The algorithm that can predict the success of a novel


The more thoughtful a novel is, the more successful it is -- that is, if a book's "thoughtfulness" can be characterized by how often it uses words related to thinking. According to new research out of Stony Brook University in New York, it's possible to determine how successful a book will be by the amount of "thinking verbs" the book uses, NPR reports.

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The study, called Success with Style: Using Writing Style to Predict the Success of Novels, found that thinking verbs like "remember" and "recognize" were correlated with a book's success more than "emotional or action verbs" such as "jump" and "shout." The researchers said there are "distinct linguistic patterns shared among successful literature, at least within the same genre, making it possible to build a model with surprisingly high accuracy (up to 84%) in predicting the success of a novel."

The researchers measured success based on the number of downloads from Project Gutenberg (which has more than 42,000 titles available for free), Amazon sales figures and some literary awards. They were also able to determine that the more nouns and adjectives the books had, the higher their success rate.