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I honestly thought I would enjoy this book than I #Did Of The Problem Might Have Been The Not #Part of the problem might have been the not secret snobbishness I when it comes to bestselling novels There s a little voice in my head that tells me that if a book appeals to the masses it s probably not oing to do much for me And in most cases that s true I don t very often read tit There s an observation that sometimes Other Side of the Hill goes around about how you only need to read the fourth chapter of anyiven business book The first is an introduction the second is about how everything you thought you knew about the subject was wrong the third is the miraculous tale of how the authors came up with this new secret answer and the fourth is the actual content After that it oes into testimonial style case studies and other rather dull stuff So the fourth chapter or sometimes I ve heard the fifth is the only one you need to pay attention to Either way the point is that there s a certain class of non fiction book that s mostly padding with an article s worth of actual content The Bestseller Code Anatomy of a Blockbuster Novel felt like one of those books to meThe Bestseller Code s been modestly controversial since it s publication either because it s heretical to declare that there s a machine identifyable set of characteristics to making a bestseller or because everyone already knew what those characteristics were so who needed the computer I tend to disagree with both critiues First of all if software can identify the patterns that lead to success then better we become aware of it than pretend the publishing business is driven entirely by artistic impulse Second if such a secret cluster of characteristics exists then the monumental pile of unsuccessful novels that come with major publisher backing is evidence that most people in the industry don t know what they areThe problem is that The Bestseller Code isn t really oing to show you one way or another because while the book repeats the same mantra over and over and over that our model predicted bestsellers within our sample with 80% accuracy there s actually very little evidence iven The data isn t there for one to consider nor is the entire list of topics nor their full rankings within the model So while I ve no doubt that the authors successfully built a set of algorithms to measure a iven text s likelihood of hitting a bestseller list slogging through their 240 page advertisement for it is a pretty unsatisfying read There just isn t a lot of detail or actual information on offer Sure there are a few HBR Guide to Finance Basics for Managers generalizations write short simple sentences with lots of contractions that deal as much as possible with the topic of human connection and if you canet I and him in close proximity your on the right track but they re precisely the ones you ll find brought up everywhere Such sage advice as sticking to no than three main topics in your book and not over writing your sentences doesn t reuire an algorithm you hear it all the timeSo the problem isn t that the authors are wrong or haven t discovered something intriguing and perhaps extremely useful about the nature of bestsellers the problem is that they really aren t sharing much of it in this book That s a logical tactical choice if you plan on oing into the business of etting people to pay you to run their books through your software but it doesn t make The Bestseller Cods Anatomy of a Blockbuster Novel a very useful or engaging read Using a computer algorithm the authors of this book as the uestion of whether you can predict whether a novel will be a bestseller or not Jodie Archer is a former publisher and consultant while Matthew Jockers is the co founder of Stanford University s famed Library Lab In this work they claim they can discover a bestseller and analyse 20000 novels to demonstrate thisSubtitled Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel this book attempts to analyse novels from the points of view of theme plot style character and all data points Of course much of this is fairly obvious as are the results of computer enerated writing For if a computer can analyse what works within a novel why can they not write that elusive bestsellerOverall this is an interesting looks at the mechanics of writing and publishing our obsession with lists and ranking and the anatomy of what creates a perfect story The book also contains a list of 100 novels it believes you should read as an avid reader I have read only six of them and the books which are missing include every classic However as the title suggests this algorithm aims to discover that bestseller the book that is in every supermarket and is the talked about novel for a certain amount of time Some may become classics others may not wear as well and that is why thankfully literature is based on than commercial success An interesting exercise though and a fun analysis of the bestseller charts Recommending a book is not like recommending a health tip or a stock Recommending a book can be like trying to navigate the unspoken rules and faux. Ask most people about massive success in the world of fiction and you'll typically hear that it's a ame of hazy crystals balls The sales figures of E L James or Dan Brown seem to be freakish random occurrences in an unknowable market So often we hear that nothing but hype explains their success but what if there were an algorithm that could reveal a secret DNA of bestsellers regardless of their enre What if it knew just from analyzin. The Bestseller CodePas of a Jane Austen ballroom The book world comes with considerable bagg I found this