books that make you dumb?

Booksthatmakeyoudumb is getting a lot of publicity, which I understand because it is interesting. But it is the worst named “research” I have ever heard. It makes me so angry!

In case you haven’t heard of it, basically someone correlated the favorite books of colleges on facebook with the average SAT scores of people who attend those colleges in order to say which books make you go to a “dumb” school. Okay first, what you read before you take the SAT and when you are in college is very different. In fact, the self-reporting seems sketchy to me. Also, I am still considered in my undergraduate institution’s community. Again, my reading tastes are pretty different from when I was 17, so alumni years older are considered in this study. Beginning your study with the idea that some books “make you dumb” is so infurating and biased. Plus, I love that “not reading” makes you LESS dumb than reading Zane. Clearly. Since when have SATs been the only factor on getting into college? And when did your SAT score determine if you were smart or not. A BRIEF look at the books basically shows you that people in some socioeconomic categories do worse on the SATs than others. SHOCKING.The major outliers I don’t understand are Anna Karenina and Fahrenheit 451. Do you really think kids who love Anna Karenina are equally smart as kids who love Harry Potter? Kids who read Fahrenheit 451 are really dumber than kids who don’t read? I totally do not believe that.

Personally all the books I liked when I took the SAT have higher scores than the books I currently read. Also, if you look at the graph, apparently kids who get over a 1400 don’t read any books.


  1. Vanessa says:

    In the words of David Lynch: “total f**king bullsh*t.”

    I scored in the 99th percentile and thus got National Merit $$$$$$. But then…I’ve only read 2 books in their top 20.

  2. jennybento says:

    I have read about half of them NOW, but five about the time I took it….

  3. amy says:

    Okay, obviously there is some seriously bad research going on here, but if my may do the Devil’s Advocate thing for a minute… The graph isn’t about kids who have merely *read* Farenheit 451 (which, frankly, everyone who has ever finished HS in America has done). It’s looking at kids who list F451 as one of their *favorite* books. And I would argue that it’s entirely possible some of those people are pretty dumb.

  4. amy says:

    On the other hand, if being smart means reading Ayn Rand, I’d rather be dumb.

    Okay, now I’ve probably offended *everyone* on the internets.

  5. jennybento says:

    Actually I did not read it until last year….in fact I don’t know anyone who read it in HS.

    I think the thing is, almost everyone in HS says something they read in school or something they read because they were SUPPOSED to read it (i.e. Harry Potter or Oprah book club). So basically it’s whether your hs has you read easy or hard books….

  6. jennybento says:

    Oh yeah you are SO RIGHT. But is like, 1200 even very good on the SAT? This has low standards. I also have now called people dumb. HIGH FIVE!

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