Malcolm Gladwell, the author of the Tipping Point, wrote his famous Phone Book Test for Connectors:
250 last names … drawn randomly from a New York City phone … Gladwell writes:
Go down the list and give yourself a point every time you see a surname that is shared by someone you know. (The definition of “know” here is very broad. It is if you sat down next to that person on a train, you would know their name if they introduced themselves to you, and they would know your name.) Multiple names count. If the name is Johnson, in other words, and you know three Johnsons, you get three points. The idea is that your score on this test should roughly represent how social you are. It’s a simple way of estimating how many friends and acquaintances you have.
I tried the test myself and scored a 98 (see data below for a full breakdown). Though 98 would represent one of the most connected people Gladwell ever met, I assure you I am not that connected … one of the last names that Gladwell randomly selected was “Hoffman” — my last name.
Bailey 2 Bell 1 Butler 2 Cohen 4 Cook 3 Chen 5 Chung 1 Diaz 1 Duncan 4 Daly 1 Ellis 3 Friendman 5 Gruber 1 Garcia 1 Gilbert 2 Hawkins 3 Henderson 2 Hoffman 12 Jacobs 1 Johnson 10 Kahn 2 Lin 3 Liu 1 Levine 2 Michaels 1 Marin 1 Murphy 1 Mendoza 1 Perkins 3 Rader 1 Ray 1 Ritter 1 Rose 1 Rosenfeld 2 Roberts 1 Shapiro 1 Spencer 1 Stewart 3 Weinstein 1 Wang 5 Weed 1