Ranking: The Unwritten Rules of the Social Game We All Play

ISBN : 9780190935467

Peter Erdi
256 Pages
156 x 156 mm
Pub date
Oct 2019
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Human beings are competitive. We want to know who is the strongest, who is the richest, and who is the cleverest of all. Some situations, like ranking people based on height, can be ranked in objective ways. However, many "Top Ten" 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. Ranking: The Unwritten Rules of the Social Game We All Play 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 are employees ranked? This book is for people who have a neighbor with a fancier car; employees, who are being ranked by their supervisors; managers, who are involved in ranking but may have qualms about the process; businesspeople 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; or college students who are just preparing to enter a new phase of social competition. Readers will engage in an intellectual adventure to better understand the difficulties of navigating between objectivity and subjectivity and to better identify and modify their place in real and virtual communities by combining human and computational intelligence.


1 Prologue: My Early Encounters with Ranking
2 Comparison, ranking, rating, and lists
3 Social ranking in animal and human societies
4 Choices, Games, Laws, and the Web
5 The Ignorant and the Manipulative
6 Ranking games
7 The Struggle for Reputation
8 Inspired by Your Wish List: How (Not To) Buy a New Lawnmower
9 Epilogue: Rules of the Ranking Game-Where Are We Now?

About the author: 

Dr. Erdi serves as the Henry R. Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies at Kalamazoo College. He is also a research professor in his home town, in Budapest, at the Wigner Research Centre of Physics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In addition, he is the founding co-director of the Budapest Semester in Cognitive Science, a study abroad program. Peter is a Member of the Board of Governors of the International Neural Network Society, the past Vice President of Membership of the International Neural Network Society, and the Editor-in-Chief of Cognitive Systems Research.

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