“Books that make you dumb”

28 01 2008

Ok, that’s what they call it… I guess that’s a more provocative than “the top 100 books on Facebook and their correlation with the selectivity of the user’s college or university.” But that would be a better description. There’s some statistical strangeness – they only took the top 10 books at each college, then only the top 100 overall. But there’s plenty of neat stuff here, also, although there is definitely an attempt to be provocative, from the title, to highlighting the low rank of those listing “The Holy Bible” (as opposed to “The Bible”) as their favorite book. Lots of required reading on this list – I notice the “books that make you smart” lean more toward recently popular books (still reading == better at it) – I think that list is more interesting. Of particular interest is the “I don’t read” selection…. Of course, none of these books make you dumb or smart, in case anyone thinks I’m not… 


Here’s the books in order of ‘smartness’: http://booksthatmakeyoudumb.virgil.gr/books.php?sortby=rating&order=desc




2 responses

28 01 2008

To appreciate worthy books, one needs to read “dumb” books.

All books should be grist to the intellectual’s mill.

28 01 2008
Euglossine Bee

Absolutely. i think there’s hardly a book that won’t make you smarter if you read it. At the very least, you can say “Now I know not to read that again!”
And I like most of the books they list — I put their statement in quotes precisely because I don’t want that sentiment ascribed to me!

It’s a pretty clever coincidence that you most recent post (but 1) is Reading Lolita In Tehran — Lolita (the original by Nabokov) is the book that ranks as the “smartest” of those chosen as a favorite on the list above.

Oh, and that’s a great introduction to the book — I’d heard something about it before, but your write up adds a lot, although I disagree wholeheartedly with your conclusion that the existence of organized supression of women’s rights in one part of the world necessarily proves that “a war on women perpetrated by men” is, and because “since we men are in essence much the same” must be going on here as well. Pfui — to take such a position, the way you do, is to do more than deny the existence of progress, it is to deny the very possibility of progress.

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