Book Review: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s Everybody Lies

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really AreEverybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t think that big data in itself is fascinating, but with the right use of it, and the right questions, and smart people like Seth Stevens-Davidowitz, the results are fascinating. So, Everybody Lies is chock-full of interesting insights on human behaviour and the world we live in, and will keep you with enough anecdotes for dinner parties for the rest of your life (though I suspect big data would tell us that few people are having dinner parties anymore).

The narrative voice is familiar but engaging: it’s accessible, friendly and cajoling, your geeky friend with the latest and greatest stories. I found it a good read, except that the author kept going back, again and again, not to what I’ve said above, that the results are fascinating, but to telling us Big Data is important and useful, and I found that repeated message unnecessary and boring.

But whether about the sexual desires and quirks of women and men around the world, the way that loyalty to sporting teams or political parties may be formed, and how sadly widespread racism is in the USA, I found this book a useful and worthwhile read.

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