Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)
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A New York Times Bestseller
An audacious, irreverent investigation of human behavior—and a first look at a revolution in the making
Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder uses it to show us who we truly are.
For centuries, we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to study human behavior. Today, a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers, and without filters. Data scientists have become the new demographers.
In this daring and original book, Rudder explains how Facebook "likes" can predict, with surprising accuracy, a person’s sexual orientation and even intelligence; how attractive women receive exponentially more interview requests; and why you must have haters to be hot. He charts the rise and fall of America’s most reviled word through Google Search and examines the new dynamics of collaborative rage on Twitter. He shows how people express themselves, both privately and publicly. What is the least Asian thing you can say? Do people bathe more in Vermont or New Jersey? What do black women think about Simon & Garfunkel? (Hint: they don’t think about Simon & Garfunkel.) Rudder also traces human migration over time, showing how groups of people move from certain small towns to the same big cities across the globe. And he grapples with the challenge of maintaining privacy in a world where these explorations are possible.
Visually arresting and full of wit and insight, Dataclysm is a new way of seeing ourselves—a brilliant alchemy, in which math is made human and numbers become the narrative of our time.
From the Hardcover edition.
Excellent read and summary of data
Rudder does a magnificient job of parsing a tremendous amount of data from a great source. Anyone who has used OKCupid will be able to confirm his conclusions quickly. It’s as if we “know” intuitively what he finds in the data. I’ve read his blog on OKCupid for a number of years, and his analysis and info is spot on.
Just read the website.
All of the interesting stats are already on the OkCupid blog. Most of the book is preachy, making accusations of racism against pretty much everyone. The author is careful not to miss an opportunity to remind the reader that his wife is Indian, so he's exempt from this critique. The main takeaway is that if you're attracted to white people, you're morally inferior to the author and you should feel bad, no matter what race you are.
If you're looking for a social commentary with conclusion-jumping and moral crusades, this is it, I guess. If you want more of what was on their blog, like lots of fun and thought-provoking statistics, look elsewhere.
It’s a smug little commentary on other folk’s racism. The author’s opinions way overshadow the data. Young Mr. Rudder, a son of the South, prattles on, trying to demonstrate to readers, that his Alabama birth and bias have been washed away by a Harvard degree.
Note to myself: Do not order books recommended on the PBS Evening News.