this is a SHAXPIR project
how does it work?

The Cult of Smart

  by Fredrik deBoer

(about 277 pages)
total words
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
passive voice
of all the books in our library
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library

clippings from this book

We’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of words, from thousands of different authors, training our linguistic models to recognize the most vivid words in the English language… the words that create the most intense sensory experiences: colors, textures, sounds, flavors, and aromas.

Based on our analysis, we’ve scanned through the pages of this book to find the two pages at the extremes, both the most-passive and the most-vivid pages, so that you can compare them side-by-side and see the difference:

Gates have made to disperse their immense fortune in charitable ways is remarkable, however strongly I feel that philanthropy is not a substitute for government intervention. There are some educational projects that have been spearheaded or funded by the Gates Foundation that I find very admirable. But there’s also a set of policy preferences that they push that seem immune to evidence. Does Anything Work? It’s easy to look at all of these false promises and dead ends and wonder what works. Are our efforts in this domain simply wasted? What actually works? As I’ve suggested, having biological parents with a high IQ is probably the single most important determining factor for a child’s later academic development. But let’s set genetic ancestry aside. What else predicts student performance? To succeed academically, a child should be born to college-educated parents. Those parents should be from the middle class or, preferably, the upper class. The child should be brought to full term and be born at a healthy weight. The child should be free from developmental or cognitive disabilities. The child should be raised in a lead-free environment. The child should not be abused or neglected, particularly early in life. As you may have noticed, all of these conditions are ones that educators and policymakers have little or no control over. I would not say, though, that we should be completely nihilistic about the available academic interventions. I think that we should instead be realistic about what we control and who is so much it’s no longer really a metaphor. But the comparison is a good one. Each student is a seed, and each seed grows in the soil of the student’s environment. In the world today, some seeds are sheltered and nourished, while some are neglected and underfed. We should strive for a world where all seeds grow in healthy, well-tended soil, out of a fundamental commitment to the equal moral value of all. But just as no plant can grow to its full potential height from poor soil, no amount of tending to the soil can make some seeds taller than some others. Some seeds are meant to spawn taller plants than some others. That is the way of things. All plants have their own beauty, and all human beings have something of value to contribute to society. But to act as though every human being has the same potential in academic life is no more sensible than expecting every sapling to grow to the same height. It’s a fiction, a pleasant fiction, and one we can’t keep believing. Our Cult of Smart asks that all seeds grow into the same tall flowers. It insists that everyone be judged by the same narrow criteria, and when people like me object to that one-size-fits-all approach, we are accused of laziness or bigotry. The Cult of Smart, for the people who excel within it, is more than a political platform or a vision of success. It is a totalizing ideology that colors

emotional story arc

Click anywhere on the chart to see the most significant emotional words — both positive & negative — from the corresponding section of the text…
This chart visualizes the the shifting emotional balance for the arc of this story, based on the emotional strength of the words in the prose, using techniques pioneered by the UVM Computational Story Lab. To create this story arc, we divided the complete manuscript text into 50 equal-sized chunks, each with 1384.78 words, and then we scored each section by counting the number of strongly-emotional words, both positive and negative. The bars in the chart move downward whenever there’s conflict and sadness, and they move upward when conflicts are resolved, or when the characters are happy and content. The size of each bar represents the positive or negative word-count of that section.

similar books by different authors

other books by Fredrik deBoer

something missing?

Our library is always growing, so check back often…

If you’re an author or a publisher,
contact us at to help grow the library.