Everybody Lies
Everybody Lies Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are By Stephens-Davidowitz, Seth eBook - 2017

The ancient Romans had a saying about a mountain giving birth to a mouse. I thought of this as I listened to the audiobook of Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are.” Stephens-Davidowitz makes great claims for the valuable insights that can be gleamed from the enormous data contained in digital sources such as Google searches and social media postings. Alas, his own insights thus gleamed lean toward the underwhelming. To give just one example, he goes to great lengths to finally answer the vexing question of whether professional basketball players tend to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. (Spoiler: they don’t.) His conclusions are meaningful, no doubt, but not comparable, say, to the germ theory of disease. Still, his book is always interesting in a “Freakonomics” sort of way, and well worth the reader’s time.

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