# Lisa Randall number one on Amazon physics!

1. Dec 13, 2006

### marcus

As of 7 AM pacific on Wednesday 13 December a total upset on Amazon physics bestseller list

Lisa Randall's books which have been mostly in the 26-50 part of the list for a couple of months-----i.e. the hardcover and the paperback editions of Warped Passages----have suddenly jumped to the top!

They are #1 and #3.

All you Lisa-fans BREAK OUT THE CHAMPAGNE!

You may say that the perceptions of the book-reading public are not part of the Beyond the Standard Model scene and should be beneath our consideration here at this forum, but I'm probably not alone in thinking that especially in a democracy the perceptions of the educated reading public ARE a part of the scientific process and are part of how the whole Enterprise functions. Like it or not, it's part of how progress happens (or doesnt happen) and deserves to be included in the picture along with more serious stuff like the latest research results. Maybe it is not AS important, but it does matter.
And Lisa braneworld constructions are definitely Beyond the Standard Model.

Anyway, whether you take this as serious news or just fluff, here it is.

Here are the top 12 on the physics bestsell list as of 7 AM pacific 13 December. A lot of these would make good CHRISTMAS PRESENTS and that may be what is driving sales at this point!

1. Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions
by Lisa Randall
$10.85 2. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin In stock on December 20, 2006. Order it now.$16.47

3. Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions (hardcover)
by Lisa Randall
$18.45 4. Postcards from Mars: The First Photographer on the Red Planet by Jim Bell$31.50

5. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
by Brian Greene (Author)
$10.85 6. The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan (Editor)$16.43

7. A Brief History of Time A Brief History of Time
by Stephen Hawking
$12.24 8. The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next by Lee Smolin Average Customer Review:$17.16

9. The Road to Reality : A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
by Roger Penrose
$26.40 10. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene$11.53

11. A Briefer History of Time
by Stephen Hawking, Leonard Mlodinow
$16.50 12. The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen William Hawking$23.10

Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
2. Dec 13, 2006

### arivero

How suddenly? It could be a lack of honestity in Amazon marketing.

3. Dec 13, 2006

### marcus

within the past 10 hours. I checked around 9:30 PM last night

I suppose it could also be small booksellers ordering large orders to stock their shops----Amazon prices sometimes undercut publisher wholesale prices and a dealer can buy from them. Or it could be the list is manipulated.
But Lisa-fans should not turn down the excuse to celebrate. Also she is very photogenic:!!)

=================

afterthought: notice that whatever happened did not affect sales of Kaku books. As of 8 AM the rank of Kaku Parallel Worlds (the most popular) was #47, which is in the 26-49 range where Lisa Randall Warped usually has been. The Kaku book stayed in a fairly normal position for it, but the Randall books jumped way up.

Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
4. Dec 13, 2006

### marcus

More precisely the typical thing during the past couple of months has been for Warped (hardcover) to be on the second page of the list---in the 26-50 range---and for Warped (paperback) to be less visible, somewhere in 51+.

So the paperback edition has been the LESS popular of the two-----up thru yesterday. But this morning it is the paperback edition that is at the very top.

My guess is that this would not result from individual customer orders. Especially so quickly---inside of 10 hours. It could be something funny in Amazon methods of recording and counting orders, something internal, as per arivero's suggestion.

I suppose it could also be that Lisa is going to be going on a speaking tour to promote the paperback edition (which just came out this Fall, while the hardcover has been out for a year or so). If there was some campaign like this underway, then a number of bookstores could all have ordered from Amazon at the same time (instead of from the publisher, for some reason) and these could even be bookstores where she would make a booktour appearance.

It doesnt seem terribly likely because who would want to go out promoting their book just now when one ought to be relaxing and enjoying friends and family.

Or maybe there is some TV program featuring Lisa being shown now, this also could cause a big spike in sales. Unfortunately I don't watch broadcast TV so I don't keep informed about the current PBS and NOVA programming.

Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
5. Dec 13, 2006

### deloprator2000

Exactly right Marcus, Lisa Randall appeared on the Charlie Rose Program yesterday Dec 12. Here is a link:

http://www.charlierose.com/

I don't believe it was a rebroadcast, great move on part of her publicist.

Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
6. Dec 13, 2006

### marcus

she is such an appealing person---and a seriously important role model
would go over big on TV I guess, almost wish I'd seen her myself.

at this point, 10 AM pacific the sales are incredible----her two are #122 and #196 sales rank among all books!

7. Dec 13, 2006

### marcus

I have to record this snapshot of the physics bestseller list for posterity (at least for Lisa's grandchildren!). As of 10 AM Wednesday 13 December 2006:

===quote===

The most popular items on Amazon.com. Updated hourly.

1. Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions (paperback)
by Lisa Randall
$10.85 2. Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions (hardcover) by Lisa Randall$18.45

3. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
by Daniel J. Levitin
$16.47 4. The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next by Lee Smolin$17.16

5. The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God
by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan (Editor)
$16.43 6. Postcards from Mars: The First Photographer on the Red Planet by Jim Bell$31.50

7. American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
by Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin
$12.21 8. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene (Author)$10.85

9. The Little Book of Snowflakes
by Kenneth Libbrecht
\$7.95
===endquote===

I had to include "The Little Book of Snowflakes"
because it is such a cute title. Who could resist giving that as a present? And it is actually about the physics of snowflakes by a CalTech guy who studies them and their formation! As well as being kind of coffeetable---i.e. ornamental.

Well thanks to you, deloprator, Amazon has been rehabilitated in our eyes! Given your explanation, this huge spike in Randall's sales is entirely understandable.

BTW this website of CalTech physics professor Kenneth Libbrecht
http://www.snowcrystals.com/
has exquisite photographs of snow crystals. I am looking at his photo Gallery #1 right now.

=========
Update. this appears to be a long-lasting spike in sales. as of 11 AM pacific time we had exactly same order of the top 9 books

Last edited: Dec 13, 2006
8. Dec 13, 2006

### arivero

I agree. It is fascinating, TV as a propaganda medium.

9. Dec 13, 2006

### arivero

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
10. Dec 13, 2006

### marcus

Yes TV has corrupted politics...
and it can corrupt science ...

comment edited
======UPDATE=====
Lisa gave up #1 spot at least temporarily at 8 AM this morning
"Your Brain on Music" was back in first place. Here are the standings, with overall sales rank in parens.

1. Brain (220)
2. Warped (221)
3. Warped hardcover (290)
4. Trouble with Physics (553)
5. Sagan's Varieties of Scientific Experience (759)

the "stringy Dow Jones" index was 11
(this is the average standing of the five most popular stringy books. For the past few weeks, until the recent spike in Lisa Randall sales it has been mostly in the 20s)

Amazon was evidently not prepared for this big jump in the sales of Randall's books because both books are now sold out---they promise to ship within a week or so, when they get more in.

Last edited: Dec 14, 2006
11. Dec 14, 2006

### marcus

Arivero, I was interested by the earlier recorded interview that Lillian Fitzgerald gave a link to. Among other things, it emphasized feminist issues (women in science, the President of Harvard case)

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
12. Dec 14, 2006

### josh1

Just for the record, I think the whole brane-world scenario thing is complete BS and that it`s worse than LQG because so many more people are wasting their time working on it.

13. Dec 15, 2006

### Dcase

There may be a great reason for the success of the Randall book.

If one takes advantage of the 'Search inside this book feature' at Amazon, then goes to the back cover there are 4 author endorsements. Counter-Clockwise from top-left:
David J Gross [Nobel physics]
Lee Smolin [Perimeter Institute]
Steven Pinker [author]