everybody lies by seth stephens-davidowitz

this was another piece of assigned reading for the data course, but unlike “the signal and the noise” it didn’t instill deep antipathy in me.

“everybody lies: what internet can tell us about who we really are” is a non-fiction about things a data scientist can do with information we all collectively fill internet with, aimed at wider audience. a terminally online person won’t find any shocking relevations from mr stephens-davidowitz, but i absolutely can see the usefulness for people less connected (the ones, who probably don’t have triple-digit number of logins saved in their password manager of choice).

parts i and ii are mostly a primer on statistics intersperced with amusing and/or alarming factoids about human nature. but it’s the part iii, titled “big data: handle with care”, that makes the book worthwhile of your attention. i liked how author concisely spelled out major problems of giving too much power to data-driven decisions.

like many books published after 2016, this one too shows the trauma of 2016 usa presidential election. i wish it didn’t, yet totally understand where it’s coming from.

if you are deep into the weeds of data science, this book will be redundant for you. if you are not, then give it a try. if anything, it will give you material for some small talk at the next social gathering (whenever that happens…)