What is the secret to a
stable marriage? How many gay people are still in the closet? Do we truly live
in a post-racial society? Has Twitter made us dumber? These are just a few of
the questions Christian Rudder answers in Dataclysm, a smart, funny, irreverent look at how we act when we
think no one’s looking.
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
can quantify the formerly unquantifiable and show with unprecedented precision
how we fight, how we age, how we love, and how we change. Our personal data has
been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Rudder uses it to show us who we are as people.
He reveals how Facebook “likes”
can predict, with surprising accuracy, a person’s sexual orientation and even
intelligence; how attractive women receive exponentially more job interview
requests; and why you have to 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 tracks human migration in real 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.
Provocative and illuminating Dataclysm is a portrait
of our essential selves—and a first look at a revolution in the making. Download and start listening now!