Most read articles of 2012

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Most read articles of 2012

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2012's most popular article proved controversial—especially in China (photo: Sherman Wang)

Here, in order, are the top 10 most read articles from 2012 on the Prospect website.

10. If I ruled the world: Michael Sandel had a great year. The philosopher’s new book, What Money Can’t Buy, was a much-discussed contribution to the debate on markets. In this article, he described how he’d like to rewrite economics textbooks.

9. Playing with infinity on Rikers Island: As a child, David McConnell had little time for maths. But when he taught the subject in a tough New York jail, he came to see its beauty.

8. Playboy goes west: Playboy used to be a Midwestern icon. This year, the magazine moved to Los Angeles. Rachel Shteir considered its storied history and uncertain future.

7. Last hope for the left: Liberals could learn a lot from conservatives, who are much better at appealing to morality, said David Goodhart. Is the future post-liberal?

6. The great bad writer: Edgar Allan Poe was not a very good stylist—but he was still the most influential American author of the 19th century, said Kevin Jackson

5. Riddled with irregularity: What gives languages their order? Genes aren’t the whole story, explained Philip Ball—culture matters too.

4. Nature, nurture and liberal values: Biology can tell us a great deal about our behaviour. Yet the mystery of the human condition remains, argued Roger Scruton

3. The curious case of the Sherlock pilgrims: In September, a motley assortment of Sherlock Holmes fanatics gathered in Switzerland to recreate the detective’s final hours. Edward Docx went along for the ride

2. The descent of Edward Wilson: Richard Dawkins’s damning review of another great biologist, EO Wilson, provoked controversy—and a response from Wilson himself

1. You’ll never be Chinese: Mark Kitto’s article about why he’s leaving China after living there for 16 years was a blockbuster sensation. It sparked off a debate about foreigners in China and even inspired a parody

More 2012 lists

The top 10 Prospect articles of 2012

The best books of 2012

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