Posted by Steve Price on May 12, 1999 at 15:01:56:
In Reply to: Re: BOOKS (all kinds): Mostly Accurate Now or Frequently in Error Yet? posted by Marla Mallett on May 12, 1999 at 13:43:27:
If I understand you correctly, you believe that rug books (with a few exceptions, I assume) include more misinformation than accurate information. And, of course, they don't tell you what's accurate and what isn't. And finding the same thing in a number of books doesn't increase the accuracy of the information because the errors simply get repeated over and over.
If you are correct, then the probability that we will know less after reading a rug book exceeds the probability that we will know more. In fact, we would have a better ratio of accurate to inaccurate information in our heads if we never read anything at all.
I understand marketplace myths, and have even taken an occasional small step towards showing that one didn't make sense in the face of critical analysis. Still, I am having trouble digesting the notion that the more someone studies books about rugs, the less he actually knows about them.
As a "just for the hell of it" exercise, I pulled a book off a shelf. It's James Opie's "Tribal Rugs." Opie has traveled and spent some time among Persian tribespeople. I decided to go to an area where he probably has no first hand experience, figuring that this would maximize the inaccuracy rate. So I went to the chapter on the Caucasus and read it again.
The notion that it includes errors is plausible enough, and I wouldn't be shocked to have someone point them out. But the idea that more than 75% of what it says is wrong seems incredible. Or did I simply misunderstand what you were saying?
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