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Books That Make You Dumb - King Rat
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Books That Make You Dumb

Ever read a book (required or otherwise) and upon finishing it thought to yourself, "Wow. That was terrible. I totally feel dumber after reading that."? I know I have. Well, like any good scientist, I decided to see how well my personal experience matches reality. How might one do this?

Well, here's one idea.

1. Get a friend of yours to download, using Facebook, the ten most popular books at every college (manually -- as not to violate Facebook's ToS). These ten books are indicative of the overall intellectual milieu of that college.
2. Download the average SAT/ACT score for students attending every college.
3. Presto! We have a correlation between books and dumbitude (smartitude too)!

Books <=> Colleges <=> Average SAT Scores

4. Plot the average SAT of each book, discarding books with too few samples to have a reliable average.
5. Post the results on your website, pondering what the Internet will think of it.
6 comments or Leave a comment
burgunder From: burgunder Date: January 29th, 2008 05:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Any of those you strongly agree or disagree with?
gkr From: gkr Date: January 29th, 2008 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, no way does The Alchemist make anyone smarter than a rock.
burgunder From: burgunder Date: January 29th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I liked The Alchemist.

What bugged you about it?

Have you ever read The Celestine Prophecy and if yes, do you feel similarly about it?
gkr From: gkr Date: January 29th, 2008 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Never read The Celestine Prophecy. Pretty sure I wouldn't like it. I read the Coelho book on a recommendation without doing any research into it first. I should have, cause a cursory Google search would have clued me in ahead of time.
gkr From: gkr Date: January 29th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and what bugged me about the book was:

a) It's not a very good story, nor very good writing.
b) I don't like motivational speeches disguised as stories. (I don't really like motivational speeches not disguised as stories either.)
ravenmimura From: ravenmimura Date: January 29th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
heh, interesting and fun.

i didn't bother going in to Facebook and digging around to see if there was any further information on this... but i wondered about a couple things.

like, was this a Facebook application that people participated in, where they just listed their favorite book (or books)? because that would mean the results would be skewed towards the type of folk who are on Facebook, and who tend to add apps there. (i know that it was done on a lark and he already recognizes the many holes in his approach and findings. but this is certainly a big one, and i'm curious if it really was just a Facebook app, or if the info available through Facebook came from a wider source...)

i'm also curious what other books might pop up if the sample set was just seniors. (or graduates, ideally, but i know this little test was just using the most readily available large-quantity datasets) Because the majority of people read more in college than they ever will at other times in their lives. seems that the vast majority of the books on the list that i've read were all things i read in high school and junior high (probably 2/3 of them were jr high, actually). That's focusing specifically on the books that i was *assigned* to read in jr high and high school.

anyway, interesting stuff.

poor bible. right there in the 900 range. (we read it sophomore year in high school, in the context of it being a work of literary importance. i think perhaps in that context, it didn't make most of us dumber)

thanks for posting this.
6 comments or Leave a comment