The Books that Affect Us the Most, According to Facebook

The Books that Affect Us the Most, According to Facebook

If you've been on Facebook in the past two weeks, chances are you've seen this status floating around:

List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes, and don't think too hard. They do not have to be the 'right' books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.

Call it an updated version of the classic chain letter. It's led to thousands of Facebook users sharing with their friends the books that have had a profound impact on their lives.

So which books have affected us the most? Lada Adamic and Pinkesh Patel of Facebook's Data Science team examined the data in an attempt to distill the real "great works" of our generation.

"To answer this question we gathered a de-identified sample of over 130,000 status updates matching '10 books' or 'ten books' appearing in the last two weeks of August 2014 (although the meme has been active over at least a year)," Adamic and Patel write. "The demographics of those posting were as follows: 63.7% were in the US, followed by 9.3%in India, and 6.3% in the UK. Women outnumbered men 3.1:1. The average age was 37. We therefore expect the books chosen to be reflective of this subset of the population."

The results were rather fascinating: 21% of statuses included the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, closely followed by Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Here's the full list along with the corresponding percentages:

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - 21.08% 
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - 14.48%
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien - 13.86% 
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien - 7.48% 
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - 7.28% 
The Holy Bible - 7.21% 
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - 5.97% 
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - 5.82% 
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - 5.70% 
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - 5.61% 
1984 by George Orwell - 5.37% 
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - 5.26% 
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - 5.23% 
The Stand by Stephen King - 5.11% 
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - 4.95% 
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - 4.38% 
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - 4.27% 
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - 4.05% 
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - 4.01% 
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - 3.95%

Adamic and Patel also provided a data visualization mapping the connections between the 20 most popular books, where each node represents a book, sized by the frequency with which it was mentioned, and clustered based on the frequency with which each book is mentioned along with other. The colors represent whether the book was more often mentioned by women (red) or men (blue). "One can also look at connections between the books, e.g. 'people who listed X also listed Y'," they write.


You can see the top 100 books at the Facebook Data science page here.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Jared Keller

Jared Keller is the former director of news at Mic.

MORE FROM

Six months after the Women’s March on Washington, the Resistance Revival has a message for Trump

"Well I/ Went down to the White House and I/ Took back what they stole from me," the Resistance Revival Chorus sang in a Times Square flash mob last weekend.

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.

Why pro-life doctors want the First Amendment to protect their right to lie to patients

Crisis pregnancy centers believe they should be exempt from a law saying they should inform patients about all their medical options, including abortions.

‘Brown Girls’ wants to tell women of color’s stories in all their messy, complicated glory

Creators Fatimah Asghar and Sam Bailey want to let their characters break free of the neat identity categories people are wont to place them in.

One woman living in R Kelly’s alleged “sex cult” says everything is fine. That doesn’t mean it is.

Jocelyn Savage says she's "happy" and "totally fine" in her arrangement with R. Kelly. Experts say that's common behavior among abuse survivors.

Six months after the Women’s March on Washington, the Resistance Revival has a message for Trump

"Well I/ Went down to the White House and I/ Took back what they stole from me," the Resistance Revival Chorus sang in a Times Square flash mob last weekend.

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.

Why pro-life doctors want the First Amendment to protect their right to lie to patients

Crisis pregnancy centers believe they should be exempt from a law saying they should inform patients about all their medical options, including abortions.

‘Brown Girls’ wants to tell women of color’s stories in all their messy, complicated glory

Creators Fatimah Asghar and Sam Bailey want to let their characters break free of the neat identity categories people are wont to place them in.

One woman living in R Kelly’s alleged “sex cult” says everything is fine. That doesn’t mean it is.

Jocelyn Savage says she's "happy" and "totally fine" in her arrangement with R. Kelly. Experts say that's common behavior among abuse survivors.