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Kids must be asking for Smolin for Christmas

  1. Dec 5, 2006 #1

    marcus

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    I can't see any other explanation for it. Just looked at amazon physics bestseller list. You'd expect stringy books to be way up there, parents buying Brian Greene for the boys, Lisa Randall for the girls. Or am I wrong? Wouldn't you expect that? I know a highschool senior* who last year asked her dad for Elegant and Warped---those two books for Christmas---and she got them.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14545/ref=pd_ts_b_ldr/102-1454980-4598542
    ===================
    as of noon Tuesday 05 december here are the top five on the physics list, and the other numbers are the overall sales rank among all books.

    1. Your Brain on Music 327
    2. Sagan: Varieties of Scientific Experience 410
    3. Smolin: The Trouble with Physics 485
    4. a Mars picture book 626
    5. Greene: Elegant 1044

    Incidentally, the average standing of the five most popular stringy books was 30.4
    Greene elegant 5
    Greene fabric 12
    Randall warped (hardcover) 27
    Kaku parallel 54
    Randall warped 55

    (The hardcover edition of elegant came close on their heels, as #56)

    At this point people must be deciding to give the Smolin book as Christmas presents (like that Mars coffeetable book, and the 1985 Sagan lectures that just came out). Or?

    *Now a freshman in college.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
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  3. Dec 5, 2006 #2

    Math Is Hard

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    I am reading the Lisa Randall book now and it's excellent.:smile:
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2006
  4. Dec 5, 2006 #3

    Gokul43201

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    Or a large number of religious conservatives fell for the title and bought the book in sackloads to hand out at Christmas Mass! :biggrin:
     
  5. Dec 6, 2006 #4

    marcus

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    hah hah! What a delightful idea, Gokul. :biggrin: I wish they would do just that!
    In any case something is making that book, and several others, have remarkably good holiday gift-season sales.
    As of noon Wednesday 06 December:

    1. Your Brain on Music (237)
    2. Sagan: Varieties of Scientific Experience (444)
    3. Smolin: The Trouble with Physics (576)
    4. the Mars coffee-table book (848)
    5. a Hawking book (1116)
    6. a Greene book.... and so on.

    and the average standing of the five most popular stringy books was 28.0
    (These are standings in the physics bestseller list. The numbers in parens are sales ranks among all books Amazon sells.)

    It seems phenomenal and unexpected to me---I suspect that the new Carl Sagan book, and the Smolin, are being bought to give as Christmas gifts---along with, for example, the book of photographs "Postcards from Mars" (an obvious present item). At this point, with hardly more than two weeks to go, I can't think of any other explanation.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2006
  6. Dec 7, 2006 #5

    George Jones

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    I got Smolin a week ago, and if it was a Christmas gift, it was a gift from me to me! Christmas did have soemthing to do with it, though - the bookstore had a (variable) sale. I was lucky, and I got 35% off on all my purchases.
     
  7. Dec 8, 2006 #6
    I was in Borders and saw a very huge and expensive black book called Gravitation. While looking for that book in my college's library, I discovered Smolin's Three Roads to Quantum Gravity. That fascinated me. I read that and now have ended up reading 50 pages of Smolin's latest. I really did not even care to finish some Electronics lab or study for the final...bad idea, but I really did not enjoy that class.

    Anyway, I'm most likely not getting it for Christmas since I have access to it for 4 more days until the semester ends. This time it should not take any attention from Phys III or Calc III finals...or will it? Na, they are decent classes.
     
  8. Dec 9, 2006 #7
    oh yeah, i got Woit, Smolin and Penrose for chirstmas (ie me to me) Happy happy :D
     
  9. Dec 10, 2006 #8

    marcus

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    Glad to hear that. She is an impressive person. One of the (super)mods here got a signed copy of the book from Lisa Randall when she was touring the Midwest.

    George, Philosophy, Leopold, physics clearly books make great Christmas presents whether to self or others! Happy reading all.

    I actually got an autographed copy of the Smolin book to give to an old friend---a retired scientist/microwave engineer who lives in Paris. I am proud to know the guy and i think Smolin's book is maybe turning out to be an important one, so would be a good present.
    ====================

    I have been fairly regularly checking the Amazon standings at noon most days and at noon today (Sun. 10 December) the physics list was like this

    1. Your Brain on Music (174)
    2. the Mars coffee-table book (490)
    3. Smolin: The Trouble with Physics (535)
    4. Sagan: Varieties of Scientific Experience (645)
    5. a Hawking book (1152)

    and so on. The "Stringy Dow Jones" index---the average standing of the five most popular stringy books---was 28.6

    In case anyone is interested, the five most popular and their standings on the physics list, when I looked at noon, were

    Greene Elegant 9
    Greene Fabric 11
    Greene Elegant (hardcover) 21
    Randall Warped (hardcover) 45
    Kaku Parallel 57
     
