21 September 2014

Facebook Data Science: “Books that have stayed with us”

To answer this question we gathered a de-identified sample of over 130,000 status updates matching “10 books” or “ten books” appearing in the last two weeks of August 2014 (although the meme has been active over at least a year). The demographics of those posting were as follows: 63.7% were in the US, followed by 9.3% in India, and 6.3% in the UK. Women outnumbered men 3.1:1. The average age was 37. We therefore expect the books chosen to be reflective of this subset of the population.

Lada Adamic & Pinkesh Patel

I had no idea this ‘10 books’ meme was so widespread! The resulting top 20 list is unsurprising, reflecting the majority of American readers in the study. I’m sure the list would be quite different if would analyze posts in other languages than English, but it would be increasingly difficult to match book titles with their local translations, especially as some books are published in several editions with different titles. Here is my personal list, a bit longer than 10 though:

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