are more Popular
Barry L. Ritholtz
I recently had a computer purchase discussion with my
sister--She and her husband would like to have a PC so that
Jake and Jamie (my niece and nephew--ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2)
can learn computers and have some fun. Every time the J's
are over, they have a great time on my Quadra, playing kids'
games I downloaded off the net.
The bad news is my brother-in-law--an otherwise decent
fellow--is considering purchasing a Wintel machine for their
home. The reason Sis gave for possibly making this egregious
error was curious: "Windows is the
most popular" computer option.
The phrase "most POPULAR"--not the "best" or "most
useful," but most popular--stuck in my craw for a few
I was disturbed by the thought of my niece and nephews'
first real computer experiences being Wintel. I was
disturbed enough to do a little research into some of the
world's most POPULAR (but not necessarily best, or even 3rd
or 8th best) things:
- "Hangin' Tough Live," by New Kids On The
- "Hangin' Tough" by New Kids On The Block
- "Step By Step" --that's right again-- by New Kids
On The Block.
(I couldn't even make this stuff up if I
- The single that spent the most consecutive weeks
(54) on the US charts is "The Macarena," by Los Del
- "The Macarena" dethroned the previous
consecutive chart topper, "Oh, What a Night" (by
The Four Seasons)
- The final numbers have not been tallied yet, but
it appears that Elton John's re-release of "Candle In
The Wind:" Rose of England (Tribute to Princess Diana)
is about to pass Bing Crosby's White Christmas for
best selling single of all time.
- Not too long ago, "(Whoomp) There It Is" by Tag
Team was the year's best selling single.
- The best selling film soundtrack of all time is,
- The fastest selling Debut Album of all time was
Hootie and the Blowfish's "Cracked Rear View," which
sold 14 million copies
- The world's largest daily circulation newspaper is
neither the Wall Street Journal nor the New York
Times, but Pravda, at 10 million copies per day.
(Probably becuse of their less biased reporting.)
- The world's most translated author is everyone's
favorite commie, Vladimir Lenin. (3,842 translations).
William Shakespeare is a distant fourth with 1,689
- The best selling novel of all time--at 30 million
copies--is "Valley of the Dolls," by Jacqueline
- 1996's best selling non-fiction book was "Make the
Connection" by that literary lion herself, Oprah
Winfrey (co-written by her dean of letters, Bob
- The most watched weekly program in television
history is "Baywatch." Nielsen Media Research puts its
weekly viewership in 110 countries at 2.3 billion
(That is right, BILLION).
- At a distant second is Jim Henson's "The
Muppets." With barely 10% of Baywatch's audience, a
mere 235 million people in 106 countries enjoy
Kermit the Frog weekly.
- The most watched event in television history is
Princess Di's funeral, which displaced the previous
number one: The Royal Wedding of Prince Charles to
Lady Diana Spencer.
- Man's landing on the moon is a bit further down
- The longest running Broadway play of all time is
"Cats" (1982 to present).
- The U.S. President who was elected with the largest
popular majority was none other than Tricky Dick--Richard
M. Nixon won with 47.1 million to McGovern's 29.1 million
- The world's best selling prepared food is that
gustatory treat, the Big Mac, at over 14 billion
- Though not a public corporation (with no accompanying
public financial disclosure required), the highest
revenue generating infomercial is believed to be The
Psychic Friends' Network (1-900-Psychic).
- The world's best selling brewery is Anheiser Busch;
makers of many fine products--most notably its biggest
My purpose in putting together this assortment of "Best
Sellers" is not to mock or humiliate people who are fond of
popular things (no mater how diserving of mocking they may
be). Rather, it was to gather some ammo to poke holes in the
blind argument used by the Wintel crowd: "it's the most
popular platform, therefore, you should get it."
I hope my little diatribe provides you with a suitable
response the next time you overhear some pinhead using this
nonsense to talk someone out of getting a superior
My apologies if this comes
across as pretentious or condescending; obviously, it is
a selective list. There are many fine products and
services that sell well--the Beatles, Star Wars, and the
Honda Accord are just a few examples. It just seems to me
that, for the most part, people have a hard time
distinguishing between qualitative and quantitative
- Top Ten of Everything, by Russel Ash (DIK
- Nielsen Media Research
- The Book of Mosts, Aaron Cohl (St. Martin's
- Guinness Book of World Records, 1997
- Issac Asimov's Book of Facts