by Hendrik Hertzberg

One Million

This week was almost a nightmare when my harddrive failed and needed to be replaced on a computer that was only a year and half old. Luckily I had been using Time Machine and my entire system was saved exactly how it was when it left me. If I hadn’t been backing up everything, all would have been lost. So I just want to remind everyone out there to make sure you are backing up your work!!! And I highly recommend Time Machine if you’re on a Mac.

A million doesn’t seem as enormous a number as it used to be when I was a kid. Apartments in my neighborhood can cost a million dollars and blogs I read have close to a million readers. It’s not as uncommon a number anymore. But it’s hard to visualize what a million looks like exactly. Numbers can be so abstract. Did you ever look at a jar of jellybeans and try to guess how many there were for a prize? I always overestimated that game and was never close to winning, amazed at what 150 jelly beans looked like. Well, this book is one million dots: five thousand to a page, two hundred pages! And it’s pretty overwhelming to see this many dots. A million is a lot! Then as you’re counting along in the book, each dot corresponds to a number and some dots are featured. These call outs are interesting tidbits of information, statistics or unusual historical, political facts. For example on dot 346,242 there is a callout that tells us the US uses 346,242 gallons of freshwater every day. Or on dot 73,850- that’s how many people are on a waiting list for a kidney as of June 2007. This book blows your mind because you can visually see just how many that means and what each dot can represent. Compiled by New Yorker writer Hendrik Hertzberg, this book was originally published in 1970. But this is an updated version with all new facts. The book is super interesting and insightful and needs to be left around your house to surprise you again and again. Pick up a copy here.

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