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

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,819 ratings  ·  351 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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Dave Not exactly. More like - how to present yourself in ways that intrigue others enough for them to want to learn more.

Or at least that's the impression …more
Not exactly. More like - how to present yourself in ways that intrigue others enough for them to want to learn more.

Or at least that's the impression I get from this podcast with the author.

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Petra X back to reality & the diet!
I switched to the ebook edition. This "review" is a blog about my last bf and why I need to sharp up on online data. The review of this book after I read it is here Data, A Love Story, ebook.

Having finished with the last bf - he had started out looking like the masculine man who takes charge having an amazing job, a world-travelling Special Agent for the US Treasury and "had" to carry a gun, not the sort of man I usually go for. But he had a boat and I am mad keen to sail, especially the Panama
Petra X back to reality & the diet!
This is a really good book. The author is a very clever woman who didn't disguise this from her dating profiles or the book reader, and thereby lacked success on dating sites and alienated those people here who think that women should be sweet, dumb themselves down, and be as entirely conventional as possible. They should also show skin.

Kim Kardashian is famous for her face, body and fantastic publicity. The fact that none of these came about naturally and cost plenty of money is irrelevant. Th
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
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Ugh. Where do I even begin? This is not a book I'd ever choose to read . . . but I'm doing the library's "romance" challenge in order to score a new coffee mug and this was a suggested selection that I had not already read and one that didn't have a waiting list as long as my arm, so I decided to give it a shot.

Here's the problem I have with memoirs - why do average Joes think their story is the one that should be told . . . and mo
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, no-judgements
This is definitely not the kind of book I usually read. If I’m reading nonfiction, it’s history or an essay collection by a writer that I’m either familiar with, or who came highly recommended by a friend. “Navel-gazing memoir by someone who didn’t do anything notable” is rarely my cup of tea; even less so is the “navel gazing memoir of a very brief time in someone's life stretched out to standard paperback length” subgenre. But this book was lent to me by a friend during one of my experiments i ...more
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
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
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Bethany Larson
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Aug 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like the author. Sadly, nope and nope. The author comes across as neurotic, whiny, a tad unethical, and surprisingly vicious. The book has a good project, but it never hit the mark as either advice or an interesting memoir. The author showed almost none of her softer emotions. She tells us that her mother had terminal cancer and that she felt sad. But there's no vulnerability, no opening of her heart to the reader -- just factual telling. She recounts her ...more
Zoe Heimdal
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Can you spell "false advertising"? I kinda felt gamed after reading this - sure she tweaked her profile but I think her magical match was more of a happy coincidence than anything else. It wasn't really rocket science, even if you can go all geeky with mathematical formulas. The point of this book only really clicked when I read she founded a digital strategy consultancy. Cynical? Moi? Never. ...more
Roz Warren
Jun 22, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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 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
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business
There's nothing wrong with being on online dating sites.

But what if you create 10 fake profiles (of the opposite sex) so you can see what your "competition" is doing? Is that wrong...or a brilliant way to hack the system and learn how algorithms work?

That's what Amy Webb did when she decided that she was going to meet the man of her dreams on After copying and pasting her resume into her online dating profile, she discovered that she just wasn't meeting the right type of man. When sh
Indera Johnson
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
I don't know how this fucking author expects her dates to fucking like her when she's so fucking unlikeable - even I don't fucking like her. Which incidentally is also why this fucking book has such a fucking low rating. Did you notice how often I used the work fuck in my review? That's her favorite word btw and she fucking hates people who can't say the word fuck "like a fucking grown up". I rest my case. ...more
Julia Milner
Data, A Love Story is witty, fascinating, charming, informative, and meticulously data-driven. It got me re-thinking my ideas about online dating and provided an entertaining example of how we can use our brains to create great opportunities within the perplexing realm of modern romance.
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has everything-- quantitative research, data, love... I (literally) laughed and cried. This really was one if my favorite books.
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Interesting. I guess I'll see how good her advice is. ...more
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
Jun 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: try-again-later
The biggest reading disappointment so far in 2015.

I absolutely adored the author's TED talk. I watched it several times and showed it to my mum. She came off as intelligent and endearing and witty, and by the end I was genuinely happy for her triumph. I bought this book hoping to get a more in-depth retelling of that same story, particularly the algorithm part - basically I wanted 'The Rose Project', but even better, from a smart (real!) woman's point of view.

Unfortunately, within the pages of
"DATA, A LOVE STORY: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match" is a testament to Amy Webb's ingenuity and sheer grit to devise, test, and put into practice a strategy that netted her 'the man of her dreams' who became her future husband.

Anyone who has tried online dating as a way to find him/herself a girl/boyfriend or prospective spouse can appreciate how stressful and at times frustrating it can be to have that good date or series of dates that could lead to meaningful, personal
Lance Eaton
Mar 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
So this book is vying for worse book of the year (or the last few years--no wait, it's probably on par with Fred Saberhagen's The Frankenstein Papers). As a person, I'm sure Webb is a decent person but the book she offers up about gaming the online dating world was anything but. What she argues is that she gamed the system--but that only really works if you see winning as spending lots of money on dating websites, beauty treatments, wardrobe acquisitions, and personal training coupled with spend ...more
Divya Rao
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Ginger K
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2013
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,
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Amy Webb is a quantitative futurist and a bestselling, award-wining author. Her latest book is The Big Nine: How The Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity, a call-to-arms about the broken nature of artificial intelligence, and the powerful corporations that are turning the human-machine relationship on its head. 

She is a professor of strategic foresight at the NYU Stern Schoo

Articles featuring this book

Her Favorite Books About Dating: Online dating unmasked! The digital media expert decodes finding love in Data, A Love Story and offers further...
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“You are a:
Woman seeking man

Regrettably, "Woman seeking man who's not a lying asshole" wasn't an option.”
More quotes…