Dataclysm by Christian Rudder
Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)

80%

14 Critic Reviews

Demographers, entrepreneurs, students of history and sociology, and ordinary citizens alike will find plenty of provocations and, yes, much data in Rudder’s well-argued, revealing pages.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A New York Times Bestseller

An audacious, irreverent investigation of human behavior—and a first look at a revolution in the making
 
Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder uses it to show us who we truly are.
 
For centuries, we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to study human behavior. Today, a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers, and without filters. Data scientists have become the new demographers.
 
In this daring and original book, Rudder explains how Facebook "likes" can predict, with surprising accuracy, a person’s sexual orientation and even intelligence; how attractive women receive exponentially more interview requests; and why you must have haters to be hot. He charts the rise and fall of America’s most reviled word through Google Search and examines the new dynamics of collaborative rage on Twitter. He shows how people express themselves, both privately and publicly. What is the least Asian thing you can say? Do people bathe more in Vermont or New Jersey? What do black women think about Simon & Garfunkel? (Hint: they don’t think about Simon & Garfunkel.) Rudder also traces human migration over time, showing how groups of people move from certain small towns to the same big cities across the globe. And he grapples with the challenge of maintaining privacy in a world where these explorations are possible.
 
Visually arresting and full of wit and insight, Dataclysm is a new way of seeing ourselves—a brilliant alchemy, in which math is made human and numbers become the narrative of our time.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Christian Rudder

See more books from this Author
Christian Rudder is cofounder and president of OkCupid and the author of the popular blog OkTrends. He graduated from Harvard in 1998 with a degree in math and later served as creative director for SparkNotes. He has appeared on NBC’s Dateline and NPR’s All Things Considered and his work has been written about in the New York Times and the The New Yorker, among other places. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.
 
Published September 9, 2014 by Crown. 304 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Computers & Technology, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 28 2014
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Dataclysm
All: 14 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Jul 27 2014

Demographers, entrepreneurs, students of history and sociology, and ordinary citizens alike will find plenty of provocations and, yes, much data in Rudder’s well-argued, revealing pages.

Read Full Review of Dataclysm: Who We Are (When W... | See more reviews from Kirkus

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by JANE STEWART ADAMS on Oct 03 2014

Interestingly, many questions addressed in the book didn’t require such experimentation to answer. The answers were already in the data; for better or worse, it was just a matter of looking.

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Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Sarah Mishkin on Oct 03 2014

At a time when consumers are increasingly wary of online tracking, Rudder makes a powerful argument in Dataclysm that the ability to tell so much about us from the trails we leave is as potentially useful as it is pernicious, and as educational as it may be unsettling.

Read Full Review of Dataclysm: Who We Are (When W... | See more reviews from Financial Times

Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Harris on Sep 19 2014

His book delivers both insider access and a savvy critique of the very machinery he is employed by. Since he’s been in the data mines and has risen above them, Rudder becomes a singular and trustworthy guide.

Read Full Review of Dataclysm: Who We Are (When W... | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Phil Simon on Sep 13 2014

This is the best book that I've read on data in years, perhaps ever. If you want to understand how data is affecting the present and what it portends for the future, buy it now.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Good
Reviewed by Chris Potter on Oct 26 2014

...“Dataclysm” reminds us that our relationship with social media, for all its charms, is a blind date — with someone who already knows everything about us.

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Persephone Magazine

Good
Reviewed by Liza on Sep 10 2014

...this book was fascinating and really pleasant to read. Beyond my own nerdy and intellectual interest in the subject of social media use and data, this is a must-read for anyone who wants a look at the habits of online dating site users and those with concerns for Internet privacy.

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Business Day Live

Above average
Reviewed by Sarah Mishkin on Oct 07 2014

Some of Rudder’s insights are disturbing. He can tell you, for example, that although 84% of OkCupid users polled in one survey said racism was a deal breaker in any relationship, men on the site find women of their own race more attractive...

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Biographile

Above average
on Sep 10 2014

...Dataclysm offers the unusual perspective of a man who is neither user nor detractor, but a data-based storyteller.

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Lesa's Book Critiques

Above average
Reviewed by Lesa on Sep 08 2014

The cofounder and president of OKCupid, has gathered data from that site and other sites, analyzed it, and compiled it into a fascinating book that examines what we share on social media.

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http://skrishnasbooks.com

Good
Reviewed by Swapna Krishna on Sep 10 2014

Though you need to be mentally engaged, it’s actually an easy read and you’ll certainly be riveted by what you discover.

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Sarah Says Read

Good
Reviewed by Sarah on Nov 30 2014

While the idea of data is still kind of scary – businesses and the government have access to it all – this book left me a bit more hopeful. I’ve always liked data (it’s why I log my own reading habits), seeing the ways in which passive data can shine a light on heavily debated or taboo subjects was really exciting.

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Beth Kephart's Books

Good
Reviewed by Beth Kephart on Sep 13 2014

Rudder isn't just smart, insightful, and data-possessed. He proves himself to be a charming, engaging writer, even as he fills his book with red and black scattergrams, word charts, and x/y axes.

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https://timsbooknook.wordpress.com

Good
on Nov 15 2014

Even if it’s not a balanced database, the information he does discover is well worth knowing and understanding. It opens our eyes to the world around us that is outside of our little circle.

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Budd Bailey 23 Sep 2014

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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