Ranking vs rating

This is a reoccurring theme with me.

When we have a choice, we don’t want some numeric number to help us choose, we want binary options. All choices, even from an array of options can be reduced to a series of binary choices.

When it comes to reading a book, you have one choice of two options: Read it, or don’t. Each book would present this same set of options, A or B.

However, there is the issue of precedence. Given two books you would like to read, which do you read first? What if there are 100? 1000? You need to be able to prioritize your choices so as to optimize your pleasure within your time allotted.

Therefore you must rank your choices. And in order to do this you must have some scale against which you can compare — in binary fashion — each choice. We all have our own spectrum, our own ranking of quality. Here I present my fiction novel ranking.

Alpha  : The Hobbit
Beta   : Time Enough for Love
Gamma  : Old Man and the Sea
Delta  : The Martian
Zeta   : Harry Potter
Theta  : Ringworld
Kapa   : The Road
Lambda : The Shining
Sigma  : Dune
Omega  : The Hunger Games

To use such a list, one first needs to determine “Do I want to read this book or not?” Once again — this is a binary choice: Yes or No.

Now, with that out of the way, one would then need to find some trusted fellow reader who has previously ranked this title. Say you wanted to read a story I’ve recommended, The Girl with All the Gifts — M.R. Carey.

Given the list above I, Anonymole, would place The Girl with All the Gifts here:

Delta  : The Martian
>>> The Girl with All the Gifts
Zeta   : Harry Potter

So, if you’ve read any of the books below the zeta level, (Harry Potter, Ringworld, The Road, etc.) then you can safely tell yourself, self, I’ll read this book before I read any of the others at or below zeta.

You’ve found the spot for maximum reading enjoyment in which to place this novel.

It might sound overly complicated, but it’s really just a simple, “what have I read before that compares?” concept. Of course, this is my list, you would have your own list, and I would suspect some of my comparison ranking choices would be on your list, too. Which means, I could find out where my own preferences fit on your pleasure spectrum.

I used a set of Greek letters to identify where any one book might fall. Omega is that lowest level at which I’d recommend a “to read” selection. Below that, it’s off the list. All the books I recommend reading will fall within those 10 levels. If I indicate that Year One — Nora Roberts (which I’m reading now) is a lambda level story. Well, there you have it. It’s on the list, but pretty low.

Binary choices + ranking = better than the Five Stars system.

A sister article to “My Five Stars”:

15 thoughts on “Ranking vs rating

  1. I like it. BUT – your ranking might be completely different to mine (somehow they mostly always are…).
    Also, I’ve tried ranking books like that myself and soon realized that I didn’t remember how I felt about certain books and where to place the one I just read…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, but the idea is to create a “generally common” list assigned the greek alphabet. I suspect at least 1/3 of the books or movies or whatever would be shared. And from those, the others could be inferred.
      A Zeta or Theta for you would still be on the “to-read” list for me and basically placed in the middle of the pack — provided I find one or two in your list that I too have ranked.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mental fictions as reflections of the real world. Where has that gotten us exactly? I like the idea of a world in a pocket and making that the first line of a work of fiction. Also, what about Meta concerns? Thanks. Duke

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This one will require some alpha-level thinking before I can commit to it. That’s better over coffee. I’ll break down my collection in the morning, or on Thursday when I have more time.

    I would like to hear an answer to Phil’s question, though: Is $50 a bag dog food a benefit or a scam?

    Asking for a friend. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Of course, your ranking tomorrow might not be the same as your ranking today. And it might be a good idea sometimes to read something that maybe you don’t know enough about to rank accurately… Still, entertaining post!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. OK. This is total bullshit. Check it out. I can do every Sales/Time Management/Marketing seminar you’ve ever seen in under 3 minutes. With a deck of cards. If you get it, good. If not, I can make it last two days. But why? Choice is choice. We know who we are by the choices we make. Don’t you have like 5 novels to edit? So why are you trying to turn life into a spreadsheet when choice is why we’re here? Hey, want to save a butt load of money on a Tony Robbins Get Your Life Together seminar? Here it is. Shit or get off the pot. Next. Choices. Now, before I relegate you to the helicopters and exploding cars and machine gun crowd, stop doing math long enough to decide how you FEEL about what you want to read next. What you expect to experience rather than choose to ignore. Where you will be immersed, not just distracted from shopping at the Container Store for an Organized Universe container. Jesus, man. For a guy who doesn’t have time to edit you got all kinds of navel lint picking projects on the front burners. I feel like Sister Mary of Eternal Flatulence with my ruler here. Consider your knuckles whacked and yourself chided into doing meaningful work. God almighty, what next? Vegan or vegitarian? Who needs the longer shopping list? Is $50 a bag dog food a benefit or a scam? Aare heated toilet seats the secret to longevity?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. … and, I have to write a couple hundred lines of SQL, twice that of C# and VB (yuck) today, write up my notes on porting from an archaic Customer/Student record into the new consolidated-reconciled enterprise wide system (which I have still yet to get by off on), not to mention deploy new data shipping to 30+ nodes this week.
      These ideas show up and I write them down as best I can to get my idea across — to myself. I can’t stop the flow. You said it yourself: I think too much.
      Honorable Judge Phil, I present to you exhibit #59.
      (Yes I have to continue to get those stories edited, and get my webserver back running so that I can host my domains again, and, and and…)
      But I have so much fun chatting with you. It’s like an addiction I’m afraid.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Next brain fart stop somewhere in the building and listen. Not to what is being said, to the rhythm of what is being said. Close your eyes and listen to the noises. I used to listen to traffic in Houston. I could go mad, or I could find rhythm in chaos. Listen to the office drum machine. Listen to chatty people, on the make people, nerds and hipsters. Here’s your assignment. Without constraints. Leave your world in your pocket and pretend you’re the box of baking soda in the back of the fridge soaking it all up. Ranks and ratings and equational coding belong where they belong. Buy wine because of the bottle or the location. Pick books only after you’ve read page 2 or 6 and flip to two thirds of the way though and see if you can stand jumping in the middle of a scene, not because of anything external. Let the book speak, and listen. Put Sheldon on the work shelf and spend a couple of days listening to rhythm when he’s off duty.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I acknowledge your intent and accept that, yes, there is that sense of umami in my expression that is absent.
          I’m reminded of La Bamba. Para bailar la bamba, necesito una poco de gracia. That little bit of grace appears to be lacking.
          I admit that my analytical self is dominant. I work from home, have for twelve years. 5 feet from where I sleep, 6 feet from the wood burning stove, 10 feet from the washer and dryer. I don’t get out to the office. Or out much at all. So, my poco de gracia is going to have to be developed in-house.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. first of all, I like your share button heading “send this to hell and back” hahahhahah. and i love the ranking system. I TOTALLY AGREE that The Hobbit is an Alpha. Though, Idk if I’d put the Martian or Charlotte’s Web that high. That is the part of the ranks that gets a little confusing for me. I agree with the rest.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So, that’s why we EACH need to have our own ranking lists. If I find a book I’d like to read on YOUR list, and it’s above one that’s on MY list — then voila’! I have an idea how well I might like it.

      Liked by 2 people

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