Airport book writers have always loved their anecdotes. But sometimes the anecdotes do not enjoy being such! Particularly when the events of their anecdotage are totally misconstrued. The anecdote in this case is the career of UC Berkeley professor Richard A. Muller. In Wired editor Chris Anderson's Free, Anderson says that, because Muller put his physic lectures on YouTube and got lots of attention, he got a book deal and sold more books. In the actual world, however, Muller sold his ninth book to an editor he'd worked with before. And when the book came out, he emailed everyone who'd written in about his YouTube videos, and found "no discernible increase" in sales from doing so-though he got bumps in sales from doing NPR and appearing in newspapers. Neither of which are Free™ to produce, by the way! The best part is the end of the article that explains all this, when Chris Anderson comes in and says that the professor is WRONG about his experience and life and should get back in the anecdote box.
Friday, July 10th, 2009