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Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) [Audiobook, Ungekürzte Ausgabe] [Englisch] [Audio CD]

Christian Rudder , Kaleo Griffith

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Dieser Artikel erscheint am 9. September 2014.
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9. September 2014
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.

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"Studying human behavior is a little like exploring a jungle: it's messy, hard, and easy to lose your way. But Christian Rudder is a consummate guide, revealing essential truths about who we are. Big Data has never been so fun."
—Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational
"Dataclysm is a book full of juicy secrets—secrets about who we love, what we crave, why we like, and how we change each other’s minds and lives, often without even knowing it. Christian Rudder makes this mathematical narrative of our culture fun to read and even more fun to discuss: You will find yourself sharing these intriguing data-driven revelations with everyone you know."
—Jane McGonigal, author of Reality Is Broken
"In the first few pages of Dataclysm, Christian Rudder uses massive amounts of actual behavioral data to prove what I always believed in my heart: Belle and Sebastian is the whitest band ever. It only gets better from there."
—Aziz Ansari

"It’s unheard of for a book about Big Data to read like a guilty pleasure, but Dataclysm does. It’s a fascinating, almost voyeuristic look at who we really are and what we really want."
—Steven Strogatz, Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, author of The Joy of x

"Smart, revealing, and sometimes sobering, Dataclysm affirms what we probably suspected in our darker moments: When it comes to romance, what we say we want isn't what will actually make us happy. Christian Rudder has tapped the tremendous wealth of data that the Internet offers to tease out thoughts on topics like beauty and race that most of us wouldn’t cop to publicly. It's a riveting read, and Rudder is an affable and humane guide."
—Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

"Christian Rudder has written a funny and profound book about important issues. Race, love, sex—you name it. Are we the sum of the data we produce? Read this book immediately and see if you can answer the question."
—Errol Morris

"Big Data can be like a 3D movie without 3D glasses—you know there's a lot going on but you're mainly just disoriented. We should feel fortunate to have an interpreter as skilled (and funny) as Christian Rudder. Dataclysm is filled with insights that boil down Big Data into byte-sized revelations."
—Michael Norton, Harvard Business School, coauthor of Happy Money

"With a zest for both the profound and the wacky, Rudder demonstrates how the information we provide individually tells a vast deal about who we are collectively. A visually engaging read and a fascinating topic make this a great choice not just for followers of Nate Silver and fans of infographics, but for just about anyone who, by participating in online activity, has contributed to the data set."
—Library Journal

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 Reviews

From the Hardcover edition.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

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.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.2 von 5 Sternen  12 Rezensionen
18 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen This is going to be a very popular book. 29. Juli 2014
Von Gavin Scott - Veröffentlicht auf
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This book may be to Data Science and Big Data what Freakonomics was to Economics.

The author is one of the founders of the dating web site OKCupid and has spent a lot of time sifting through the vast amount of data collected by user interactions with their website and each other, and he uses this wealth of personal and private information to explore what it can tell us about human social behavior.

The writing is excellent and it is a very fun read (I was hooked by the second page of the introduction, finished it in a couple sittings, and was never bored).

There's lots of information in this book that will make you think, and a lot worth talking about more. I think it's at its best in the first part where the theme is "things that bring us together" and he talks about statistics relating to how people find each other on his dating site. In the second part of the book "what pulls us apart" he deals with issues like race and what his data shows about the prevalence of racism in American society, as well as the internet's capacity for rage. The last part of the book "what makes us who we are" continues with the relationships theme as he investigates a few more racial as well as gay and bi-sexual issues before covering a few miscellaneous topics like comparing the kind of uses of this data he makes and his vision of using it for good compared to things like marketing and government spying.

People who consider themselves Data Scientists may be bothered by the fact that he does not go into much formal detail and actually few of his analyses require any fancy math or a PhD in anything.

It's a book that I can strongly recommend to anyone, both as a fascinating look into human behavior as well as an introduction to the sort of things that web sites are doing with all that data they collect on you, and as inspiration for those who aspire to the new discipline of Data Science, both in terms of the sort of things you can accomplish as well as some of the moral and ethical issues involved.

Probably the most interesting and thought-provoking book I've read in a long time.

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Some Interesting Snippets of Data 18. August 2014
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The author implies that this book presents data which will change the way we see ourselves. Not true. Instead, what we have here are snippets of often interesting but, for the most part, unrelated bits of data sourced variously and without mention of method.

There are two issues with the data itself. It's not cohesive. That is, the author doesn't drive toward a point or perform research. Instead he samples this or that he apparently either finds interesting himself or he thinks the readers will enjoy absorbing. Some of the data is worth thinking about or discussing around the water cooler tomorrow at work. The other issue is the interpretation the author puts on the data or the lack of it or something or other.

A good deal of the data is taken from the dating site, which the author started along with two others. Any person who's taken Statistics 101 can tell you that this sample has a few issues from self-section to it not representing humanity as a whole. For example, you can be well assured that no happily married folks had anything to do with these data sets. Aren't happily married people part of `humanity'?

The second issue starts with the author seeming to make a good deal out of nothing. In one chart with frequency of words used to describe oneself cross tabbed with race, he finds Hispanic males rarely describe themselves as having a southern accent, having blue eyes or being a redneck. I believe the author's data here, but did I need to see this chart to know these things?

In another chart, how men rate women's looks is cross tabbed by women's race. The chart shows that black women are, and are by far, rated as less good looking than Asian, Latina or white women. So what do we take from that? Well, I can think of several things other than maybe your first blush thought.

