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Extended Audio Sample The Numerati Audiobook, by Stephen Baker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (756 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Baker Narrator: Paul Michael Garcia Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2008 ISBN: 9781455191284
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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 twenty-first century, a savvy group of mathematicians and computer scientists is beginning to sift through this data to dissect us and map out our next steps. 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 to the people controlling that world. The Numerati have infiltrated every realm of human affairs, profiling us as workers, shoppers, patients, voters, potential terrorists—even lovers. The implications are vast. Our privacy evaporates. Our bosses can monitor and measure our every move—then reward or punish us. Politicians can find the swing voters among us. It can sound scary. But the Numerati can also work on our behalf, diagnosing an illness before we’re aware of the symptoms or even helping us find our soul mate. Surprising, enlightening, and deeply relevant, The Numerati shows how a powerful new endeavor—the mathematical modeling of humanity—will transform every aspect of our lives.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Captivating…An intriguing but disquieting look at a not too distant future when our thoughts will remain private, but computers will disclose our tastes, opinions, habits and quirks to curious parties, not all of whom have our best interests at heart.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Fascinating…Narrator Paul Michael Garcia taps into the harsh realities of Baker’s vision in his reading, speaking in a firm and candid voice that relates the material in a straightforward yet ominous tone. The way Garcia uses his voice to connect with his listeners makes the material all the more believable—and frightening.”

    AudioFile

  • “Baker effectively intertwines stories, insights from interviews, and research into an easy-to-read and enjoyable book…highly recommended for general readers with an appreciation for contemporary cultural phenomenon.”

    Library Journal

  • “A fascinating outing of the hidden yet exploding world of digital surveillance…Read and resist.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • The Numerati by BusinessWeek writer Stephen Baker will be an eye-opening read for even the techiest among us. A BookPage Notable Book.”

    BookPage

  • “[A] very accessible analysis, The Numerati [is] narrated with smooth, understated understanding by Paul Michael Garcia...fascinating and a bit scary, but intelligence from the edge of the cutting edge we all need.”

    BookPage

  • A BookPage Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard | 2/18/2014

    " I was hoping that this was going to be more of a popular science survey of the present and future of quantitative analysis. It turned out to be directed at business people. The featured researchers were entrepreneurs and not academics, which means their research was glowingly presented with no citations. It is also a book that has 60 pages of good, interesting content, but it's impossible to sell a book with less than 175 pages, so it's filled out with fluff, speculation and introspection. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mariama | 2/13/2014

    " Quick read -- was expecting more insight and more depth. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 manni | 1/28/2014

    " decent facts, interesting angle, but showy and florid. journalism drips off each obnoxious word. if you think of it as a very long spread in time magazine, it'll work better for you. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Words Deeds | 1/28/2014

    " Lots of interesting material if you don't work in the field. Fascinating, but without that much depth. But Baker writes in the fashion of Gladwell, meaning each chapter is a snippet on a variety of different topics with a central underlying theme. Some are more valuable than others but it presents a good case for the value of data, which will only increase as we grow better models to analyze and account for the proliferation of data in the Internet world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jay | 1/21/2014

    " Nice overview of the commercial use of math, stats, operations research, etc., as well as measurement and monitoring capabilities. The author took some effort to make things interesting to a broad audience, but made it a bit too pop-science-y for my liking. A lot like an extended article from Wired magazine. Nice overview, though I think enough material exists to dedicate an entire book to a couple of the subjects, like politics and healthcare. I would have preferred more detail on one or two of the subjects. I listened to this on audio, and I enjoyed the narration. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin Farrell | 1/17/2014

    " Stephen Baker uses the term Numerati to describe those people who analyze our numbers. There people and companies who do nothing more than examine mouse clicks, emails, cell phone calls, credit card use, etc to make predictions about our behavior. Especially our buying behavior. He gets behind the scenes and interviews the Numerati who explain what they do and how they do it. Interesting topic, but a slow read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy | 1/14/2014

    " Privacy...going, going, gone! You be the judge as to whether or not we should be alarmed about the new age of the Numerati. I won't lie, this book is dense and some parts are certainly more interesting than others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Em | 12/16/2013

    " A scary look at our future with computers/numbers... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John Fredrickson | 2/11/2012

    " This book was somewhat disappointing. It feels like we explore the same idea through multiple contexts (politics, health care, shopping), but I ended up wanting more, and was frustrated with the repetition. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aerial | 11/16/2011

    " This book was a nice interpretation from a historian's point of view on modern day information and data analysis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter Kyhn | 10/27/2011

    " They're doing what with my keystroke data!? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Luciano Palma | 9/4/2011

    " What's more complex to understand? Human behavior or maths? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kyla | 9/1/2011

    " Overview best suited perhaps to magazine-style reporting - lots of interesting and disturbing tidbits but doesn't hang together as a book per se. Old hat to those who think about data on a regular basis but could be eye-opening to others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kris | 4/22/2011

    " Confirms paranoid expectations, kind of weak wrap up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 April | 4/1/2011

    " i got bored in some parts, defintiely one you can skim for interesting bits. i enjoyed the chapters on shoppers and voters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mattie | 3/13/2011

    " Interesting. And kind of scary. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 2/18/2011

    " Although, I still appreciate the subject I had to drag myself through this book. Almost all details became drudgery instead of interesting or enlightening. I'm sorry I didn't speed ahead to the more exciting conclusion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maura | 2/18/2011

    " Nothing earth-shattering here regarding how our data is collected and used, but it did make a career in such analysis seem more appealing. Also, it made me wonder when/if I'd start getting more penalized as a consumer for being thrifty. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Josh | 1/8/2011

    " Had me early until it got into 9/11 and terrorism. Then it became bland and predictable. Stopped about half way through. The first 1/4 of the book was pretty interesting though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 12/17/2010

    " This book was a little hard to get into, but I am fascintaed with Data Mining and some of the research that they are doing is really fascinating. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeff | 10/20/2010

    " A book about those folks who do data mining and figure out patterns from data, sort of like how Netflix and Amazon and those zillion doubleclick cookies work. An interesting read, although not much of anything new for me, who was already familiar with a lot of it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jscorse | 7/30/2010

    " A good introduction for the lay person but I was looking for something a little more sophisticated. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ken | 6/14/2010

    " Not as good as Supercrunchers, of the same topic, but I liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 TheRealMelbelle | 5/27/2010

    " Helpful information about how to manage personal info in the digital world. Good NPR interview made me want to read this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Antonio | 5/7/2010

    " Baker's book is breathtaking. He unveils the intricacies of data mining and social analysis through patterns in a very cleaver way. Human patterns in several aspects, from shopping to voting, may be studied and, in some cases, externally influenced. "

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About the Author
Author Stephen Baker

Stephan Baker has written for many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Philadelphia Inquirer. He won an Overseas Press Club Award for his portrait of the rising Mexican auto industry. He is the coauthor of Blogspotting.net, featured as one of fifty blogs to watch by the New York Times.

About the Narrator

Paul Michael Garcia, an AudioFile Earphones Award winner and former company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, received his classical training in theater from Southern Oregon University, where he worked as an actor, director, and designer.