Everybody Lies

Everybody Lies

eBook - 2017
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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.

Publisher: Dey Street Books,, 2017
ISBN: 9780062390875
0062390872
Call Number: EBOOK AXIS 360
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360

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shayshortt
Jul 13, 2017

I picked up this book to get the interesting facts that Stephens-Davidowitz learned from his analyses of this revealing dataset. That said, there is also plenty of basic introduction to data collection and research methodology, which might be a bit tedious for anyone who is already familiar with this material. However, I appreciated the attention to basics when it came to statistical analysis, an area where I don’t have the same background knowledge or experience. The author also spends a good bit of time trying to convince skeptics on one side that big data is useful, and on the other side, warning evangelists of the limitations. A big dataset can actually be an encumbrance if you don’t know what questions to ask of it. However, I sometimes took issue with the way the author tried to present information in an accessible way. Comparing a large dataset to your Grandma’s lifetime of collected wisdom is more harmful than helpful because only one of those things is based on verifiable numbers rather than impressions.

Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2017/07/13/everybody-lies/

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blueroo276
Jul 07, 2017

Interesting, though it tends toward the sensational. I'm also skeptical about generalizing about sexuality based on internet porn site data.

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JLMason
Jul 02, 2017

The information about human thoughts and behaviour revealed in this book is fascinating. Equally fascinating is the methodology used to gather the information, primarily millions of anonymized Google searches analyzed by geography, by frequency, by time, by choices. These are deemed to reveal "true thoughts” through real action vs what people tell you in person or in surveys. Common held views about human behaviour and even our intuition about what motivates people are proving wrong. One example: the change in on-line searches during and following two different President Obama speeches appealing for tolerance after a terrorist attack in the U.S. As with any new technology the ramifications can be both positive and negative. Finding “doppelgängers” - people who are statistically similar to you - could provide life-saving medical information or the means to manipulate you. The opportunities for social sciences - economics, sociology, and psychology - are significant; no longer will a small sample of paid students provide supposedly meaningful information about human behaviour through controlled experiments. Analysis of data for causal connections (e.g. socio-economic backgrounds of NBA players) also has power. But does Big Data like Google searches really reveal true human behaviour? Maybe sometimes. I think more work needs to be done on this point.

LPL_MeredithW Apr 01, 2017

I'm very torn about this book. On the one hand, it's an accessible and engaging introduction to the uses of big data. On the other hand, I suspect that the vast majority of people who want to read a book about the uses of big data want something that goes deeper than an accessible introduction; that, along with the author's somewhat bro-ish tone, was my main frustration. But if you're hoping for an easily digestible look at a potentially confusing topic, "Everybody Lies" could be a solid match for you!

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shayshortt
Jul 13, 2017

Big data has been much hyped as the next big thing in science, but Everybody Lies sets out to show what can be done with big data that wasn’t possible before, while also acknowledging its shortcomings, and the ways it can be complemented by traditional small data collection techniques. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz makes the argument that the Google dataset he has been working with is particularly valuable, because unlike even anonymous surveys, users have an incentive to be honest, and little or no sense of wanting to impress anyone. To get the information they want from Google, they must query honestly about even the most taboo subjects, from sex to race to medical problems. Facebook, for example, is not nearly as useful, because people are consciously presenting a certain version of themselves to their friends. But if you want Google to bring you back the “best racist jokes,” you have to tell it so. You can’t hide, and still get what you want. The result is a partial but unprecedented glimpse into the human mind.

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shayshortt
Jul 13, 2017

There was a darkness and hatred that was hidden from the traditional sources but was quite apparent in the searches people made.

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