generally longer than the chapters.) So you have references in the book like (actual quote): (In section 5-c of complement B_{VI} …). I can never find anything in that book.

  10. #10 Pam
    January 23, 2007

    I am a big fan of Shankar’s QM book! It might not be my #1 favorite textbook, but it is definitely in the top 5.

    My most-hated book is DEFINITELY Jackson.

  11. #11 TJ
    January 23, 2007

    You know, I initially hated Cohen-Tannoudji… now I love it, for the very reason you hate it!

    Least favorite textbook: Matthews and Walker’s Mathematical Methods of Physics.

  12. #12 JC
    January 23, 2007

    Just about every high school physics textbook was crap, for the most part. Most freshman college/university physics textbooks aren’t much better either.

  13. #13 tonyl
    January 23, 2007

    Horrowitz & Hill, “The Art of Electronics”. It is a great reference book if you’ve already learned the material and need a refresher (Which is why it is still sitting on my shelf), but as an undergrad, I found the book completely useless.

  14. #14 Blake Stacey
    January 23, 2007

    My feeling about Rudin’s Principles of Mathematical Analysis is much the same as tonyl’s about The Art of Electronics.

    The hands-down worst textbooks I’ve ever had to use were the Prentice Hall “integrated science” books they gave us in eighth grade. On the same level was the book (name forgotten) we used in AP Computer Science, back when AP’s language of choice was still C++. After high school, though, things got a whole lot better, partly because most of my college professors were smart enough to know which parts of which books were the right ones to draw upon, and where gaps had to be filled with supplemental texts or lecture notes. So, other than Rudin, no book ever really burned me. A few were a waste of money, but without digging through my old course syllabi I probably couldn’t remember their names.

  15. #15 Blake Stacey
    January 23, 2007

    Turns out those Prentice Hall books were so bad they got mentioned in Forbes. I even remember finding the same mistakes that the Dr. Tramiel in that article located. . . .

  16. #16 Skwid
    January 23, 2007

    Ah, yes. Humor and Laughter: Theory, Research, and Applications by Chapman and Foot. If there’s a tome that better indicates that humor researchers pursue the field because they can’t figure out what this humor thing other people are talking about is, I can’t think of it. How a book on this topic could be less compelling and dull, I really can’t imagine.

  17. #17 Skwid
    January 23, 2007

    Gah. Forgot to close my italics. Sorry.

  18. #18 yagwara
    January 23, 2007

    Goldstein, Classical Mechanics, but not just for the usual reasons. Sure it’s dry, but it is relatively complete and free from errors. The truly hateful thing is how trivial or pedantic issues are given equal or greater weight than the main point. Learning for the first time, it’s impossible to tell what it is he’s trying to do. Looking back though, now that I know what he is aiming at, I still don’t know what the hell he’s going on about. There are sentences in that book I can’t parse at all.

    The only thing that saved me in that course (3d year undergrad) was that the prof apologized for Goldstein, and lectured instead out of Arnold. That and the Schaum’s Outline by Wells.

    As for badly written books, Michio Kaku, Strings, Conformal Fields, and Topology wins hands down. The list of topics looks great. But when you actually look at the arguments, you realize he has no understanding of what he is writing at all. It’s like reading a crank who has learned how to use jargon correctly.

    (Not a political choice! Green Schwarz and Witten is one of my favourites!)

  19. #19 anonymou
    January 23, 2007

    “quantum physics” by gasiorowicz is just terrible

  20. #20 Ponder Stibbons
    January 23, 2007

    Another person who actually likes Shankar’s book. We used Griffiths instead for my undergrad QM course, and while Griffiths is clear, I was completely bored by all the brute calculations he elaborated on at length.

    I really disliked Reif’s Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics. It seemed like he was trying to explain the fundamentals using metaphors instead of proper math, which was extremely annoying.

    My least favourite math book is Fitzpatrick’s Advanced Calculus. It is chock full with the classic “this [important theorem] is left as an exercise for the reader”.

