Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match
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Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  885 ratings  ·  219 reviews
Forty million people date online each year. Most don’t find true love. Thanks to Data, a Love Story, their odds just got a whole lot better.

Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match is a lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman “gamed” the world of online dating—and met her eventual husband.
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published January 31st 2013 by Dutton
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Anna
Amy Webb delivers a poignant, honest portrayal of the modern search for love. I was quickly captured by her first person narrative that managed to engage (and not pander to) her audience in exploring her quest for her perfect match.

Her world of internet dating is as gruesome as the one I remember, but with spreadsheets in hand she decides to "game the system." Early in the book she dates widely, trying to meet her familial obligations as well as play the numbers. If I just date enough men, she...more
Jenne
Well, this was a very sweet story, but I don't think the author is taking her own advice that correlation does not equal causation.
She has a whole bunch of fun crunchy math stuff, like with equations and things, but I don't really see any evidence that her 'gaming' of online dating made much difference at all. It seemed to me she pretty much got lucky and fell in love with the first guy she went out with after she rewrote her profile.

Useful advice that exists in the book:
1) try to look hot in...more
Bethany Larson
I met my boyfriend online.

When people are skeptical or amazed by this (especially my friends who do date online and haven’t had much luck) I tell them that online dating is easy. The hard part is being completely honest about a) who you are, and b) what you want out of online dating.

So when I heard about Data, A Love Story I was immediately intrigued. Partly because I like funny lady memoirs, partly because I’m always into people who are smart enough to game things—especially Internety things, b...more
Jane
The biggest problem with this book is that the author comes off as very unlikeable. And for a memoir, there is remarkably little emotion throughout the whole book.

Look, I love a good spreadsheet as much as Amy Webb. And I get that this is about online dating and your search for Mr. Right. But when you toss in that your mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the midst of all this, not only does that make it really hard to sympathize with you trying to find a date who doesn't use "irregardle...more
Zoe Heimdal
Apr 16, 2013 Zoe Heimdal rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Zoe by: blog interview
This is a true story where the author chronicles her efforts to not just sit back and let love find her -- but instead, she actively works the online-dating system to find her PERFECT match. (A man who scores very high, on the scale of things that are important to her.)

On one hand it's pretty great... I love people who are active problem solvers. And she not only does that, but does so using extremely out-of-the-box thinking and creative handling of information/data. I could not help but be impr...more
Christina
Data, A Love Story is the brutally honest account of how to succeed in the dating world online.

Amy Webb had a panic attack trying on clothes in Banana Republic and her sister called the store to get the sales associate to help Amy pick out date-worthy clothes.

Amy Webb is right that a woman has to dumb down her profile and NOT lead with her accomplishments. I did this and all sorts of guys starting getting interested in me.

I read the book from the middle to the end and through the notes because I...more
Amanda
Frustrated by horrendous dates with men she met online, Webb decides to approach dating websites with a new strategy. She draws up an exhaustive list of exactly what she's looking for, ranks the qualities with numerical values, creates "tiers" (think "most important," "desirable," and "would be nice") and commits to not meeting anyone who doesn't score at least 750 out of 1500. But what's really brazen is how she creates several male profiles and masquerades as "Frank" and "Ben" in order to see...more
Helen
This book appealed to me because I like tales of adventures and misadventures in relationships by writers who have a sense of humor (miss you, Nora Ephron!) I read an excerpt of Amy Webb's book on Slate.com and loved her description of her date with a man she found out was married when his wife called during their date. That was enough to inspire me to read the book, which is part funny personal story replete with insecurities and part factual report/analysis of the history of dating web sites a...more
Indera Johnson
I couldn't put this book down! This is an engrossing story of one woman's quest for true love, but it's told in a very modern, geeky way. Compared to other books written for the chick-lit set, this one doesn't pander to the audience. Instead, it's smart and fresh. It's also brutally direct and honest. I can't think of many women willing to share such incredible details about their personal lives, and especially not in this way.

I'd argue that the main takeaways have less to do with how to date o...more
Hope
This book has everything-- quantitative research, data, love... I (literally) laughed and cried. This really was one if my favorite books.
Roz Warren
The Mary Poppins Guide to Husband Hunting! Roz Reviews “Data: A Love Story.”

