"Every decade, there are a handful of books that change the way you look at everything. This is one of those books. Society has begun to reckon the change that big data will bring. This book is an incredibly important start."
—Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and author of Remix and Free Culture
"This brilliant book cuts through the mystery and the hype surrounding big data.
A must-read for anyone in business, information technology, public policy, intelligence, and medicine. And anyone else who is just plain curious about the future."
—John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist, Xerox Corp., and head of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
"Big Data breaks new ground in identifying how today’s avalanche of information fundamentally shifts our basic understanding of the world. Argued boldly and written beautifully, the book clearly shows how companies can unlock value, how policymakers need to be on guard, and how everyone’s cognitive models need to change."
—Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab
"Big Data is a must-read for anyone who wants to stay ahead of one of the key trends defining the future of business."
—Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com
"An optimistic and practical look at the Big Data revolution — just the thing to get your head around the big changes already underway and the bigger changes to come."
—Cory Doctorow, boingboing.com
"Just as water is wet in a way that individual water molecules aren’t, big data can reveal information in a way that individual bits of data can’t. The authors show us the surprising ways that enormous, complex, and messy collections of data can be used to predict everything from shopping patterns to flu outbreaks."
—Clay Shirky, author of Cognitive Surplus and Here Comes Everybody
"The book teems with great insights on the new ways of harnessing information, and offers a convincing vision of the future. It is essential reading for anyone who uses — or is affected by — big data."
—Jeff Jonas, IBM Fellow & Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics
“What I’m certain about is that Big Data will be the defining text in the discussion for some time to come.”
“The authors make clear that ‘big data’ is much more than a Silicon Valley buzzword… No other book offers such an accessible and balanced tour of the many benefits and downsides of our continuing infatuation with data.”
—Wall Street Journal
"Plenty of books extol the technical marvels of our information society, but this is an original analysis of the information itself—trillions of searches, calls, clicks, queries and purchases....A fascinating, enthusiastic view of the possibilities of vast computer correlations and the entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of them."
—STARRED Kirkus Reviews
"This book offers important insights and information"
"'big data' [is] one of the buzzwords of corporate executives, tech-savvy politicians, and worried civil libertarians. If you want to know what they’re all talking about, then Big Data is the book for you, a comprehensive and entertaining introduction to a very large topic....Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier offer up some sensible suggestions on how we can have the blessings of big data and our freedoms, too. Just as well; their lively book leaves no doubt that big data’s growth spurt is just beginning."
Plenty of books extol the technical marvels of our information society, but this is an original analysis of the information itself--trillions of searches, calls, clicks, queries and purchases. Mayer-Schönberger (Internet Governance and Regulation/Oxford Univ.; Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, 2009) and Economist data editor Cukier begin with a jolt by pointing out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spends weeks evaluating reports from doctors and clinics before announcing a flu epidemic. In a 2009 study reported in the scientific journal Nature, Google engineers tracked certain Internet searches ("medicine for cough," "fever") and detected a rise in flu cases immediately. Formerly, faced with huge numbers, researchers could only examine a select sample: a slow, expensive process that led to errors if the sample wasn't properly chosen. The Google researchers examined everything--or close to everything: hundreds of millions of searches. This was a breakthrough. "Big data," the authors' term for our new ability to manipulate immense amounts of information, reveals not only more, but entirely new knowledge. Who knew that by evaluating her credit card purchases, retailers can calculate the odds that a woman is pregnant? The authors provide an exciting ride without neglecting the risks. Thirty-two surveillance cameras operate within 200 yards of the apartment where George Orwell wrote 1984. Data mining is so efficient that today's privacy protections are irrelevant. Once enough of your activities, however anonymous, are "datafied," a computer can identify you. A fascinating, enthusiastic view of the possibilities of vast computer correlations and the entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of them.