  21. #21 MaryKaye
    January 23, 2007

    Okay. I’m not a physicist — or, probably, even a scientist by your standards — but, I still want to play. From economics I nominate Greene’s, Econometric Analysis. Most textbooks in econometrics at least serve as useful antidotes for insomnia. But this ugly, miserable, catalog of the world, swamp-sucking-nasty (profoundly expensive) bit of trash is so bad all it does is make me furious. The condition of red-rage-fury is not conducive to sleep. And, it’s contributed zip-nada-nothing to the econometric analysis required in my dissertation.

    Whew! Thanks. I feel ever so much better.

  22. #22 David Phillips
    January 23, 2007

    I’d probably go with Gasiorowicz’s QM book as the worst I ever tried to learn introductory material from. I don’t hold J.D. responsible for how awful my E&M class was. When the homework sets were taking us more than 30 hours a week to do, we went to complain to the professor about how hard they were. He replied – completely missing the point – that he was assigning only the hardest problems in the chapter and that if we wanted to do some easy ones for warm-up, we were more than welcome to do so.

    I’ll also voice a complaint on Horowitz and Hill. I never took a course using it, but at some point as a young graduate student, I was trying to build a little push-pull current boosting stage for some temperature controller. (I think I’m remembering the project this was for.) I read the relevant page and built the circuit on a little bread board. When I powered it up I saw smoke coming off the board at one of the transistors. (I seem to recall the proprietor of this fine estabilishment commenting upon the smell of burning transistors recently. Mmmm.) I went back to H&H and turned the page. On that next page, they explained that the DC biasing (I think it was) of this circuit was unstable and that transistors would overheat. Thanks.

    I built the next circuit. It, too, sank in to the swamp under similar circumstances. I finally read the whole section of H&H and built the last circuit – the one that they actually recommended. This one did the job.
    Gotta love that combination of impatient student and imprecisely worded pedagogy. I tell this story to all students the first time I see them with Horowitz and Hill’s book.

  23. #23 mollishka
    January 23, 2007

    Reif’s “Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics” is by far the worst book I’ve had to deal with. It’s a $150 ugly mustard yellow paperweight, and completely impossible to glean useful imformation from. Hey, look, #20 already said that.

    Griffiths’s anything makes for a good read. Cohen-Tannoudji is fantastic as a secondary source when learning quantum the first three or so times, but I’d be scared to use it as a primary source.

  24. #24 Jocelyn
    January 23, 2007

    I think I’m the only person ever who loves Jackson’s Electrodynamics, to the point of drunkenly declaring so repeatedly while spralwed across a table at a conference. Ahem. Not that I would ever do something that unprofessional.

    On the other hand, Reif does suck. Are there *any* good stat mech books?

  25. #25 Rob Knop
    January 23, 2007

    Jackson is the source of much fear and loathing.

    Too many textbooks I have now are shedding their bindings.

    But, truth to tell, I have to admit that I don’t feel great hostility towards any textbook. Yes, Jackson is the “they say there’s no devil Jim, but there is, straight out of Hell, I saw it!” book for all Physicists, and, yes, Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler’s text is often called “The Black Death” with good reason, but I have a hard time working on a real hate for any text.


  26. #26 Blake Stacey
    January 23, 2007

    I don’t remember Kerson Huang’s Statistical Mechanics being a “pedagogic horror”, but if it says so on the Internet, it must be true.

    There’s also Pathria, Landau and Lifshitz, Feynman, and (for the adventurous) Shang-Keng Ma.

  27. #27 SMC
    January 23, 2007

    I’ll agree with JC in regards to any introductory physics text, but…

    For worst “science” textbook that I recall encountering so far, I’d have to go with Miller’s “Introduction to Environmental Science” book. Ugh.

    How can you get through 10+ editions (conveniently obsoleting it nearly every semester so students of “Environmental Science” can’t recycle their textbooks…) and, for example, not have a SINGLE mention of biodiesel anywhere?

    Actually, that’s a rhetorical question – from the way the text reads, I suspect it’s left out because biodiesel admits the possibility of allowing automobiles to continue existing while still tapering off of fossil fuels.

