Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think” as Want to Read:
Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  6,730 ratings  ·  623 reviews
A revelatory exploration of the hottest trend in technology and the dramatic impact it will have on the economy, science, and society at large.

Which paint color is most likely to tell you that a used car is in good shape? How can officials identify the most dangerous New York City manholes before they explode? And how did Google searches predict the spread of the H1N1 flu
Hardcover, 242 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Big Data, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Thanh Tran in my opinion, just go fast thrown it. After that, you can read again the chapter you liked.
Beside that, follow author on twitter also good with me :)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,730 ratings  ·  623 reviews

Sort order
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
I chose to read this book because it is one of the more visible examples of a trade business/ technology book about some recent changes in the data/information business. The key intuition that this book is highlighting is a shift towards greatly increased production of data and greatly increased use of large nearly complete population levels data sets in the management and control of a range of industries. This change is fueled by the wide adoption of broadband internet services and significant ...more
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was interesting initially but became a bit repetitive overall. It has three major points in it;

1. Sampling was important when collecting data was expensive and difficult, but we now we have access by one means or another to all data.

2. Since we have so much data, the quality of individual data points is not important and we can allow inexactness in measurement processes as long as there isn't a systematic bias.

3. Causality and understanding why things happen is no longer as important
Rob Kitchin
May 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
In 2008 the term ‘big data’ was barely in use. Five years later and it has become latest ICT-related buzzword, used to refer to the recent surge in the generation of huge quantities of diverse and dynamic data produced by social media, transactions and interactions across the internet, sensor and camera networks, a myriad software-enabled devices, scientific equipment, etc. Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier’s book aims to provide an initial survey and analysis of the big data phenomena and what they ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Chapter two of this book starts by telling us the three things the book will be about:

“The first is the ability to analyse vast amounts of data about a topic rather than be forced to settle for smaller sets. The second is a willingness to embrace data’s real-world messiness rather than privilege exactitude. The third is the growing respect for correlations rather than a continuing quest for elusive causality.”

And that is exactly what this book does – it discusses each of these points more or les
David Adams
Apr 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: not recommended
Shelves: not-recommended
I just stopped reading this book at page 143 and I don't plan on continuing. The book is padded and repetitive plus most of the examples have already been published in articles. As another reviewer stated book... "it could've been reduced to a single feature-length article with links to prior stories"

Strange Statements:

-"Data has become a raw material for business... The data can reveal secrets to those with the humility, willingness, and the tools to listen"
Is this book about Data Science or di
Mal Warwick
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Shocked by the NSA revelations? You don't know the whole story

While Edward Snowden bounces from one temporary refuge to another in search of safe harbor from the long arms of the U.S. government, the American public is starting to wake up to the reality of Big Data. The National Security Agency, long one of the pioneers in this burgeoning but little-appreciated field, has been teaching us -- or, rather, Snowden, The Guardian, and the Washington Post have been teaching us -- about the power that
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Having been on a big data/statistics binge recently, I can't help but be struck by the similarities in approach and execution between the major titles on the subject. Crack open any of these books and the authors are sure to regale you with the torrid tales of Billy Beane and his baseball Sabermetricians, Target's premature targeting of expectant mothers, and lest we forget - fawning references to the zany whizzes over at Google.

Still, the subject is so intensely fascinating that it doesn't mat
Long Tùng
Jul 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Actually nothing is new in this book. Way too long and repetitive. The book should have been only 30 pages instead of 300.
Sorry but it's a waste of time.
Aaron Thibeault
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
*A full executive summary of this book is available here:

The main argument: Statistical information, or data, has long been recognized to be a potentially rich and valuable source of knowledge. Until recently, however, our ability to render phenomena and events in a quantified format, store this information, and analyze it has been severely limited. With the rise of the digital age, though, these limitations are quickly being eroded. To begin with, digita
Troy Blackford
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating exploration of the topic of what happens when the sample size of a given field of study reaches the point where n=all. That is to say, what happens when we have data for all of a given variable, rather than just taking a sampling and extrapolating out findings. The authors compare the difference to what happened to visual representation when you could make a number of photographs in one second - it wasn't just a quality-based leap like that of the jump from realistic artwor ...more
Rajat TWIT
Thanks to the burgeoning Internet and the interwoven lives of people with the net world, we have so much of Data available that Google helped in a health emergency recently. That is how this book starts and this is the story it tells. Our every action of regular life creates a sort of data, which ultimately can be used to regulate, observe, predict and prepare a lot of things. From out air journeys to the bank transactions to the online searches, everything can be collected in the form of data, ...more
Elizabeth Theiss
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, data
Big Data takes on big ideas: how will the availability of huge data sets change the way we do research? Does it matter why something happens as much as what precisely is happening? Will correlation analysis of large data sets take the place of the painstaking theory-to-hypothesis-to-empirical-testing of traditional science?

