2013 April 02 Tuesday
A Small Fraction Do Most Of The Book Reading

The few of us are propping up civilization.

Or, to put it another way, according to Codex just 19 percent of Americans do 79 percent of all our (non-required) book readin'.

I'm in that 19%. It is a heavy burden. As the population becomes dumber on average I've got to read more so the average level of book learning does not go down. Granted, the median is going to continue to plunge. But us hard core book readers have got to read harder in order to keep up the mean.

BTW, the topic at that link about is how Amazon bought GoodReads. So now I need to find a different independent book review site.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 April 02 10:44 PM 


Comments
SOBL1 said at April 3, 2013 7:08 AM:

While we've been living in "Brave New World" with healthy doses of Bradbury's 451 and Orwell's 1984 thrown in, the battle for the future really is between the "Marching Morons" and "Harrison Bergeron" if current dysgenic + progressive forced equality trends continue. I don't see Idiocracy happening because if it did, civilization would collapse beyond even what Judge's film depicted.

Michael L said at April 3, 2013 7:42 AM:

a metric that can be improved by having more people brainwashed into the Twilight series or whatever goodies Oprah is peddling at the book club is IMHO no good for figuring out the degree of civilization maintenance by anybody.

Check it out said at April 3, 2013 3:54 PM:

Yes, but let us not forget that it is not how much or how many books one reads, but the quality of what one reads.

It's better to read one good book in a year than 10 lousy ones. In fact it's better to read zero books a year than 10 lousy ones.

Maybe the reason why we have so many idiots around in our society is because people have read too many books.

Michigan said at April 3, 2013 7:20 PM:

"Maybe the reason why we have so many idiots around in our society is because people have read too many books."

Indeed. That's what ruined Detroit.

Randall Parker said at April 3, 2013 8:18 PM:

Check it out,

But your society has very few people who sit around and read books.

SOBL1,

Once embryo selection for brighter kids becomes possible I predict 2 things:

- Smarter people will use embryo selection more than dumber people.

- Smarter people will choose to have more kids because the prospects for those kids will be so much better. Far less risk of kids who are dumber than the parents.

Randall Parker said at April 3, 2013 8:51 PM:

SOBL1,

One thing I see as key: smart people need to automate their dealings with dumb people so that smart people can spend more time creating and coordinating with each other. Automate techniques for guiding the dummies toward less destructive directions (automated persuasion and propaganda). Automate medical care. Automate monitoring of dummies on jobs. Automate police investigations and work that prosecutors do. The smarties need to keep from getting weighted down by the dummies.

SOBL1 said at April 4, 2013 5:13 AM:

@Randall - Your ideas are more doses of Brave New World. There has been the recent media trend of spotlighting the dysfunction of single motherhood and immigration (in Europe). These are glimmers of hope that the elites are catching on that underclass dysfunction threatens their security and a society's ability to function at a good level. The problem will arise if the taste makers of the west play the equality card with those therapies you mentioned. Rewarding people who value those therapies or treatments should be encouraged, but I find it doubtful the equality priests will let it happen. The equality mavens are too powerful of a force on the left for turnout to ever be silenced or sent to the back of the room.

PeterDownUnder said at April 5, 2013 8:10 AM:

Just bought Tolstoy's Calendar of Wisdom.

Been reading exclusively free mobi torrent books on my kindle. But some books you just can't beat having a hard cover.

Is it just me or did the price of books get ridiculously expensive? I used to buy Folio limited edition books for 100$ nowadays most paperback

novels are going for over 50$. (In Australia anyways. Lots of online ebay shops are importing from the UK nowadays)

McNeil said at April 5, 2013 10:38 AM:

To me it sounds a little more like "Idiocracy" which might eventually turn into "Harrison Bergeron"

Really sad.

Check it out said at April 5, 2013 2:00 PM:

Randall Parker said at April 3, 2013 8:18 PM: "But your society has very few people who sit around and read books."

Yep, very few indeed. That's why I said: let us not forget that it is not how much or how many books one reads, but the quality of what one reads. It's better to read one good book in a year than 10 lousy ones. In fact it's better to read zero books a year than 10 lousy ones.

Nevertheless, "my" society has generally better school textbooks. And by the way, "my" society together with "your" society, are both a part of our society, if you allow me to think in broader terms, like worldwide. Relax Randall, it really has to do with the quality of books one reads and I think you agree with that.

Now, a really interesting discussion would be about what books we consider to be good books, perhaps by quoting titles according to subjects. Then we'd move on to see which of those books we have read. After that we can share on what we have agreed or dissagreed about those books and finally, if it is still practical we could state as clearly as possible our reasons for agreement or dissagreement. Only then could we perhaps start to judge who really is propping civilization.

I don't see that coming though. Americans -with a very few rare exceptions- are generally too sloppy minded. No offence intended really; I mean the rest of the world sees that and seems to agree on it. On the other hand I have to admit that Americans are very well trainned and have a very high level of specialitation for work. They always know the shortest distance to accomplishing things and that has to be praised also, even though that can make them really boring.

Randall Parker said at April 6, 2013 12:25 AM:

PeterDownUnder,

What'd you pay for the physical book? On Amazon you can get the Kindle edition of Calendar of Wisdom for $14.12 USD. Or used hard cover for $6.48 USD. At least in the States. Or a free download from scribd.com.

destructure said at April 11, 2013 2:40 AM:

19% of the population does 79% of the reading? That's the Pareto Principle in action.

aandrews said at July 6, 2013 2:37 PM:

"Is it just me or did the price of books get ridiculously expensive?"

I buy mostly through Advanced Book Exchange (www.abebooks.com) and often pay a penny plus shipping (Media Rate) for a hardcover used (or remaindered) book in very good to excellent condition. My other source is Amazon's used books. In days of yore, it used to be Bookfinder, Bibliofind and Advanced Book Exchange, as the three really great online book buying resources, and Amazon bought one of them, I think Bibliofind. I've even found obscure books at great prices on Ebay.

Explore the other avenues.


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