Ranking: The Unwritten Rules of The Social Game We All Play
(Oxford University Press)
Author: Péter Érdi (Henry Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies, Kalamazoo College and Wigner Research Centre for Physics, Budapest)
We like to see who is stronger, richer, better, more clever. Since we humans (1) love lists; (2), are competitive and (3), are jealous of other people, we like ranking. Students ranked in ascending order based on their heights in a gym reflects objectivity. However, many Top Ten (twenty one, thirty three etc) lists based on subjective categorization and give the illusion of objectivity only. We don’t want to be seen always objective, since we don’t mind to have a better image and rank as we deserved. The book applies scientific theories to everyday experience by raising and answering such questions as: 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 the new phase of social competition. The Reader will enjoy the intellectual adventure to 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 human and computational intelligence.
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