HNTBW Publicity Roundup 5

Review up at the Boston Globe:

If the feel of sand between your toes gets you thinking about Zeno’s Paradox or Pascal’s Wager, Ellenberg’s book is ideal beach reading. But even if your interests lie elsewhere, you may find it a challenging but welcome companion.

at NewCity Lit:

To the mathematician, math is a curious process of assumption and provocation. “How Not To Be Wrong” is part exposé—concepts most of us are never privy to are explained along with obvious surprises we just need to hear over again.

at Nature:

 Ellenberg, an academic and Slate‘s ‘Do the Math’ columnist, explains key principles with erudite gusto

and at Canada’s The Globe and Mail.

For audio fans, here’s an interview at the New Books podcast.

But actually, most of the publicity this week came from the WSJ “Hawking Index” article, which got covered all over the place.  I like this Washington Post followup, which applies the methodology (such as it is!) to political memoirs.  More good coverage from the National Post, featuring obligatory CanLit content.  And here’s how it looks in Indonesian.

Christopher D. Long decided to see what happened if you tried to model “quotability” using a more serious dataset, scraped from Goodreads, instead of just screwing around like I did.  His top 10 included some expected entries and some surprises.  Any ranking where Eleanor Roosevelt and Groucho Marx place first and second is obviously doing something right.





6 thoughts on “HNTBW Publicity Roundup 5

  1. Jon Awbrey says:

    FYSMI (funny you should mention it), I have tried reckoning sand with my toes before … but the tide washed away my toe-tallies …

  2. NDE says:

    So how did Ulysses end up doing on the “Hawking index”?

  3. David Bryant says:

    I took a look at Christopher Long’s blog. The method he used is interesting. And I agree that the Groucho Marx quote is memorable. I’m not so sure about Eleanor Roosevelt.

    I did a little poking around the “goodreads” website, to gain a little more insight into Long’s data source. To me, the selection of books is very much skewed in the direction of modernity. For instance, on the list of popular poetry, the number one and two positions are occupied by Shel Silverstein, who also takes seventh place. Amazingly, Paradise Lost by Milton scores ahead of Silverstein’s Falling Up. But Robert Louis Stevenson (and who can forget the hauntingly beautiful Requiem?) barely makes the top 50, and notable American poets like H. W. Longfellow, W. C. Bryant, and J. G. Whittier appear much farther down the list (if at all). If I had to guess, I’d say the “voting” in this category is dominated by parents who read to their children, and by English Lit majors who are being forced to read Milton, Virgil, and Homer.

    I notice that Mr. Long had a relatively small sample space (10,724 readers who had identified at least one memorable quote). So it’s not too surprising, to me, that the list of “favorite” quotes he came up with is something short of awe-inspiring.

  4. The Hawking index got a shout-out of sorts on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” this week… though you didn’t get mentioned by name.

  5. JSE says:

    Oh cool! Tell me what minute it is, and I’ll listen.

  6. Mitchell Harwitz says:

    “Has Anyone made it past page 26 of Piketty?” Yes! I can’t speak for my friends, but I have. Of course, I’m a retired economist. Does that disqualify me? Piketty’s book is actually very well written and clearly exposited, unlike Hawking’s.

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