book fascinating reading The authors wrote a computer programme which could read and analyse books and this is the result They wanted to see if a computer could predict which books would be best sellers and which wouldn t A lot of the time it ot things right but with some books it was completely wrong stating that a book was unlikely to be a best seller when it was actually a blockbuster I thought it was interesting that a computer could tell whether it was a man or a woman who had written a book and whether two completely different books were written by the same person Robert Galbraith and J K Rowling were easily identified as the same person by the computer Best selling books use verbs and fewer adverbs and adjectives and concentrate on a small number of themes for thirty percent of the book apparently Best selling authors use contractions such as don t won t she s he s etc Whether or not you habitually read best selling fiction this book provides some fascinating insights into the way best sellers The Book of Shaine grab the public imagination and sell millions of copies across the world If you re worried that the book willo into too much detail about the way the computer programme works then rest assured this detail is kept to foo There s some Discover Cooking with Lavender good advice in here even if it mostly feels kind of icky Mostly it s a commercial for the services the authors offerBut I did learn a few things So that soodI Constipation guess someday if when Iet a seven figure advance and become the new JK Rowling I ll change this to five stars Ha This book ended up being even amazing than I expectedThe authors are both literarypublishing experts and have worked on machine learning for years They fed 5000 books published over the past 30 years to their computer programs 500 of those were NY Times bestsellers and the rest weren t They had programs that analyzed for each book the themes and topics ups and downs of the plot characters and the style They had an in sample 10% of bestsellers and 10% of non bestsellers that was used to train their programs and then they forecasted how likely the out of sample books were Jack the Giant Killer going to be bestsellersThey were right about 80% of the timeHow did they do it and what are some of the conclusions I won t spill all the beans but here are some examplesThey analyze topics by looking at nouns that are close to each other So if beer and coctail are near bar the computer concludes the book is talking about a bar in which people drink rather than a bar exam taken by lawyers or a bar used to do pull ups You can see the complexity here the computers have toet the meaning like people from contex in order to learn to read but that s only the first stepThen they looked at hundreds of topics such as uns or health emergency or #SEX ACROSS THEIR SAMPLE OF BOOKS #across their sample of books see which topics were used by the bestsellers and which ones weren t The same for non bestsellers They noticed that sex doesn t sell for instance In addition the number of topics and how often a topic appeared were even important ie a *Book Shouldn T Try To Cover Too Many Topics How *shouldn t try to cover too many topics How the plot They looked at words that showed character feelings to determine whether ood or baddangerous things were happening to the characters The cumulative effect is a curve that shows ups and downs of the plot the emotional plotline You want to see curves of course Two winners in this chategory were the two best selling adult books in the last thirty years the Da Vinci Code and the Fifty Shades of Grey CoolThe next big thing is characters To figure them out you want to see what they say think and do The authors accomplished that by analyzing verbs The conclusion is that active characters are better than passive no surprise there Verbs like need and want are much better than wish that active characters are better than passive no surprise there Verbs like need and want are much better than wish there is no Lambs To The Slaughter good book without aood writing style Even fewer surprises there Basically what the books on writing and editing teach truly works use contemporary language contractions like wouldn t shorter sentences etc I have listed a few examples here There s a lot in the book One interesting thing is their models told them fantasy and science fiction don t work People like to be in our world At first I felt no way but 1 the authors analyzed only books for adults fantasy and scifi totally rule YA 2 many fantasy books happen in our world or have connections to it and 3 you can still pull it off if you do a Córka Robrojka (Jeżycjada, great job with the plot and the characters like RR Martin I highly recommend this book EnjoyPS The last chapter is uite The title of this book has it all for meit s the reason I picked it up in the first place The idea that blockbuster novels all share some elemental DNA in common is at once exciting and dangerousI found that the authors of this book set out to prove their algorithm withoutiving away too many of the intricate details likely proprietary information and for the most part made their case in a concise and believable mannerFor the. G the words alone not just why enre writers like John Grisham and Danielle Steel belong on the lists but also that authors such as Junot Diaz Jodi Picoult and Donna Tartt had tell tale signs of success all over their pagesThanks to Jodie Archer and Matthew Jockers the algorithm exists the code has been cracked and the results bring fresh new insights into how fiction works and why we read The Bestseller Code offers a new theory for wh. ,


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