I sort of like to keep up on who’s writing books about climate and how they’re doing. Amazon always has a list of product details that includes four rankings. There’s a best seller’s rank and three top categories ranks. Two people I follow closely have just written books so I thought I’d check out how they’re doing. These two books are Michael Shellenberger’s, Apocalypse Never and Mark Jacobson’s, 100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything.
Sometimes two books can become sort of archetypal opposing views on some topic. A good climate example would be Andrew Montford’s, The Hockey Stick Illusion and Michael Mann’s, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. Another would be Mark Steyn’s, A Disgrace to the Profession and Michael Mann’s, The Madhouse Effect. Steyn’s included cartoons by long time climate cartoonist Josh, while Mann’s included cartoons by political cartoonist Tom Toles. I suspect Mann’s book was a direct response to Steyn’s. I thought Shellenberger’s and Jacobson’s books could become opposing tomes on nuclear energy, but that does not turn out to be the case.
These are Mark Jacobson’s book’s Amazon ratings for Hardcover:
- #1,371,306 in Books
- #1,149 in Environmental Studies
- #3,338 in Environmental Economics (Books)
- #4,325 in Environmental Science (Books)
- #455,967 in Books
- #276 in Environmental Studies
- #1,012 in Environmental Economics (Books)
- #1,403 in Environmental Science (Books)
- #394,670 in Kindle Store
- #243 in Environmental Science (Kindle Store)
- #714 in Environmental Issues
- #1,484 in Environmental Science (Books)
These results are interesting, enlightening, amusing, even startling. There’s over a million hardcover books selling better than Jacobson’s! It looks like Amazon has amassed tons of categories so that any author’s book will have some sort of respectable ranking show up somewhere. Well looking at Jacobson’s rankings, I might have to say “almost any author’s”.
Here’s Shellenberger’s Hardcover:
- #955,616 in Books
- #1,015 in Environmental Policy
- #1,346 in Climatology
- #2,957 in Environmental Science (Books)
- #11,711 in Kindle Store
- #2 in Environmental Science (Kindle Store)
- #2 in Human Geography (Kindle Store)
- #4 in Environmental Issues
As far as archetypal opposing books goes, there’s no comparison. I suppose Jacobson’s lackluster results could be due to its being a textbook, albeit a new one. I think his idiotic lawsuit has taken a heavy toll on his standing among those interested in climate and energy. Still, I would not count him out with a possible democratic victory coming on the brink the presidential election. He has a lot of adoring fans among Hollywood celebrities, activists and politicians. The Editorial Reviews section actually has a blurb by Michael Mann:
‘Mark Jacobson shines a bright light illuminating the path forward, painstakingly detailing – with numbers and facts – how we can decarbonize our energy infrastructure, take action on climate, create a cleaner environment and sustain a healthy, green economy. At a time when there is far too much doom and gloom over our prospects for averting climate catastrophe, read this book, take action and be part of the battle to preserve a healthy, livable planet.’ Michael E. Mann, Penn State University –This text refers to the paperback edition.
WordPress has automatically included the links in these categories that I pasted here (otherwise, they’ve been driving me up the wall with their new editing features. Beware of any company that calls its employees happiness engineers). Clicking on these categories gives you Amazon’s top 100. Going through these lists can tell you a lot about the state of climate books. A recent book by David Wallace-Wells titled, The Uninhabitable Earth, pairs up very nicely with Shellenberger’s as an opposing book. It’s over a year old but still has rankings in single and double digits. Both books have about 15 hundred reviews (Jacobson’s only has one).
As a final note (and I so hope I’m not jinxing this) Judith Curry has just announced that she has a book contract. Perhaps this might pair up as opposition to Michael Mann’s soon to be released book, The New Climate War. It’s already racked up #4 in Weather (Kindle Store) and double digits in three other categories. Curry talks a little bit about her upcoming book in an interview with Robert Bryce on his Power Hungry podcast at one hour in:
In fairness to WordPress, I should probably add that after all this being dragged kicking and screaming, their new editing features do seem to be working well.