Writer and data cruncher Amy Webb was fed up with dating the many Mr. Wrongs that eHarmony and JDate kept matching her with.

“You’re not casting a wide enough net,” her friends and family insisted.

But after one particularly abysmal date, Webb concluded that the real reason dating sites were sending her so many liars and losers was that she wasn‘t being picky enough.

So she sat down, drink in hand, and listed every sing...more
Amanda
A bad break-up and several horrific first (and last!) dates might have driven any other woman to her tiny dining room to partake of an entire pie alone. Not Amy Webb. Our intrepid heroine goes in for pie charts instead, and does for us what we have been heretofore unwilling to do for ourselves - she breaks down the system of dating into small, bite-sized and manageable pieces. The result of Webb's efforts are chronicled in Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating and Met My Match. Herein, W...more
Jess
Most of us have tried on-line dating. All of us have wanted to game the (clearly) flawed system. Amy Webb was one of the few dedicated enough to do it. After many unsuccessful dates, Webb logged in the site as a man to figure out who her competition was and what made that woman so appealing.

After extensive research, data collection, list making, and several spreadsheets, Webb figured out how to make a ‘super profile.’ She figured out key words, photo rules, and how to use just the right amount...more
Laura
I agree with these comments offered by another reviewer: "I realized I was feeling really, really bothered by this book. I think it goes deeper than frustration with her neuroticism and lack of social grace. It's that she has a genuine disregard for other people! ...the most duplicitous turns out to be Ms. Webb, who engages with 96 women on jdate who all believe her to be a man looking to date women. ... responding to messages of unknowing women was so...mean-spirited. Almost as mean-spirited as...more
Vicky
3.5 stars
I added this book to my to-read list after reading an excerpt on Slate when it came out. In that excerpt (which is still my favorite part of the book), Amy goes on yet another bad date set up through online dating. The guy seems perfect... until she finds out he's married. You see, apparently in 2005 JDate didn't have an option for separated, so he listed himself as single. Amy storms home, drinks an entire bottle of wine, and makes herself a "Mary Poppins list", a 72-point list describ...more
Lisa
Amy Webb's story, for all of her anal-retentive, control-freaky, color-coded spreadsheets is a pleasure to read. Her story of travel, work, family, and online dating resonates well as a plain fun narrative. The only place if falls short is the title's hint at a how-to. Since it took 8 years to bring to its audience, its how-to component is out of date. She acknowledges this in the last pages of the book, that interfaces and options have changed in online dating, so her precise technique isn't ne...more
Djinnjer
I liked this book, but I have one thing to say first: Three Hundred Dollar Haircut. What. The. Hell.

Ok, now that we have established that the heroine/author of the work and I lead very different lives, I want to revisit liking the book. Data, A Love Story has its moments of almost rom-com ridiculousness and cringe-inducing social awkwardness. But it's ultimately hopeful and - ridiculously expensive makeover aside - it provides some solid advice on how to use a dating site effectively. Actually,...more
Emma
Whip smart and fantastically funny, this book is the perfect gift for the intelligent women in your life trying to keep up high dating standards. As each of the author's dates get progressively worse and more comical, you have to stop and revel in the fact that each of these dates actually happened -- to a real person. Pick it up, you won't be able to put it down! And, you'll have the added benefit of feeling way smarter after reading the section on the math and algorithms behind online dating....more
Penny
A few good tips, but the narrator is so annoying and type-A, it really put me off. She admits she was "desperate" for a husband. There's plenty of fat shaming and encouraging people to dumb down their profiles to appeal to men. If someone needs a dumbed down version, I probably don't want to date them.
I guess I'm the wrong audience for this book, because I feel whole on my own, and don't feel that I NEED someone else to complete me.
Heather Weiner
I heard author on NPR talking about her system for meeting the perfect man online dating. It was an interesting book though her system seemed extreme...setting up 10 fake accounts as fake men to see what her competition was like.
Divya Rao
1. I can't knock unabashed, nerdy enthusiasm in any form. This book is fun, and interesting, and I can't help but respect how complete the author was about understanding the online dating situation.
2. She claims that people don't just use the word 'beshert' in everyday conversation, but I learned it because it came up in everyday conversation.
3. I never gained the comfort level with statistics that I wanted, and I don't think that "real" math is necessary in this sort of project, but I would h...more
Jennifer
Journalist-entrepreneur Amy Webb sets out to game online dating and find the perfect man by reverse engineering (OK maybe not perhaps so scientifically) her profile. As a veteran of online dating websites (and as someone the same age as Amy), I found a lot of truth in this book...she is so right about the whole thing. The big "a-ha" for me wasn't the fact that you need to market yourself to attract your target market (why didn't I read this book five years ago! duh) but the fact that Webb is rea...more
Nancy
It's really not a love story until the end. Ooops. I just ruined the ending. It's really the story of the author's transformation to fit herself into the online dating services while maintaining her sense of self and defining her mate's traits. I know that sounds boring but it really isn't. It starts out with a perfect relationship which turns out to not be so perfect and ends in heartbreak.

