Mapping books

Amazon likes to recommend books to you using a phrase like this: “Customers who bought Ferret Husbandry also bought Ferrets for Dummies.” Jumping from book to book like this, you can build a web of interconnected books. What can you learn from such a network? And is there a market for a book called The Dumb Husband’s Guide to Ferrets?

Some folks at, a company that makes social network analysis software, have built one of these Amazon networks, and the results are very entertaining: Political Patterns in Books. Building a network of political books, their plots demonstrate the dramatic divide between what left-leaning and right-leaning people are reading these days. Only a few books appear to be read by both sides. With all the talk about blue states and red states this election year, ask yourself, do you read red books or blue books? Finally, here’s some campaigning advice from orgnet:

See someone reading Sleeping with the Devil? That is someone you can talk to about your candidate. If they are reading Bushwacked or Dereliction of Duty — the most central books in each cluster — then either give them a high-five or a sneer, you won’t change their views.

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