Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz


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An Economist Best Book of the Year

A PBS NewsHour Book of the Year

An Entrepeneur Top Business Book

An Amazon Best Book of the Year in Business and Leadership

New York Times Bestseller

Foreword by Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of our Nature

Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world—provided we ask the right questions.

By the end of an average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information—unprecedented in history—can tell us a great deal about who we are—the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable.

Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives and who’s more self-conscious about sex, men or women?

Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential—revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we’re afraid to ask that might be essential to our health—both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062390868
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/20/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 137,741
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times, a lecturer at The Wharton School, and a former Google data scientist. He received a BA from Stanford and a PhD from Harvard. His research has appeared in the Journal of Public Economics and other prestigious publications. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Foreword Steven Pinker xi

Introduction: The Outlines of a Revolution 1

Part I Data, Big and Small

1 Your Faulty Gut 25

Part II The Powers of Big Data

2 Was Freud Right? 45

3 Data Reimagined 55

Bodies as Data 62

Words as Data 74

Pictures as Data 97

4 Digital Truth Serum 105

The Truth About Sex 112

The Truth About Hate and Prejudice 128

The Truth About the Internet 140

The Truth About Child Abuse and Abortion 145

The Truth About Your Facebook Friends 150

The Truth About Your Customers 153

Can We Handle the Truth? 158

5 Zooming In 165

What's Really Going On in Our Counties, Cities, and Towns? 172

How We Fill Our Minutes and Hours 190

Our Doppelgangers 197

Data Stories 205

6 All the World's a Lab 207

The ABCs of A/B Testing 209

Nature's Cruel-but Enlightening-Experiments 221

Part III Big Data: Handle with Care

7 Big Data, Big Schmata? What It Cannot Do 243

The Curse of Dimensionality 246

The Overemphasis on What Is Measurable 252

8 Mo Data, Mo Problems? What We Shouldn't Do 257

The Danger of Empowered Corporations 257

The Danger of Empowered Governments 266

Conclusion: How Many People Finish Books? 271

Acknowledgments 285

Notes 289

Index 319

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