    I’ve seen the abridged version of this textbook on bumper stickers (“Save the planet: Kill yourself.”)…

  28. #28 Mara
    January 23, 2007

    I think the worst textbook I’ve ever read was for my Intro to Archaeology class. The book was called something like Hydrology in Ancient Egypt. It was essentially a year-by-year description of water levels in Ancient Egypt. For something like 75 pages. Oy.

    Also, my algebra texbook when I was in middle school (I don’t know the name) was so abominable that it made me cry regularly. I remember that the section on multiplying monomials was so bad that my father (former math minor) couldn’t understand it.

  29. #29 Craig
    January 23, 2007

    One more vote for Cohen-Tannoudji. It seems like it would be a good as a reference, but as an introductory text it was a buzzsaw of confusion. I never liked Kittel’s introduction to Solid State Physics either, which may explain my fondness for so many other solid state books in the other thread.

  30. #30 anonymous
    January 23, 2007

    Arfken has turned out to be a somewhat valuable reference text but to take a course from it was certainly a struggle.

    Reluctantly, I have to nominate Barger and Olsson’s e/m textbook. Their clear attempt to make some pedagogical shifts away from the standard apporaches fails them. It is, in many ways, the anti-Griffiths. It’s unfortnate this book comes across so poorly, especially because Barger and Olsson both excel in front of the class. Where this book fails, however, their mechanics text does well and is an acceptable textbook. Maybe with another edition they could pull off with e/m what they have with mechanics.

  31. #31 Ryan Vilim
    January 23, 2007

    The latest edition of Goldstein isn’t that bad, I originally looked at the second edition, and found it dense and useless. They added a very nice chapter on classical chaos.

    I later stumbled across the third edition in the library, and it seems he has brought on two authors and cleaned everything up quite a bit, making it much more clear.

    I second the vote of Fowles and Cassiday, but I actually like Shankar quite a bit (and bought it, despite the fact that my courses all used Griffiths) if only for its excellent mathematical chapter.

    I nominate Myers for solid state, it spent alot of time talking about essentially nothing, and introduced stuff without explaining anything.

    I immediately got Kittel from the library, and spent the entire course using it instead of Myers.

    I am not sure how big a fan I was of Griffiths, which was used for both my QM courses. Some parts I liked, but his treatment of perturbation theory was terrible, and his introductory stuff was sort of crappy.

    Fortunately, the prof for QM 1 had a 120 page course package which he emailed to everyone in the class. For QM2 I generally relied on Tannoudji, Diu, and Laloe which has an amazingly good section on perturbation theory. It is one of the books I have on more or less permanent loan from the library

    (Renew, Renew, Renew, Return and pick up the next day, Renew …)

    Its explanation of the coherent state is also very nice.

  32. #32 jeffk
    January 23, 2007

    Jackson is an easy book to hate but it’s not a BAD book by any means.

    And Shankar is great! It’s the most readable physics text I ever encountered. My only problem with it is half the problems are insanely easy and the other half really tough.

    I think the biggest problem with the Griffiths QM book is the order in which he presents the material.

  33. #33 Jenn
    January 23, 2007

    In the span of time between 4th year undergrad optic and now I have forgetten its worst offenses but Optics by Klein and Furtak ended up as a footstool when assigned a desk that was about 2 inches to high for me.

  34. #34 Ryan
    January 23, 2007

    I will third Arfken. What annoyed me most was the habit of referring to material in later chapters in the early ones, forcing you to go read part of chapter 11 so that you can continue on with chapter 6 so that you finally can get back and do the problem in chapter 4. Understanding what was going on in a given problem was often like some sadistic mathematical “choose your own adventure” book.

  35. #35 PZ Myers
    January 23, 2007

    What? No mention of Of Pandas and People?

  36. #36 JC
    January 23, 2007


    For science classes in jr. high (ie. grades 6 to 8), we were not even assigned any textbooks.

    What made it really aggravating was that the science teacher I had in jr. high seemed like he didn’t even know much about the stuff he was teaching us. Years later I found out the guy majored in physical education (ie. gym) when he was in university. The only science course he ever took in university was a general ed “physics for poets” class.

