Is Science That Hard to Identify

I was at my favorite Borders bookstore looking over the various subjects in their Science section when I got the idea I should go home and look on Amazon to see how their Science section stacks up.  I love book shopping in bookstores but I love reading the reader reviews before buying a book.  And I figured Amazon would have a much better selection of science books in the various subject areas.  Boy was I wrong.

The number one best selling science book (2/11/8) according to Amazon is You Can Heal Your Life.  What, they don’t have a Self-Help section?  Number two is You Staying Young.  In real bookstores this would be filed with other books about Health and Diet.  Number three is The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which is an interesting book and would be hard to classify like the next two, Blink and The World is Flat, but they aren’t science books.  Next is Be a Pack Leader, a book about dog training – put it under Pets please.  Number six is the Publication Manual for the American Psychological Association – this one goes under Writing and Editing.  Come on guys.

Finally, in position seven we have a winner, Your Inner Fish, not the best of science book titles, but a book Darwin would have loved.  It appears that science is such an unknown subject that even when you have a real science book you have to title it like a self-help book to get noticed.  This book is the kind of discovery I was expecting from Amazon in abundance.  I expected Amazon to have lists and lists of great new exciting science books.  I hadn’t notice Your Inner Fish at Borders by the way, but it’s probably there.  Borders is far superior to Amazon in filing books by category, and that’s an essential feature of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, so why is it missing from Amazon?

I was terribly disappointed by Amazon’s Top 100 Science books.  I felt like I imagine the guys searching for porn feel when they accidentally end up on one of my blog pages.  I know this happens because WordPress shows me the search terms used to find my pages.  Most of the Amazon Top 25 books are self-help books, including books on yoga and codependency.  Geez guys, who’s minding the store?  Listings for 25-50, 51-75 and 76-100 aren’t really any better.

The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition is #75, and ranked 894th on the Amazon sales chart.  This is the kind of book I expected to fill the Top 100 Science Books listing.  #1 Amazon Science book, You Can Heal Your Life, is #12 in sales.  Is Amazon spamming it’s own charts with bestsellers just to sell more books?

So I give Amazon the benefit of the doubt, and click on the sub-category of Physics.  How could they spoil that?  The topic of physics is pretty damn obvious.   #1 is This is Your Brain on Music.  This book does cover a lot of pop science topics, but physics isn’t one of them.  #2 is Einstein by Walter Isaacson, the book I’m currently listening to by the way, and a biography, but I’m agreeable to it being filed in the physics section.  Some cross-posting is helpful.

#3 is Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA.  Huh?  Here’s a clue, “the truth is that NASA was born in a lie, and has concealed the truths about its occult origins.”  Here’s another clue, the same author wrote, The Monuments of Mars, about the face on Mars.  I feel about this the same way I feel about the History Channel having documentaries about UFOs.

Here are some other Physics books according to Amazon:

  • How to Build a Robot Army:  Tips on Defending the Earth from Against Alien Invaders, Ninjas, and Zombies
  • The Mayan Code: Time Acceleration and Awakening the World Mind
  • Critical Listening Skills for Audio Professionals
  • The Cosmic War: Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics and Ancient Texts
  • The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom
  • The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God
  • Guide to Sound Systems for Worship
  • Science and the Akashic Field

Did Amazon hire a hippie who smokes dope while categorizing science books?  The sad thing is I know some people who would classify the above books as science books, and even as physics books.  Is it any wonder that kids look to pop stars to explain the world to them.

Jim