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Hatch's Order of Magnitude: Methodical Rankings of the Commonplace and the Incredible for Daily Reference by a Man of Extraordinary Genius and Impeccable Taste Paperback – August 8, 2007
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About the Author
Michael Hatch was born on New Years Eve, 1980, in Riverside, CA, to Steve and Trish Hatch, making it under the wire for the tax deduction by a mere 35 minutes. He became an Eagle Scout at age 17, attended UC Berkeley for five years, and is now a producer for the comedy website NationalBanana.com.
Top customer reviews
The book is organized, literally, into lists. An example: "Degrees of Disaster". In an ordered list of magnitudes, a list of 65 terms from Faux Pas to Omniblink (disaster on the blinking of existence out of existence) follows. A glossary is in the back to help with some his unfamiliar, or neologistic, terms. Some of the lists are factual (miliary rankings), but most are just an interesting look at how words carry more than just their definitions with them in usage. "Degrees of Fitness" from 'beached whale' to 'Schwarzenggerian'.
The two-star rating is only for the idea and the categories.
First, the complaints: I think it could have been made more reader friendly, by including an index that listed every word in the book. In this way, some of the less frequently used or unfamiliar words could be located more easily. Rather than have to try to figure out which grouping a word would fall under, the index would point directly to it. My second complaint is that I didn't always find the 'order' to be correct. This is really a little thing because as any writer knows, we are in search of 'the perfect' word when writing. The order listed in this book would not necessarily dictate which word we will end up using. I would suggest when using this book and finding the correct category, browse through the list at all of the words included.
What I did like, I found the book very useful. Unlike a thesaurus, this book doesn't provide synonyms, it provides (as it states) the magnitude of an emotion, a trait, an action, et cetera. I refer to it often when I'm looking for a word that means more than something or less than something. Example: Disgusting to Delicious.... there are roughly 35 words between vile and scrumptious. Many would come to mind, but this book gives even more choices, making it easy to find the perfect word for your piece.
It's not a book you'll use every day, but it is a book you'll find value in.
Just as one of dozens of examples, the previously mentioned list of words about confidence includes 37 items, but many (half) don't belong on any list of degrees of confidence at all. What do 'plebian,' 'proletarian,' 'withdrawn,' 'ordinary,' and 'ostentatious' have to do with confidence? Literally most items on most lists are simply not related to the topic supposedly being addressed or are dumb made up words. By dumb made up words, I mean totally unimaginative latin-esque redundancy like simply putting multi-, kilo-, mega-, giga-, etc before some root. Many lists are stuffed with wastes of ink like that - the list of 59 empire sizes has 33 made up words. They are all either Latin-like permutations or even less creative numbering. A "Kardeshev 1 civilization" is smaller than a "Kardeshev 2 Civilization" and so on, all the way through 5. People pay money for this? People give it positive reviews? It just boggles the mind.
The idea of ordering by degree is solid, but SO MANY orderings are just wrong that it's hard to appreciate any of it. The same confidence list has 'tentative' seven notches more insecure than 'demure,' for example. Bono could be tentative about buying a cell phone, while demure actually means modest and shy. Who would put 'pretentious' four notches above 'narcissistic'? Dumb. The list of drugs by illicitness puts laughing gas above MDMA! Hey Hatch, try Googling your items first so you know what they are before publishing.
I'm not just picking on a few choice lists, either. They are nearly all simply awful - full of irrelevant content, unfunny make believe words, poor ordering, etc. Hatch's Order of Magnitude is one of the only books I've ever actually thrown out.