So Amy is 30, single, and wanting to be married and carry on the other part of her life plan. So she join...more
Erin
I finished this book a few days ago, and the more I think about it, the more I like it and the smarter I think Amy Webb is for looking at online dating (and probably regular dating, if you applied it to that) as an intentional act where the user sets out to get something (in this case a person) by applying logic, smarts, and skill. It sounds cold, but it's pretty brilliant. And she doesn't argue that love comes from a spreadsheet, but that's where she STARTS, and I swear I'm going to do a variat...more
michele
This book is a mixed bag. I really admire Amy Webb's conviction that she could figure out the system and that she could look at the prospect of finding her ideal guy through careful study of the system.

And, while I didn't find Amy a particularly sympathetic character at many turns, I did find her desire to find a man who would be a good fit with her family and the heavy weight of watching her mother die compelling.

As someone using these online services, the book was somewhat disappointing. Web...more
Christina Buckman
At best, this book is entertaining at times. No matter how much math you put toward your online profile, it's still the luck of the draw and timing. She was a single woman, no children, never been married looking for a husband. Well, what about the rest of us? I'm a single mother, been married twice, NOT looking for a husband, but a lifetime partner. So I think, for her specific needs, she found what works. For people like me; not so much.

And by the way, my profile is exactly what she supposedl...more
Sandy
Too much verbiage. Somewhat interesting life story, and enjoyed descriptions of some of her dates. Gained insights into how various online dating sites match people up. All the data on her spreadsheets/lists was overwhelming but I guess it was good to have examples. Eccessive Use of f-word was surprising. Kept looking back at her author photo (which is very pretty) and had a hard time believing all those f words came from her. BTW, I'm NOT in the market but just wanted to learn more about the wh...more
Tracy
I was not looking for this book. I was surfing Slate at lunch and saw an excerpt about a woman's system for gaming online dating. The excerpt was long, but I couldn't stop reading. It was hysterical and way too true to life. I bought the book on-line that night. Well-worth it! The logic behind her craziness just pulled me in. I almost wished I were single again to try out her system. I read the whole book in a just a few days. Especially if you're still out there in the dating world, this book i...more
Ursula
I adored this book! Yes, I did want to read it because I also subscribe to a couple of dating sites, but more so because of the analytical way the author tackled the problem! As someone who once broke down every submission in a paper craft card magazine to compute percentages of repeat artists, etc, Amy's methods of breaking down the dating sites to understand what she was up against really appealed to my statistical nature.
The book flowed brilliantly and it was a joy to follow along in her adv...more
Laura Hughes
I like first-person memoirs of doing weird stuff, I did online dating for a long time and like to deconstruct it and think about how it works, and I love bringing in data and cold, clinical analysis to areas of life where nobody thinks it would/could/should work. So I was all set to love this book. But mostly, I found it annoying. Amy Webb talks a big game about how she "gamed" online dating, but I don't see how her numeric methods really added any more value than my "read the profile and go wit...more
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Aiossa's 14/15 Se...: Karen Sanchez-Zepeda Book Review #5 1 5 Feb 07, 2013 02:12PM  
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Regrettably, "Woman seeking man who's not a lying asshole" wasn't an option.”
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