Who's Bigger? : Where Historical Figures Really Rank
Is Hitler bigger than Napoleon? Washington bigger than Lincoln? Picasso bigger than Einstein? Quantitative analysts are rapidly finding homes in social and cultural domains, from finance to politics. What about history? In this fascinating book, Steve Skiena and Charles Ward bring quantitative analysis to bear on ranking and comparing historical reputations. They evaluate each person by aggregating the traces of millions of opinions, just as Google ranks webpages. The book includes a technical discussion for readers interested in the details of the methods, but no mathematical or computational background is necessary to understand the rankings or conclusions. Along the way, the authors present the rankings of more than one thousand of history's most significant people in science, politics, entertainment, and all areas of human endeavor. Anyone interested in history or biography can see where their favorite figures place in the grand scheme of things.
- Electronic book text
- 05 Oct 2013
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- 101 b/w illus. 2 maps 176 tables
'This is all fun: reputational face-offs are great entertainment. And, shrewdly, Skiena and Ward have an app. More seriously, historians will put quantitative analysis to good use - and their model may help historiographers grapple with Wikipedia.' New Scientist 'I confess to simply liking the book. I still do not care about the great order of things; nonetheless, I very much appreciate a huge amount of fascinating detail that the book makes available at one's fingertips, and the orderly manner in which it does that.' Alex Bogomolny, MAA Reviews '... the authors' enthusiasm and sense of play are infectious.' Cass Sunstein, The New Republic
Table of contents
Part I. Quantitative History: 1. History's most significant people; 2. Ranking historical figures; 3. Who belongs in Bonnie's textbook?; 4. Reading through the past; 5. Great Americans and the process of canonization; 6. The baseball hall of fame; 7. Historical time scales; Part II. Historical Rankings: 8. American political figures; 9. Modern world leaders; 10. Science and technology; 11. Religion and philosophy; 12. Sports; 13. The arts; 14. The performing arts; 15. Devils and angels; Part III. Appendices: A. Ranking methodology; B. Resources; C. Biographical dictionary.