As the New Year approaches, it’s time to round up the ten most read posts on this blog during 2011. Actually the exercise is complicated this year by the fact that I switched software in the summer, making it difficult to recover the statistics for individual posts in the first half of the year, but this is mitigated by a strong upward trend which makes it unlikely that I missed anything significant in the first few months. And no, I’m not going to detrend the data…
So here they are:
1. By a country mile the most read was Why I Hate the Kindle, a rant written on my return from demolishing a pile of paperbacks during the summer holiday. It was picked up by Alphaville on the FT website and by the WSJ blog. This was also the most commented post: a large number of readers seemed not to notice that it was a personal rant and I’m allowed to think what I like.
2. The Economist as Hero – reviewing some novels featuring decisive, action-oriented economists. So much like real life? Were readers inspired to start writing their own economics-based thrillers? I have one in mind myself (featuring a middle-aged but still energetic London-based female economist) but meanwhile the contract for my next economics book is likely to delay it again.
3. Anything to do with technology is widely read online, for obvious self-selection reasons. At number 3 was The BBC Micro and Computer Literacy. This proved timely, too, given the renewed interest in getting kids coding and the launch of the Raspberry Pi and no doubt many other initiatives. This is in the air.
5. Keynes’s Real Lesson for Today, which reviewed an excellent new, short biography by Roger Backhouse and Bradley Bateman, Capitalist Revolutionary. Keynes, like other greats such as Adam Smith, is reinterpreted in every era in the light of events.
6.The latest of my posts on innovation and the economics of publishing, To e or Not To e? The publishing industry is doing better in its response to the disruptive technologies than the music industry (which was determined not to let its consumers have what they wanted) or the newspaper industry (with – in some cases – a patronising view of its consumers and no luck yet finding a micro-charging mechanism).
7. The post Serious Economics for Serious Times talked about the current appetite for understanding. It is manifested not just by people wanting to read serious books – there are quite a few suggestions in this post – but also in the popularity of public lectures, serious news and current affairs programmes, conversations on blogs and Twitter.
8. Another review next, 10 Things about 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, the bestseller by Ha-Joon Chang.
9. Is Behavioural Economics Just A Fad? (No – witness Daniel Kahneman’s magnificent Thinking, Fast and Slow – but let’s not lose our rigour in our enthusiasm for incorporating more realistic psychology into economic analysis.)
10. Another Throw of the Boomerang. Last in the top 10 is another review, of Michael Lewis’s latest book.
As ever, a slightly surprising list. Timing always plays a part in the number of visitors – I haven’t yet learnt to optimise this but late Friday afternoon seems a good time and Sunday morning not. Twitter dynamics are obviously important, so a link being retweeted by one of the major blogs or gurus explains some of the entries above.
This will not be absolutely my last entry for 2011, as I want to take a forward look at upcoming titles; but if it’s the last one you read, Happy New Year and my best wishes for 2012. It looks like it will be an interesting year.