Maybe good looking black women are so popular that they don't need to go to to find their dates. Maybe black women take crummy photos of themselves. Maybe the nature of OKCupid shows black women's thumbnail pictures up poorly. I can go on. Here, again, I believe the author's data but I don't see the reason it was published.

The final part of the book is a well-considered and well expressed diatribe against the war on privacy being waged by several entities and abetted by your behavior online. Your behavior with your cell phone, OnStar equipped car and debit card are also contributors among other things. While the author laments this loss of privacy as if it's a future event, I have news for you: that ship has sailed.

Aside from some amazingly poorly worded personal musings, the expositional writing acceptable if not elegant. Overall worth a read but not a breakthrough of any sort.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Big Data Yields Small Insights 6. August 2014
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Christian Rudder, one of the founders of the dating service OkCupid and a Harvard trained mathematician, offers us insights from some really big social media data bases. Using analytic techniques to look at overall trends, rather than predictions about individuals, he demonstrates an ethical way to use all of the data that is collected on people who do Google searches, use dating sites, tweet on Twitter, and "friend" people on Facebook.

The results are not always dramatic or interesting, but it is amazing how much can be determined from the on-line behavior of millions of people. He offers, for example, a very credible estimate of the percentage of the population that is gay. He also has an interesting analysis of how people reacted when it became clear that Obama was going to be our first black president.

The only reason I did not give this book five stars is due to the author's tendency to throw in unnecessary profanity and sarcastic comments. I think he intended these to be humorous, in at least some cases, but I found them distracting interruptions in the flow of an otherwise fine book.

Rudder has a number of really wonderful graphs in the book, showing the trends in the data sets. These are inspired by the work of Edward Tufte - see The Visual Display of Quantitative Information for example - and he could not have chosen a better role model. One of the most interesting parts of the book, to this geeky reader, was his final Note on Data which should be the standard that all researchers in this type of analysis.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Lots of interesting facts and trivia to tickle your brain 10. August 2014
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I learned a lot of great trivia from this book. For example, people don't write any more poorly on twitter than they do in any other medium. They even use longer words, and present language as meaningful as your average news magazine article. It's a very interesting read for anyone interested in psychology, sociology, online interactions, or a variety of other related fields.

The big caveat, though, is that the author definitely thinks highly of his own intellect and skills. Whether he's brilliant or just arrogant, i can't really say. I don't know the guy. Maybe he's actually quite modest, but somehow in the one-to-many communication of a book, he just comes off sounding puffed up. Related to this, while he promises us that he's not writing this book to try to lure us into joining his dating site, a lot of the context for his data ends up sounding like a covert ad for the site.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Big Data Nicely Presented, but Probably Much As You Would Have Guessed. 25. August 2014
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Christian Rudder -mathematician, co-founder of OkCupid, blogger at OkTrends- brings us "Dataclysm", a look at some basic sociological phenomena by way of the big data provided by pervasive social media and search web sites. The internet presents "an unprecedented sociological opportunity", in Rudder's words, to view human behavior and attitudes, not through small-scale surveys as in the past, but through large-scale interactions. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reddit, and dating sites such as OkCupid allow us to see what people do, en masse, not just what they say they do, and to see the disparity between those things. That's pretty exciting to a data junkie, and Rudder hopes that we will be as fascinated by the implications as he clearly is.

There are three parts: "What Brings Us Together", "What Keeps Us Apart", and "What Makes Us Who We Are." Each part comprises four or five chapters. The focus is, broadly, on sex, race, and identity. Sex in the sense of gender, dating, and sexual preferences. Identity both in the sense of self-image and the image that others perceive, i.e. branding. The book's design is impressive. Its 90 Edward Tufte-inspired graphic representations of data in black, white, and red are a highlight. The sexual data sets are from OkCupid and several other dating sites. Data from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Reddit are represented in other chapters. Usually, each topic draws on a separate data set. Data from users over age 50 are omitted, as older Americans are less-represented on the internet.

It's interesting, and Rudder introduced me to a few concepts in analyzing social data of which I had previously been unaware. He tends to wax philosophical about the data in Part One before getting downright ideological in Parts Two and Three. For someone who claims to be "skeptical of the language of the academic left", he embraces its social ideologies with abandon. His tendency to find hidden social problems in trivial behavior, and the subsequent hand-wringing, are annoying after a while. Apparently, Black people get significantly fewer first messages and replies on dating sites than other races. Does personal taste in companionship really constitute racism? Aren't people simply looking for compatibility? He sometimes draws conclusions that are not supported by the data.

Rudder's terminology in early chapters seems to be a source of confusion. In speaking about what women men are most attracted to and vice versa, Rudder uses words like "attractive" and people "who look best". At first glance, it looks like he is referring to physical attractiveness. He isn't. He's talking about what people other people view, message, or date on dating sites, which encompasses many other factors beyond physical appearance, compatibility chief among them. Rudder discusses physical attractiveness specifically later on. But his choice of words is confusing. He should have referred to the recipients of others' attention as "appealing", "men who appeal to women", etc., so as not to confuse that broader quality with simply being pretty.

At this point, you may wonder why I have given "Dataclysm" a favorable rating. The graphics are great. The data are interesting enough, and I am happy to have them. On the downside, the author is too ideological, he injects himself into the text too much for my taste, and the upshots of all this big data are what I, and probably you, would expect. People think and behave as I thought they did. There are no revelations. I didn't need such a large sample to draw accurate conclusions. But maybe that's beside the point. The large samples offer large evidence, if not proof, of social phenomena, though I don't think it is necessary to construe everything as a problem. 3.5 stars.
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