Buzzwords & Icons

Wanna be even more fashionable than you already are? Then spread these buzzwords around at parties—between drinks!

These are some of the terms used throughout this website. Most of these are pretty intuitive, but sometimes we restricted the meaning, so as to make infloox a more insightful tool for book-lovers, students and academics.


An exploration of the influences or relationships between an author and a famous person cannot be completely objective and unbiased if we ignore the possibility that, in many cases, the two persons personally knew each other well. We systematically identify all of those famous people who had any personal contact—perhaps because they were married, were lovers, roommates at university, or close friends—or perhaps because they simply exchanged long series of letters and correspondence—as was often the case, in remote epochs, among intellectuals and writers.

Under the label acquaintances, we exclude those cases where two famous people only met once or twice, especially if circumstantially and tangentially. We deem that such short, infrequent, coincidental meetings are not sufficient either to allow them to influence one other, or (more crucially) to induce necessarily someone to dig into the other person's works.


Many works were bestsellers at the time of their original publication and then perhaps fell into oblivion. Some others were totally ignored at the time of their publication but later became, suddenly, very popular. We therefore choose to use the term bestseller in a broad sense, allowing for the occasional anachronism, especially with books written before the invention of the press or of the so-called “publishing market.”

We at Infloox are interested, among other things, in identifying those works that were great successes at any time in their history—especially at first publication or at the time of their first appearance into the world. We hope that many of the bestsellers of the old days or of past eras will at some point be re-discovered by us, citizens of the 21st century.

By groups, we refer to cultural associations (such as PEN International), literary circles (the Bloomsbury Group), categories of merit (Nobel Prize winners), or cultural movements (Existentialism). All of these groups have one element in common, and that is why we include them: they shaped, defined, hence influenced a particular famous person. This additional method of classification ultimately gives additional power and scope to our search engine.

This term refers to the works and the authors that are a favourite for a specific famous person or influential in this person's life. Books that were simply read or music that was studied by that person—data permitting—are often also mentioned. Within that context, the term infloox™ also refers to the list of all such works and authors; this list is presented in decreasing order of influence weight — or of intensity of the liking of a work or an author.

The meaning extends to collective influences — that is, to influences over groups of persons, types of activities, countries, or ranges of years. In this case, infloox refers to the works and authors that were favourites or influential for the group as a whole.

Negative influence
A negative influence refers to a work or an author that influenced a famous person in a negative, repulsive way. An example could be that of a liberal politician who had read a book written by a dictator: the ideas of the latter, expressed in the book, could have left a very negative impression on her, but this reading could nonetheless have been a landmark in her life (negatively), as she may have permanently convinced herself of important political principles.
This is the mirror image of the term infloox. It refers to the list of the most prominent followers of a specific work or author, or to the list of works inspired by a specific work.

We collect information through a wide variety of sources: books (monographs and series), newspapers, magazines, academic journals, encyclopedias, documentaries and radio broadcasts. We may use combinations and overlaps of different, sometimes contradicting sources. Sources may also include direct feedbacks from specific famous persons, in which case a note stating that such feedback actually took place appears on the relevant pages. This last case, however, is not the norm, as we relied only on publicly-available external sources in the overwhelming majority of cases.

Sources may mention the influential or favourite works of famous persons and comment on how strong each of these was as an influence. But they almost never provide any ranking or indications of relative importance for a specific famous person. Consequently, all rankings and parameters of relative strengths originate from editorial decisions made by Infloox or its contributors, not from the sources themselves. This means that any underestimation (or overestimation) of the influence of a work on a famous person should not, therefore, be attributed to a source, but rather to Infloox.

Suitable for children

This is a way of qualifying specific works. By children, we refer to young people roughly between the ages of 5 and 12. By suitable, we do not mean that a particular work is “for children only.” We recognize that some children's books are read or re-read by adults, and that conversely some books normally written for adults are widely read by children (possibly making them classics of children literature in their own rights). By suitable, therefore, we mean a work that can be read by (or at least appear in the collection of) a person younger than a teenager.

Infloox exercised summary precautions to ensure that works labeled in such a way indeed reflect suitability for children between roughly the ages of 5 and 12. Unfortunately, errors and omissions in the research, in the editorial decisions, and in data inputting may happen. Infloox does not accept any responsibility as to the appropriateness of a specific work for a specific child. The final decision to give a work to a child should rest solely on the discretion of this child's parents or legal guardians.

Technical influence
We call technical influence an influence by a work that normally presupposes a certain specific technical knowledge (such as applied sciences, mathematics, philosophy, intricate musical analysis, etc.). Conversely, influences that do not have this qualifier are of general interest; they are accessible, and comparatively more interesting, to a typical user; these works, of general interest, represent the vast majority of titles contained in this website and would typically include novels, history books, mainstream movies, etc.
Voracious reader

This indicates whether or not a particular famous person is an avid reader.

For some people, books are a way of life. They read continually and attribute to books generally a great part of their personal development: social, intellectual, spiritual, even worldly and commercial. Other people, equally intellectually intense, do not have an equally special relationship with books: their way of learning is more empirical, they function by trial-and-error and are influenced by real-world events, instead of ideas expressed in books. This second category of people nonetheless havefavourite” books, which is why their reading preferences can (and should) be integrated and harmonized with the rest of the other famous people contained in this website.

It seems to us that such different attitudes with respect to books is important. These determine the impact that a book or an author has on an individual. Therefore, we chose to highlight whether each person contained in our website is a voracious reader or not. This extra parameter not only improves the characterization of the famous persons but also increases the depth and precision of the search options offered on this website.

Weight of the influence

The image of the traditional grocery-store scale allows you quickly to see to what extent a work or author is a favourite, or influential, for a particular famous person. The more bananas on the scale, the greater the weight of the influence. Some books were merely “read,” perhaps distractedly so during a vacation at a sea resort, or maybe “studied” or memorized during high-school days. Or perhaps still some books were life-changing (or, so to speak, “dominant”) for a specific famous person, in which case the scale shows the highest possible weight. The category of so-called “favourite” works is depicted as being somewhere in-between these two earlier extreme cases, and is therefore illustrated by a middle weight resting on the scale.