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Publisher's Summary

Every day, we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, flip channels, drive through automatic toll booths, shop with credit cards, and make cell-phone calls. Now, in one of the greatest undertakings of the 21st century, a savvy group of mathematicians and computer scientists is beginning to sift through this data to profile us as workers, shoppers, patients, voters, potential terrorists, even lovers. Their goal? To manipulate our behavior - what we buy, how we vote - without our even realizing it.In this tour de force of original reporting and analysis, journalist Stephen Baker provides us with a fascinating guide to the world we're all entering and the people controlling that world.
©2008 Stephen Baker; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Steve Baker puts his finger on perhaps the most important cultural trend today: the explosion of data about every aspect of our world and the rise of applied math gurus who know how to use it." (Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Wired magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Stephen on 02-02-09

Good but not the best of the genre

This is a book about the existence and contemporary use of data in todays world. The amount of data being gathered each moment is staggering. What is purchased, what people are searching for on google, where people are going, what they are reading etc. This has spawned the practice of using such data to make predictions of what is to happen - what we will be interested in, what we will but, where we will go etc. The people who do this analysis are called the numerati.

It is a very interesting read but there are two other books, Supercrunchers and the Drunkard's Walk that address this same phenomena in different and better ways. All three books demonstrate how this data is used and how one could take advantage of it.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Michael on 09-07-13

Big Data for Humans

The Numerati examines the bright side, the dark side, and most importantly the human side, of big data.

Having read Big Data, Super Crunchers, The Signal the Noise, Naked Statistics and The Numerati somewhat recently I liked The Numerati the best by a significant margin.

The author is not a supercruncher, which I think was a good thing. Baker keeps humanity always in scope while investigating the details of big data. Even though Baker is not a supercruncher, I found this the most technically interesting of the books, delving into multivariate vector spaces without getting bogged down in equations or just telling stories. Each time a bit of technical information was presented, how that technology would impact people was also thoughtfully considered. I also felt I learned more about the subject from The Numerati than all the other books combined.

Baker uses examples that are more realistic and representative than several of the other books on the subject. The narration is clear and good, adding emphases or emotion quite nicely, but for some reason the frequency range of the reader’s voice grated on me at first and took some getting used to but after a few hours it was fine.

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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