Author: Ben Blatt
Summary: This book was wonderfully entertaining with lots of great fun facts, but a little bit light on the statistics.
As book bloggers or avid reads, I suspect most of you reading this post have thought at least a little bit about what qualities make a book one of your favorites. In this book, the author tries to answer that and other intriguing bookish questions objectively using statistics. Questions he addresses include: “What are our favorite authors’ favorite words? Do men and women write differently? Are bestsellers getting dumber over time? Which bestselling writer uses the most clichés? What makes a great opening sentence? How can we judge a book by its cover? And which writerly advice is worth following or ignoring?” (source)
The answers to all of the questions above were entertaining and informative. I loved learning about what books categorized best sellers, classics, or literary fiction all had in common and where they differed. The author did a great job writing about all his results in entertaining and thoughtful ways, even when those results related to sensitive topics such as gender. He also was clear about the limitations of his work.
I had a ton of fun reading this book and I think that will be true for any lover of books. The graphs the author used were designed very cleverly to make the concepts he was discussing as clear as possible. His verbal descriptions of the questions he was asking were also clear and precise. My one complaint with this book was that several times the author said something like “but you’re not interested in the details of the statistics”. Oh, but I was! Having read The Signal and the Noise, I know it’s possible to write a book that includes some technical details about statistics while still being entertaining. That’s what I really wanted from this book. I would definitely still recommend this. It was such an enjoyable read! But don’t go into expecting a lot of depth on the stats.