Welcome to the site of Ranking

I decided to write a non-fiction book with the title and subtitle RANKING – The reality, illusion and manipulation of objectivity.  The book discusses the Hows and Whys of our love and fear of making ranks and being ranked through many real life examples to be viewed from three different angles (reality, illusion and manipulation) of objectivity. Ranking converts scientific theories to everyday’s experience by raising and answering such question as:

  • Are college ranking lists objective?
  • How to rank and rate states based on their fragility, corruption or even happiness?
  • How to find the most relevant web pages?
  • How to rank employees?

Life and society is really complex, consequently our message is not so simple such as ”Ranking is good!” or ”Ranking is bad!”. Since we permanently rank ourselves and others and are also being ranked, the message is twofold: how to prepare the possible most objective ranking and how to accept that ranking does  not necessarily reflects our real values and achievements. The reader will understand our difficulties to navigate between objective and subjective and gets help to identify and modify her place in real and virtual communities by combining our human intelligence with computational techniques.

 

How do you rank your own skills?

In an article in the New York Times with the title You underestimate yourself  (the electronic version has a more eye-catching title: You Are Not as Good at Kissing as You Think. But You Are Better at Dancing.

Could you read the paper, and make comments on it? Here are some items from the paper:

Do you think you are an above-average driver, as most people do? How do you compare with others as a parent? Are you better than most at dancing? Where do you rank in your capability to save humanity?

Oh, Netflix! (again)

Netflix Ranked as No. 1 Fastest-Growing U.S. Brand in 2019

Netflix — whose name has practically achieved verb status — was the fastest-growing brand from 2018-19 among American companies, according to a new study by Brand Finance, a global brand-valuation consulting firm.

The streamer’s estimated brand value more than doubled over the past year, growing 105%, to $21.2 billion, per the study. Brand Finance calculates values of brands using a “royalty relief” methodology, which involves estimating the likely future revenue that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use.

“Netflix delivers high-quality and varied programming to anyone with internet access and a credit card,” said Alex Haigh, Brand Finance’s valuation director. “The platform has embarked on a disruptive approach to media services and now has incumbents in the market looking over their shoulder.”

It would be so great to see the algorithm, which “estimating the likely future revenue”.

It is almost in the Production

Please provide a description of your work (about 250 words), written at a level suitable for a potential purchaser. We will use this as the basis for cover copy and promotional material directed at individual customers.

We like to see who is stronger, richer, better, or more clever. Since we humans (1) love lists, (2) are competitive, and (3) are jealous of other people, we like ranking. We can rank some situations in objective ways: students ranked in ascending order based on their heights reflects objectivity. However, many “Top Ten” (or twenty-one, thirty-three, etc) lists are based on subjective categorization and give only the illusion of objectivity. In fact, we don’t always want to be seen objectively since we don’t mind having a better image or rank than deserved. The book applies scientific theories to everyday experience by raising and answering questions like: Are college ranking lists objective? How do we rank and rate countries based on their fragility, level of corruption, or even happiness? How do we find the most relevant web pages? How employees are ranked ? The book is offered to people whose neighbor has a fancier car; employees, who are being ranked by their supervisors; managers, who are involved in ranking but may have qualms about the process; businessmen interested in creating better visibility for their companies; scientists, writers, artists, and other competitors who would like to see themselves at the top of a success list; college students who are just preparing to enter a new phase of social competition. The Reader will engage in an intellectual adventure to better understand the difficulties of navigating between objectivity and subjectivity and to better identify and modify her place in real and virtual communities by combining human and computational intelligence.

 

How would you briefly describe your work to a non-specialist, such as a bookseller or sales representative (about 100 words)?

Everybody with whom I have talked in the last two years has seemed to agree that the topic of ranking is hot.

Ranking of people, schools, products, countries, and just about everything else is part of our daily lives.

We are in a paradoxical relationship with ranking: ”ranking is good because it is informative and objective; ranking is bad because it is biased and subjective, and occasionally, even manipulated.” RANKING combines the application of scientific theories to everyday experience with entertaining personal stories and helps the Reader to both compete successfully and accept the eventual fiascos.

Nobel prize in literature to be awarded twice this year

Two Nobel prizes in literature will be awarded this year, to make up for the lack of one in 2018 while the scandal-plagued Swedish Academy attempted to get its house in order, it was announced on Tuesday. Last year’s Nobel was withheld for the first time since 1949 after the Swedish Academy, the august institution that selects the winners, was hit with a sexual misconduct scandal that saw the husband of one member imprisoned for rape. Following a meeting on Tuesday, the Nobel Foundation, which executes Alfred Nobel’s will, announced that “the steps that the Swedish Academy has taken and intends to take will create good opportunities for restoring trust”, and that laureates for both 2018 and 2019 will therefore be announced this autumn.

Read the Guardian!

I like it or not …

while I am looking forward to get feedback for the revised manuscript, I realize that other people also like the topic.

I read a review in The Economist with the title Every step you take Life and society are increasingly governed by numbers .  The book has the title The Metric Society: On the Quantification of the Social, and its author is Steffen Mau. The original book was published in German language in 2017.

Good or bad, Ranking is not alone. We will see, hopefully we will progress with the next steps. The story is over, I am less frustrated.

 

Excerpts from Review 3

I was asked to delete. I don’t believe I violate any law by preserving one sentence:

It covers all the main bases of its problem, -sociology, psychology, economy, cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science and mathematics-, but woven so discreetly in
the background of an entertaining narrative that the reader might never know (s)he has absorbed a hefty dose of hard science.