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

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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,510 Ratings  ·  311 Reviews
A lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman "gamed" online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid and eHarmony - and met her eventual husband.
After yet another online dating disaster, Amy Webb was about to cancel her JDate membership when an epiphany struck: It wasn't that her standards were too high, as women are often told, but that she wasn't evaluating the right d
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ebook, 320 pages
Published January 31st 2013 by Dutton Books
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

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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 more
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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
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Anna
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Laura
Aug 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jane
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Amanda
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Zoe Heimdal
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Joanna
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
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
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Amanda
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Christina
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.
Ellen
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Interesting. I guess I'll see how good her advice is.
Hope
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has everything-- quantitative research, data, love... I (literally) laughed and cried. This really was one if my favorite books.
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
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Melanie
Holy cow, I read this book in one day. Which typically means it was a fascinating novel or I had absolutely nothing better to do. Let's just say, it was a little bit of both. I picked this memoir up from the library because the title made me chuckle and the first three chapters grabbed me instantaneously. The writing is quick, enjoyable, relatable, and the author is witty enough that, at least in the beginning, I was able to overlook the fact that while she does seem like a person I'd befriend i ...more
Divya Rao
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lisa
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Christina
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
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Ginger K
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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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.
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Rating: 2.5 STARS

(Review Not on Blog)

(I am working on a writing project on dating, love, romance, self confidence, creativity and self love. Currently, I am reading and researching the topics. The books I am reading for this I will also be reviewing, but may not discuss the project in the review.)

I picked up this book based on the title, Data, A Love Story...I only noticed "How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match" when I opened the book. I decided to go on and read this book anyway. This book
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Erin
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: interpersonal, memoir
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
Michael
Picked up the book because I heard parts of her story and TED talk on the TED Radio Hour or some other NPR show.

After failing at relationships, Amy Webb decided to try dating. However, the matches her parents and co-workers were setting her on weren't right and when she dipped her toes into online dating, those matches failed to pair her up with someone she could see marrying.

So, in a drunken stupor, she decided to try to game the system. First, she created a spreadsheet of all the qualities tha
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Nancy
Feb 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Janne
Jun 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jesse
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
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Aiossa's 14/15 Se...: Karen Sanchez-Zepeda Book Review #5 1 5 Feb 07, 2013 02:12PM  
Ask me (Amy Webb) anything! 1 38 Dec 22, 2012 06:21AM  
  • Love in the Time of Algorithms: How Online Dating Shapes Our Relationships
  • That Book about Harvard: Surviving the World's Most Famous University, One Embarrassment at a Time
  • Technological Slavery: The collected writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. "The Unabomber"
  • Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women
  • Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them
  • Accidentally on Purpose: A One-Night Stand, My Unplanned Parenthood, and Loving the Best Mistake I Ever Made
  • The C List: Chemotherapy, Clinics and Cupcakes: How I Survived Colon Cancer
  • Rational Mysticism: Spirituality Meets Science in the Search for Enlightenment
  • White Indians
  • Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising
  • Shooting Stars: My Unexpected Life Photographing Hollywood's Most Famous
  • Hope for Film: From the Frontline of the Independent Cinema Revolutions
  • How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic
  • How I Shed My Skin: Unlearning the Racist Lessons of a Southern Childhood
  • Cockeyed: A Memoir of Blindness
  • Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both
  • The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy
  • Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society

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Amy Webb is an award-winning author, futurist and Founder of the Future Today Institute, a leading future forecasting and strategy firm that researches technology and answers "What's the future of X?" for a global client base. Her new book, The Signals Are Talking: Why Today's Fringe Is Tomorrow' Mainstream, is about how to predict the future of technology and what to do about it in the present.

Am
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More about Amy Webb...
“You are a:
Woman seeking man

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