Book Review: Everybody Lies

25 Jul

everybodyliesEverybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
By: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Publisher: HapperCollins Books
Copyright: 2017

We are wired. And information on everything from our location to our friends and acquaintances can be found online.  We also do surveys, health studies, and other programs.  All of this information can be combined, synthesized, analyzed and reviewed.  What can we learn from Big Data?  We learn that Walmart knows that when a hurricane is predicted, people buy strawberry pop-tarts.  We learn that the chances of a person with poor parents becoming rich not only matters on the country you are from (U.S. has an average close to half of Canada’s average), but what city in the U.S. you live in.  Research becomes so easy in some cases, that people start to overload on the research instead of thinking about the problem.

The book tells the story of various big data, highlighting the Google giant itself and the information you can glean.  But the book is not written as a research paper.  It is written in the first person with the author talking about himself a good bit.  In some ways, the writing is a little egocentric and just a tad too informal.  I did not need all the political side remarks to get the point of the book.  Further, someone who is offended by those side comments may not get the real point of the book: All of us are defined by our data, no matter what we tell ourselves or others.

Recommended: Grades 7 +



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