  10. Dec 13, 2006 #9

    marcus

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    Speaking of Lisa Randall, her books are #1 and #2 on physics bestsell list today. Seems to be at least partly in response to a fine interview on Charlie Rose TV yesterday 12 December.

    as of noon pacific time, Wednesday 13 December here are the standings (with overall sales rank in parens)

    1. Randall: Warped (paperback) 116
    2. Randall: Warped (hardcover) 160
    3. Your Brain on Music 250
    4. Smolin: Trouble with Physics 271
    5. Sagan: Varieties of Scientific Experience 771
    6. Greene: Elegant 793

    I usually keep track of the "Stringy Dow Jones" the average standing of the five most popular stringy books. Today was the best I've ever seen it: EIGHT. in September when I started watching, it was around 16 a lot, and lately it has been in the twenties.

    Randall warped 1
    Randall warped (hard) 2
    Greene elegant 6
    Kaku parallel 15
    Greene fabric 16
    That adds up to 40 so the average is 8.
    ===================

    In case anyone is curious, here are 12 day averages since mid October.

    Noon readings of Stringy Dow Jones index, averaged over successive twelve day intervals:

    17-31 oct average 20.5
    01-13 nov average 20.4
    14-25 nov average 23.8
    26 nov-07 dec average 25.4
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
  11. Dec 18, 2006 #10

    marcus

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    Lisa Randall books are still high on the list in the wake of that Charlie Rose interview 6 days ago: as of 18 December 9 AM pacific they were #5 and #8 (for paper and hard)

    here are the current standings (with overall sales rank)


    1. Your Brain on Music 235
    2. Smolin: Trouble with Physics 661
    3. a Mars coffeetable book 708
    4. Sagan: Varieties of Scientific Experience 711
    5. Randall: Warped (paperback) 732
    6. Greene: Elegant 881
    7. a Hawking book 1055
    8. Randall: Warped (hardcover) 1404

    I usually keep track of the "Stringy Dow Jones" the average standing of the five most popular stringy books.

    Randall warped 5
    Greene elegant 6
    Randall warped (hard) 8
    Greene fabric 14
    Greene elegant (hard) 24
    That adds up to 57 so the average is 11.4.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2006
  12. Dec 21, 2006 #11

    marcus

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    the full physics list has a lot of extraneous titles like that coffeetable Mars book and "Your Brain on Music" and something about quantum mechanics and Psychic ESP phenomena

    so I'm going to try tracking a slightly more restricted list
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14560/ref=pd_ts_b_nav/002-1987816-1968818
    called the GENERAL physics bestsellers. For some reason this is more focused on things like books by Smolin, Greene, Randall, Kaku etc. It doesnt have quite so much coffeetable or psychic stuff.

    here is what it looks like Thursday 21 December 9 AM pacific

    1. Smolin TTWP 433
    2. a Hawking book 915
    3. Greene elegant 958
    4. Randall warped 1093

    and the average standing of the five most popular stringy books on THIS list is currently 10.4

    (the large numbers are the overall amazon sales ranks among books of every sort)
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2006
  13. Jan 4, 2007 #12

    marcus

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    time to update---the index has jumped to around 40, perhaps only a temporary excursion

    17-31 oct average 20.5
    01-13 nov average 20.4
    14-25 nov average 23.8
    26 nov-07 dec average 25.4
    08-19 dec average 15.6
    20-31 dec average 20.3

    I've started taking daily readings at noon MOUNTAIN time, instead of pacific time--that way it is more convenient because i get it over with an hour earlier :-)


    01 jan Monday noon 19.8
    02 jan Tuesday noon 23.0
    03 jan Wednesday noon 24.4
    04 jan Thursday noon 31.4

    later in the day Thursday, the index went up into the 40s. First time I've seen it that high.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  14. Jan 4, 2007 #13

    marcus

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    it's actually quite strange. I've never seen such an abrupt shift in the book market. as if the mass audience that had been buying string pop suddenly stopped.

    At 3:10 PM today, looking at the "General Physics" list, I saw:

    2. Smolin's book
    6. Greene fabric
    15. Greene elegant
    23. Kaku parallel
    24. Randall warped (hardbound)
    52. Susskind cosmic landscape

    the average of the five most popular string books here (which I've been calling "stringy NASDAQ" ) is 23.8
    which is over twice what it was last week. As something to compare with, a week ago a typical value
    for this was around 10.

    A 100 percent increase in sales ranking...must betoken a considerable drop in sales.

    BTW the UK edition of The Trouble with Physics comes out next month. UK amazon is already taking orders.
    This page shows what the UK edition looks like:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Trouble-Phy...ef=sr_1_5/202-0949406-1582239?ie=UTF8&s=books
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
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