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Some of my favourite books are Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, Reid's Whereabouts, The Rorty Reader, Hickey's Air Guitar, Taleb's Incerto, and Auden's Collected Shorter Poems. Since 2012 I have kept a proper list and also obsessively quantified it.
I guess the books that most shaped me are Tell Me No Lies, Bangs' Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, Gould's Bully for Brontosaurus, Bukowski's What Matters Most is How Well You Walk through the Fire, Pearce's Hedonistic Imperative, Taleb's Incerto, Greer's Female Eunuch, The Rebel Sell by Potter and Heath,, and Pratchett's Discworld. This isn't to say this is my shape now.
The books I would most like to be associated with are Tetlock's Expert Political Judgment, Elster's Explaining Social Behaviour, The Rorty Reader, Cox's Algebra of Probable Inference, Nabokov's Pale Fire, McCloskey's Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics, Bayard's How to talk About Books You Haven't Read, Haybron's The Pursuit of Unhappiness, TAOCP, Crichton Smith's Collected, What I want to be is part of who I am.
(The mark of the first set is that I don't think I'll ever stop re-reading them; the mark of the second set is that they substantially altered how I thought when I first read them; the mark of the third set is that I wish they were in the first set.)

listings, 2012 to present

Some points of interest:
  1. Philosophy is the mode, surprisingly; I must be being broad in my demarcation.
  2. More comic novels than literary ones.
  3. Very clear seasonal trend: massive dip in autumn followed by huge surge before year-end. This may be a Hawthorne effect caused by this analysis - but probably has more to do with it being cold out.
  4. I plotted my scores for each book against my propositional agreement with them; unfortunately this shows my tastes are quite bound up with my belief in the thing's claims / message. (Pearson's rank correlation gave 0.57 for all pairs. This is a strongish direct relationship.)
  5. Female writers' share is worse than I expect; the deficit works out to 30 books a year.
  6. Unexpectedly fond of queer writers; an 8% hike over the overall average score.

summary stats

demographics and deficits

Categories which don't sum to 100% are owing to authors with unknown demographics. I could probably find out most, but I find it creepy enough to keep a list of people's identity groupings as it stands. This better produce the social justice I was promised!

genre and taste

turn turn turn

If you're unbearably interested you can see the raw here.


  1. I'm honored to be on your list, I'm not queer, and Age of Em was published in June 2016. :)


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