You troll Facebook to find the books people list as their favorite. Then you correlate that with the average SAT scores at their institution of higher learning. You’ve found the “books that make you dumb.”
Of course you haven’t, not really, and it’s quite clear that the page author, Virgil Griffith, knows that.
If you accept the suggestion of the chart’s title, the “smartest” people read Lolita and Crime and Punishment, while the “dumbest” people read the The Holy Bible and The Color Purple.
As Virgil notes, correlation isn’t causation. Reading the The Holy Bible doesn’t make you dumb. Virgil says “The results are awesome regardless of direction of causality. You can stop sending me email about this distinction.” Heh.
So what does this chart mean? Mainly, I think, it sorts people by the books they think are impressive. If you’re at Harvard, it’s impressive to say you like Lolita, but not so impressive to say you like Fahrenheit 451. Every Harvard student read Fahrenheit 451 in the eighth grade. They are so over it by now. If you’re at Podunk Polytechnic, by contrast, it’s impressive that you know Fahrenheit 451 is not a movie by Michael Moore.
Notice there are two separate listings: The Holy Bible and The Bible. Reading The Bible “makes you smarter” than reading The Holy Bible. This makes sense — by calling it The Holy Bible you’re adding your review of the book right into the title. Only idiots do this — it’s like saying “the HAWT Paris Hilton.”
That’s all I have to say about that.