The author perhaps over promises the impact of Big Data and underestimates the associated privacy issues. Yet, there is much that is interesting and important in this book. Wh
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has been sitting in my Kindle queue since publishing in 2013. Still holds up--but not a lot beyond talking at the high-level what can and has been done with big data. I didn't learn anything new.
Well-researched and well-written, this guidebook to the (dystopian?) future is intriguing, mind-bending, and alarming, all at the same time.

The authors explain that our economy and society are undergoing a massive upheaval, akin to the industrial revolution. “Representative sampling” used to be the norm, and researchers tightly controlled variables to isolate why something was occurring. Thanks to the massive increase in computer processing power, very inexpensive storage, and diverse types of d
Peter Mcloughlin
With huge capacities to store and correlate information from computers, laptops, social media, cell phones, video surveillance and electronic devices a flood of information is now available and so a new era of big data has emerged. In the past predictive science looked for causes to explain phenomenon and their is a famous saying among early statisticians "correlation is not causation". In the era of big data companies like google and amazon no longer care about causation when making predictions ...more
Pradeep Nair
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book tells you a lot about Big Data, the ubiquitous term nowadays.

There is so much of data being generated in the form of text, photos, and videos. Add to that the tons of personal data relating to whenever we do on our phone, like our location, what and how we are reading, listening, surfing the net, using different apps, etc.

Every minute detail of the way we use different apps are relayed back to the developers to get an understanding of the efficiency of the product. Everyone, not just
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read some of the critiques below I have to wonder, what other books on big data can people recommend?

That said, I'm a quarter way done and have discovered a number of interesting sites and read dozens of support pages to better understand what is being discussed. So far, I'm enjoying it.


Finished it. I originally gave it four stars but now just three.

I feel that the author would have been better served by a stronger editor. There is quite a bit of repetition in the book. For only 2
Hồng Sơn
Cuốn sách giới thiệu về những ứng dụng của Dữ liệu lớn trong việc cải thiện khả năng dự báo, nâng cao chất lượng cung ứng sản phẩm dịch vụ, giảm thiểu rủi ro,... đồng thời giới thiệu về xu hướng phát triển và khả năng ảnh hưởng của Dữ liệu lớn trong các lĩnh vực của đời sống trong thời gian tới, kèm theo đó là những nguy cơ và thách thức đối với quyền tự do cá nhân khi lĩnh vực Dữ liệu lớn phát triển tới một khả năng nhất định.

Mặc dù cuốn sách đánh giá việc phân tích, xây dựng thuật toán xử lý d
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: data
Big Data is a great book if you don't have a background in the field and want to learn about it. Unlike other 'topical' books, it does give some debate on the downsides of the focus topic and predictions on how these may be overcome in the future.

In particular, I liked the examples used, plain language and thoughts on where the field is going.

Unfortunately, being somewhat of a nerd, I chased up several websites and companies referenced in the text to learn more and (perhaps being the nature of t
Dr. Lloyd E. Campbell
Very padded, He covers the same information three times. For me he didn't make the case for big data being as influential as he thinks it will be. I would like to read a clearly defined statement about areas of application and other areas. I think he minimizes causation and over states correlations. I don' understand a scientific method without hypotheses, ideas coming from the data like ooze and how data has improved decision making in N=All situations. Baseball using N=all hasn't done well and ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science, reviewed
We measure an enormous amount of data, most seemingly useless. But according to the authors of this book, there is treasure to be mined in this trash. The premise is that previously inaccessible meta data sets can be put to beneficial uses in their imprecise form. Mapping flu outbreaks by triangulating google search for flu remedies for example.

