Using Money To Rank Books

2019-01-14T20:40:30.000Z Honest Cash

Reddit is a democratic website, so naturally my anti-democratic posts don't receive very many votes.  Here's my latest post on Reddit… The Most Important Book


The most important book ever written is, by far, Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. It doesn't cost anything to read.

A free book sure sounds like a great deal. But what happens if we don't use our money to reveal how much we love a book? Well, writers aren't mind-readers. If they can't see the true and actual demand for books, then the supply will invariably be really wrong.

Does this mean that Smith's book shouldn't be free? No, it just means that we need a really good excuse to use our money to reveal our true love for it. This really good excuse is… ranking books with money.

Right now there a few websites where you can use your money to rank books. I don't want to link to them, or name them, because I don't want to get accused of promoting them. To be clear, none of them are my website. Nor do I work for any of them. I'm simply a guy who really appreciates the concept, given that I've read The Wealth of Nations.

What I'd like to do is civilly discuss the concept of ranking books with money. Here's basically how it can, or could, work…

On one of these websites you could post a question, for example, "Which is the best Sci-Fi book?"

People could reply with a nomination (one per reply) that hasn't already been made. You could read through the replies/nominations and spend your money on the best ones. Everybody would be able to sort the replies/nominations by value. In theory the cream would quickly rise to the top.

So what do you think? Does this make any sense?

One objection that you might have is that this system would give too much influence to rich people. Well, if it truly is the case that J.K. Rowling, for example, shouldn't have far more influence than most people, then it would behoove us to figure this out sooner rather than later.

My preference is that, on these websites, participants will also be able to give a "thumbs up" to their favorite replies/nominations. This way we would be able to sort the replies in two ways…

  1. By money (unequal influence) = market

  2. By votes (equal influence) = democracy

Then we will be able to decide for ourselves which system is better at ranking books.

I'll leave you with the most important passage from the most important book…

It is thus that the private interests and passions of individuals naturally dispose them to turn their stocks towards the employments which in ordinary cases are most advantageous to the society. But if from this natural preference they should turn too much of it towards those employments, the fall of profit in them and the rise of it in all others immediately dispose them to alter this faulty distribution. Without any intervention of law, therefore, the private interests and passions of men naturally lead them to divide and distribute the stock of every society among all the different employments carried on in it as nearly as possible in the proportion which is most agreeable to the interest of the whole society. — Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations


Also posted to Cent: Using Money To Rank Books