My Interests, As Reverse Engineered by Amazon.com

According to Amazon.com’s reverse engineering of my purchases, here are my interests:

Accounting, Asia, Biology, Chaos & Systems, Cognitive Psychology, Communism & Socialism, Consciousness & Thought, Economic Conditions, Economic History, Economic Policy & Development, Epistemology, Ethics, Finance, Government, Greek & Roman, History & Surveys, History & Theory, Holocaust, Intelligence, Intelligence Agencies, International Relations, International Security, Investments & Securities, Japan, Logic, Marxism, Military & Spies, Military Science, Modern, Napoleon, Naval, Nonfiction, Nuclear, Philosophy, Physics, Political, Political History, Political Ideologies, Presidents & Heads of State, Public Policy, Purple Politics, Relations, Russia, Social Theory, Sociology, Statistics, Strategy, Theory, World War I

That reads about right. I could quibble about some omissions, e.g. where’s Europe. That being said, why do Amazon’s recommendations suck so much? How is it that I can routinely go into a bookstore and find, not obscurely hidden in a lesser-trafficked corner, but prominently displayed, some work of exceptional interest to me, but that Amazon hasn’t recommended? And the heavily cut tracks! I find that I have an occasional interest in, say, the U.S. Civil War, but that I refrain from adding a Civil War title to my wish list because the Civil War is such an overdone cottage industry: if you add a single Civil War title, next thing you know every new volume by every small-town antiquarian, about every two-bit local general is going to be recommended.

Update, 5 April 2008: And what the hell is “Purple Politics”? Everything listed under that category seems perfectly respectable, but when I hear “purple politics” I think of Jessica Cutler’s The Washingtonienne, the Starr Report or the tabloids on Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni.

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