All fair and interesting but not exactly new ground. It could have been easily condensed into a magazine article, where I believe this book was initially
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it
As an ex-nerd, I've been spending less and less time thinking about and working with computers and networks professionally. I'd heard the term "Big Data", and knew approximately what it meant. This book was a surprize. It explained in lay terms what Big Data is, how it can be used, the implications for businesses and governments, and how it is different from the data bases that we have used for decades. It uses explicit and clear examples. It is a great read for anyone who wants to know what the ...more
Mohsin Shiraz
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great non-technical book on big data.For those who are even a bit interested to know about what exactly is big data. How it has evolved? What are its risks? Why do companies need so much data? Why we are slowly moving away from exactitude? How we get the recommendations when we shop anything ranging from books,tickets,clothes,etc.? The author has put myriad of examples which helps you easily understand the concept.For those who want to go into the depth, the author has compiled thousands of so ...more
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Very thought provoking and well considered, Big Data was cleverly structured. In my current role there is lots that can be learned from this book - the need to move from narrow samples and focusing on the why, to embracing the messiness of large rafts of data and determining what is shown. The sensationalist in me was fascinated by how data can be used for ill and the writers were firm in their views that data must never be used in isolation without human interpretation. Lots of food for thought ...more
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it
The first half of the book was great but it really took effort to get through the second half. Essentially, the take away from this book can be summarized by this quote:

“There is a treasure hunt under way, driven by the insights to be extracted from data and the dormant value that can be unleashed by a shift from causation to correlation.”

All-in-all, useful information for my purposes as I hope to play a role in the analysis and dissemination of Big Data at my company.

Tran Hiep
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, science, it
Cuốn sách giới thiệu một cách tổng quát nhất về Dữ liệu lớn (Big data) - thứ đang giám sát và chi phối một phần cuộc sống của chúng ta. Mặc dù là sách non-fiction nhưng cuốn sách lại mang đến nhiều cảm xúc cho tôi: ngỡ ngàng vì sự thông minh và sáng tạo, phấn khích vì những điều mới lạ từ dữ liệu, phẫn nộ vì cảm thấy mình bị "dắt mũi", lo lắng vì một tương lai mà quyền riêng tư bị xâm hại nghiêm trọng.
Bố cục và phân bố nội dung sách rất khoa học đi từ sự khởi nguyên của big data, ứng dụng và ưu
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think

Written in 2013/4, this was the first major book about the topic, with two authors explaining what big data is, how it will change our lives, and what we can do to protect ourselves from its hazards.

As is usual with predictions, some are eerie in their accuracy, others we laugh at for the "obvious" errors, but all were brave, and most were fascinating.

The book posed questions about choices consumers make -relating to colours and prefe
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first time I came across the idea of quantity transforming into quality was when I read Friedrich Engels' 'Dialectics of Nature' a long while ago. This book on 'Big Data' elaborates on that principle by showing how 'gems of insight' emerge when you let computers crunch vast stores of information using its algorithmic power. By processing large volumes of data, we are now able to save money on airline tickets, predict flu outbreaks, enable health insurance firms to provide coverage without a ...more
Ian Lambert
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting. Strongest when it goes from the particular to the general rather than the reverse. One of the authors appears to be a big data booster and the other more circumspect judging from the erratic discussion of cause and correlation. Lots to think about.
Sara Klem
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Pretty repetitive and I think I, as someone who works at a big data organization, am probably not the intended target audience, but a good starter book on big data nonetheless.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: Big Data 2 6 Jun 08, 2013 04:36AM  
  • The Human Face of Big Data
  • Big Data: Principles and best practices of scalable realtime data systems
  • The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business
  • Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World
  • Data Points: Visualization That Means Something
  • Beautiful Data: The Stories Behind Elegant Data Solutions (Theory In Practice, #31)
  • Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet
  • Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die
  • Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet
  • Digital Vertigo: How Today's Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing, and Disorienting Us
  • Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics
  • Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World
  • Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted: And All the Brilliant Minds Who Made The Mary Tyler Moore Show a Classic
  • Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back
  • Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers
  • The Connected Company
  • Citizenville: Connecting People and Government in the Digital Age
  • Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
VIKTOR MAYER-SCHÖNBERGER is Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University. A widely recognized authority on big data, he is the author of over a hundred articles and eight books, of which the most recent is Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. He is on the advisory boards of corporations and organizations around the world, inclu ...more
“Sometimes the constraints that we live with, and presume are the same for everything, are really only functions of the scale in which we operate.” 4 likes
“The very idea of penalizing based on propensities is nauseating. To accuse a person of some possible future behavior is to negate the very foundation of justice: that one must have done something before we can hold him accountable for it. After all, thinking bad things is not illegal, doing them is. It is a fundamental tenet of our society that individual responsibility is tied to individual choice of action. [...] Were perfect predictions possible, they would deny human volition, our ability to live our lives freely. Also, ironically, by depriving us of choice they would exculpate us from any responsibility.” 3 likes
More quotes…