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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Be prepared for next semester and get set for back to school!

Foreword by Steven Pinker

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062390875
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/09/2017
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,483
File size: 5 MB

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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Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author tells you about biases and ignores his own which are glaring. He warns of association vs. cause effect and ignores it in his book. The author consistently makes leaps of faithh and ponders on ignorantly. The assignation of science to behavioralsociology is fallacial. I have critically reviewed scientific papers for decades, this author is intoxicated with big data collated from Google and what association he makes with said data is erroneous. He is obsessed with the differences his brother and he have regarding baseball of all things and often uses that as a similie. Horrid treatise, I say and I finished every word, much to his prediction's error.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First of all, I finished the book (last chapter explains). I have always loved research to find out about people. This book shows how this is changing and will change dramatically. Great insight about “why are all these companies tracking me” and how Google has changed us more than you think.
mantramoon 6 months ago
If you'd like to know the difference between what people say they do and what they really do, read this book. The author makes use of the exploding field of internet data to ferret out the truth about a wide range of subjects. If you liked Freakonomics, check this book out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Outstanding. We lie to our friends, our family, the IRS, everyone on Facebook, pollsters, the media, and on and on and on. But we don't lie to Google because it's anonymous and we want and expect to find the truth. The gap between those two realities, where the Google reality is how we really think but not what we say or admit to, is enormous. It's also an exceptionally insightful way of thinking about life - society, politics, relationships, family, and so on. Highest recommendation.
CaptainsQuarters More than 1 year ago
Ahoy there mateys! Back in the day, I read a book called Freaknomics which uses statistics to answer questions like “What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?” This book is the next generation’s dive into statistics. Some of the questions answered in this book include “What percentage of white voters didn’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black?” and “Do violent films affect the crime rate?” and some not so serious ones. This book delves into “big data” like Google search engine queries to explore the bigger questions about “economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more.” I loved it! The audiobook was fantastic even if I can’t recall any facts from this off the top of me noggin. It was thought-provoking and I would certainly listen to it again.
HerbSloan More than 1 year ago
Big Lies is one of the best books I've read in a while. Initially I was reluctant to read it because it seemed like a stats book. Look! I made it through one stats class and I never want to go through that again. Reading Big Lies isn't like the stats class you took. It is a pleasure to read. The author used the Google data searches and Google trends to analyze quite a bit of information and the results are fascinating. How many condoms for American men & women use in a year? The polls show a total usage of more than a billion and yet the total condom sales in the U.S. was approximately 500 million. Why did Clinton lose the 2016 presidential election? These are only 2 examples of the interesting topics in this book. Get a copy now and read it.
B-loNY More than 1 year ago