The Hawking Index

In a 2014 blog post for the Wall Street Journal, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg examined the distribution of highlighted passages within Amazon Kindle books as an unscientific measure of how far the average reader progresses through each title before giving up. If the “popular highlights” are clustered densely near the start of a book, that’s (arguably) a sign that many readers abandon the book before reading much farther. Ellenberg gave these examples (each considering the location of the five most highlighted passages in the text): Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, 1.9% Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty, 2.4% Infinite … Continue reading The Hawking Index