    On the other hand, since we were not assigned any textbooks for science, there was very little to no homework in that class. All the tests were mostly regurgitating the stuff covered in class. (ie. Even the boneheaded factually wrong explanations the teacher gave us, was considered “correct” on his tests).

  37. #37 PhilipJ
    January 23, 2007

    Given a reference or two above to horrid statistical mechanics books, does anyone know if there is such as thing as a _good_ stat mech text? I’d pay good money for that.

  38. #38 yagwara
    January 23, 2007

    How can you guys hate Cohen-Tannoudji? Sacrilege! Quantum-mechanical sacrilege.

  39. #39 coturnix
    January 23, 2007

    I second the call for Miller’s “Introduction to Environmental Science” – it is awful! I was supposed to teach from it and I just plainly refused (they let me use a different book after all my complaining).

  40. #40 Sujit
    January 23, 2007

    Re good statistical mechanics books, I commented on this in the other post but PhilipJ asked about it here… as an intro I loved Kittel and Kroemer’s book, but for slightly more advanced stuff I have absolutely loved Chandler’s Introduction to Modern Statistical Mechanics, even if it’s written by *shudder* a chemist.

  41. #41 Evan Murphy
    January 24, 2007

    I’m a little surprised that no one has mentioned Spacetime Physics by Taylor and Wheeler.

    It’s hard to put my finger on what was so terrible about it. The content wasn’t too bad, the organization wasn’t terrible, the exercises were on the easy side, but otherwise not memorable…

    Oh, yes. The bird.

    If the only way you can find to make your explanations interesting is to put them in speech bubbles over a cartoon animal, then something is not right.

  42. #42 Rob Knop
    January 24, 2007

    What? No mention of Of Pandas and People?

    I think people, by and large, are talking about textbooks they didn’t like, but at least which have some semblance of being worth taking seriously….

    OPaP is a “text”"book”


  43. #43 Blake Stacey
    January 24, 2007

    I never had to deal with Taylor and Wheeler’s Spacetime Physics myself, but a friend of mine did, and he loathed the bird too.

  44. #44 Eric Johnson
    January 24, 2007

    A text that may not be bad per se, but which always rubs me the wrong way is the (now a bit over-the-hill?) Quantum Mechanics by Merzbacher. I enjoyed Shankar and Sakurai. For “books from which I feel I learned the most”, I have to nominate Boas’ Mathematical Methods, Griffiths’ E&M, Quantum, & Particle Physics texts (if it’s possible to teach “intuition”, he does it) and Landau’s Mechanics. I don’t think Jackson is terrible, I think he intends the text to be used by a very competent lecturer.

  45. #45 dr. dave
    January 24, 2007

    I’m late to the game in panning “Spacetime Physics”… I was almost going to do so back when there were no comments at all, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was about it that I didn’t like (echo comment #41 above)

    I used it in the days before this “bird” that you speak of. I recall it looking like it was typset on a typewriter, and the illustrations were just… grey. I ordered a desk copyof the latest edition recently, and I flipped through it and still hated… something… about it.

    And I think this is the thing about textbooks… there is something intangible about them that makes me like or dislike them. I can pick up a book and pretty much tell within 20 seconds if I’ll hate it or not. And it often has very little to do with the organization or the content… the font, the page layout, the illustration style, the ratio of text to worked-examples. And I’m reaching the point where I’m enough of a curmudgeon to consider tossing all of them and writing my own. (Yes, despite the fact that the WORST texts I’ve ever had have been the awful professor-produced “work in progress” coursepacks!)

  46. #46 The Cheerful Oncologist
    January 24, 2007

    From the backbenches comes a vote in the catagory of life sciences:

    Guyton & Hall’s Textbook of Medical Physiology

    The prose in this text reminded me of a brick wall – monotonous, hard and difficult to scale. It seemed to have been written by someone living in a cave and happy to be there. The only way I passed physiology was by deciphering its captions. Ugh and double-plus ugh.

