Saturday, July 5, 2014

Better left unread

The Law of Diminishing Returns (appropriately) strikes Capital in the Twenty-first Century;
"Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty : 2.4%      Yes, it came out just three months ago. But the contest isn't even close. Mr. Piketty's book is almost 700 pages long, and the last of the top five popular highlights appears on page 26. Stephen Hawking is off the hook; from now on, this measure should be known as the Piketty Index.
That's the Wall Street Journal's Jordan Ellenberg.  Explaining how he determines which books people buy, but don't find interesting enough to actually read;
The classic of this genre is Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time," widely called "the most unread book of all time."
How can we find today's greatest non-reads? Amazon's "Popular Highlights" feature provides one quick and dirty measure. Every book's Kindle page lists the five passages most highlighted by readers. If every reader is getting to the end, those highlights could be scattered throughout the length of the book. If nobody has made it past the introduction, the popular highlights will be clustered at the beginning.
Thus, the Hawking Index (HI): Take the page numbers of a book's five top highlights, average them, and divide by the number of pages in the whole book. The higher the number, the more of the book we're guessing most people are likely to have read.  
Nous sommes le numéro un! 

1 comment:

  1. Better dead than read.

    It seems that no one knows about the picture of the nude, French whore on page 680.