How many times can one person start to read "Moby Dick" and stop halfway through? Or "Infinite Jest," for that matter? And what about Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time," widely called "the most unread book of all time?"
A mathematician has an answer, as they so often do. To find out whether you're likely to give up on a book, look no further than the "Hawking Index," a fun, if imprecise, mathematical measure of how far, on average, people get into a given book. It was invented by mathematician Jordan Ellenberg in a blog for the Wall Street Journal.