  47. #47 Chad Orzel
    January 24, 2007

    Jackson is an easy book to hate but it’s not a BAD book by any means.

    And Shankar is great! It’s the most readable physics text I ever encountered. My only problem with it is half the problems are insanely easy and the other half really tough.

    I suspect that most people dislike textbooks more when they dislike the class for other reasons. This is a good illustration– I don’t hate Jackson all that much, because I took the class from a really good professor (it also helped that I didn’t need to take it for the qualifier, so I didn’t have that stress to deal with, and I could take more of a “big picture” view). I do dislike Shankar, mostly because I took the first semester of quantum mechanics from a professor with a thick Chinese accent who basically read the book to us. It’s hard to separate the text from the experience.

    Chandler’s StatMech book was decent. That class suffered mostly from being at 8:00 in the morning…

  48. #48 TJ
    January 24, 2007

    Landau’s Mechanics is awesome.

  49. #49 Lisa
    January 24, 2007

    My least favorite:
    Statistical Mechanics by McQuarrie. It’s fine as a reference, but I don’t know why you would use it to learn the material initially (I guess there’s slim pickings for stat mech books, although I agree that Chandler’s book is better).
    McQuarrie will say something like “for a derivation of equation Y, see problem x.x”. Then you go to the problem and it says “Derive equation Y” and there’s no answer key. Why taunt me like that? Just tell me that you’re not going to give me the derivation!

  50. #50 Sylvanite
    January 24, 2007

    My least favorite text that I still have a copy of is called Biogeochemistry. It was for an environmental geochemistry class I took in grad school. i have never found any mentions of any biogeochemistry I was ever trying to read up on. We never even actually used it in the env. geochem. class. Why did we have to buy it? Who knows? When I had to find equations for nitrogen cycling for my thesis, I found nothing in the textbook. Know where I ended up finding out how bacteria make ammonia become nitrate? Tropical Fish Hobbyist!

  51. #51 Leni
    January 24, 2007

    I’m just posting this out of the ether because I have been harboring years worth of hatred for Griffiths Intro to QM. And intro to particles, but mostly the QM.

    What is his problem with answers in the back of the text? It was infuriating. Like you’d be able to just jot down the answer andbe on your way; it’s freaking QM! I remember doing integrals that I needed 2 or 3 pages to solve and it would have been nice to know when I finally got to the end that I did it correctly. Grr.

    Or it might have been handy to have them so you could practice for tests with the unassigned problems. It was insulting. It seemed like the only reason not to put them in would be because you think your students are going to cheat on homework. Or maybe just to be an evil sadistic bastard.

    I’ll give him credit for having a gift for intuitive explanations and metaphors, but that only goes so far. It was was thin on examples and illustrations, and often left me feeling short-changed,. The price was reasonable enough though…

    Rief wasn’t great either, but I don’t remember hating it. It was an ugly baby poop-like color, I do remember that much.

    And I agree with the person who mentioned Landau’s mechanics. We used Lifshitz and Landau and I loved that book. Very no nonsense: short, sweet, and cheap. Uncluttered illustrations, numerous thorough and well-explained examples… and answers in the back of the book. It was my probably my favorite one.

  52. #52 Arturo
    January 24, 2007

    I really hate the Arfken and Spivak’s Calculus.

  53. #53 Andy
    January 24, 2007

    This is really an oldie, but Harley Flanders’s Differential Forms was a totally useless upper level math text for an experimentalist.

  54. #54 RJ
    January 24, 2007

    The choice has got to be Introduction to Mathematical Physics by Arfken. My underground moment of maximum frustration, in the section on contour integrals: “Examples are illustrated in the exercises.” They don’t illustrate anything if you can’t do them!

  55. #55 Bill Tozier
    January 26, 2007

    I’m going to be intentionally vague, but some will recognize the work: The one the professor is still writing.

    I’ve had two classes based on work-in-progress drafts, and my wife must have had three (what with her engineering undergrad and MBA, she got the more improvisational sort than my scientists and philosophers).

    They all sucked.