The above adage is credited to Theodore Sturgeon, and it’s commonly called Sturgeon’s Law. I heard about it while listening on my morning walk to a podcast about podcasts. A recent news article said there are now over 700,000 podcasts for listeners to choose from, and one of the callers-in proclaimed that 90% of them are crap.
I looked up Sturgeon’s Law on Wikipedia, and saw that he coined the adage in 1951. In 2013, philosopher Daniel Dannett cited it as one of the tools of critical thinking, and that it was “true whether you are talking about physics, chemistry, evolutionary psychology, sociology, medicine…. rock music, country western.”
We live in an age of such digital quantity that it’s gotten harder and harder to sort through it to find quality. Who has the time?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. As a self-published author I’m swimming in a crowded sea of over one million new books being offered each year, and it’s almost impossible to stand out and be noticed. When the choices for streaming shows on television now exceed six hundred at any point in time, who can take an interest in more than a handful? How does one choose what to watch, read, listen to?
I can only speak for myself. I trust referrals, I check out reviews, I belong to a book club, I ask around. I also leave reviews, kind ones but honest ones so I lead no one astray. It’s a small favor to fellow writers and readers. Would you do me that one small favor and review any of my writing that you’ve read? And not just mine, all writers you’ve read. You spent all that reading, what’s another couple of minutes to help others sort through the crap?