The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

Gladwell tries to show how memes (see TheSelfishGene) have viral transmission properties. He proves this by giving examples. Although he can correctly calculate 20 choose 2 (page 179), he needs to re-read HowToProveIt. Worse, one of his examples (crime in NYC) was destroyed by Stephen Levitt's The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime (electronically published in August 1999, on paper in the 2000 1st quarter edition of The Quarterly Journal of Economics).

Regardless, Gladwell does do a good job of making me feel socially remote. Since it's a book on memetic transmission between humans, he gives numbers about how interconnected people are. Average people have 12 people whose deaths they'd be devastated by. Average 18 year-olds can read a list of 250 random surnames and put 20.98 faces to the surnames (you see "Doe" and know a John and Jane Doe, that's 2 points for you). I scored a 12.

Gladwell does make up for depressing you by geeking out on Blue's Clues, which is a TV show for kiddies. It's most notable advance is noticing (accidentally) that small children really like exact repetition (they're trying to figure it out, so the exact same thing over and over again helps; although it nearly kills their parents). So, they made a show with interactive pauses (long ones for little kids) as they asked questions of the audience, and then showed the same show five days in a row. I think I'll get the DVD set for my kids.

But then I realize I don't have kids. I don't have a wife. I don't even know a girl that could be a future wife. So I'm really glad that graduate school ends in a couple months and I'll have 20 extra hours a week to try to do something about this these gaping black holes.