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Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  11,035 ratings  ·  1,182 reviews
A New York Times Bestseller

An audacious, irreverent investigation of human behavior—and a first look at a revolution in the making

Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder uses it to show us who we truly are.
For centuries, we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to s
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Crown
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Sean Duggan It's more of a "here are the patterns" with a mix of "this is a possible link" and "we really can't tell for sure, but this is an interesting and repe…moreIt's more of a "here are the patterns" with a mix of "this is a possible link" and "we really can't tell for sure, but this is an interesting and repeatable pattern". Sometimes, patterns are just coincidences, like the inverse correlation of global warming and pirates, or the positive correlation of organic foods and autism, but sometimes they do show a link, as with sodium and high blood pressure, although he cautions against deciding you know what that link is (c.f. sodium and blood pressure, where sodium is really only harmful in a certain target population, who generally already have high blood pressure) without better research.(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  11,035 ratings  ·  1,182 reviews

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Meta Brown
Sep 04, 2014 rated it liked it
What a disappointment.

Christin Rudder's OK Trends blog featured lots of analytics news you can use, or at least imagine using. He explained, with data, why men should consider dating older women ( and what polite question to ask on a first date to get the odds on the impolite question you really want to ask ( He shared specific, actionable information. And he gave us all inspiration to use our own data in practical ways. His work wasn't exactl
Riku Sayuj

Historians like Braudel can only dream of the kind of history that can be written now. Now that we have minute and granular data on billions of individuals, on how they are living, of what they like, what they search for, who they prefer to be with, what they enjoy reading and watching, where they spend their time, how they react to political events, what their fears are, etc. -- a veritable flood of data -- a dataclysm.

This book is an early, tentative, and often highly constrained attempt at cr
John Cooper
Aug 17, 2014 rated it liked it
A few weeks ago there was a mild furor after Facebook admitted that they’d run an experiment on some users, adjusting their news feeds to include more positive or more negative items than the norm, and recording how the emotional tone of the users’ own posts changed in result. After a week or so of media discussion, Christian Rudder, a founder of the online dating site OkCupid, volunteered that his site had done something similar. He’d deliberately matched OkCupid customers with people rated as ...more
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book through the First Reads program. Goodreads probably was not aware that they sent this book about big data to someone with a professional background in data analytics and an academic background in the social sciences. As such, I could not wait to write my review.

The information being provided is from Christian Rudder, president and co founder of OKCupid. He analyzes data from his site as well as other social media websites. The premise is that Dataclysm is "An unprecedented
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
On its face this book sounds good: data guru uses the information people share online, particularly on the dating website OkCupid, to reveal demographic trends. There is some interesting information here, along with fun graphs and charts. But while Rudder may be a good statistician, he’s a poor sociologist, and the book is riddled with eyebrow-raising assumptions and conclusions. It also hangs together poorly, jumping from one disconnected subject to another, with chapters that share a fairly si ...more
Matt Lieberman
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Belle and Sebastian is the least black band in existence. "6'4" and "Truck Driver" are the words least likely to be used by Asians in dating profiles. Do these factoids illustrate some kind of fundamental truths regarding human nature? Not really. Are they fascinating (albeit perhaps a little obvious in the case of our melanin-repellent Glaswegian twee pop friends) enough to sustain an entire book? I certainly think so. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder leverages vast reserves of data of over 185 m ...more
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it

Ron Swanson would be horrified by this book.

 photo ron-swanson-computer-throw-out-parks-and-rec_zpsayqmkkxr.gif
The premise is interesting, but Rudder's presentation just wasn't working for me. The introduction was long enough that I felt a few additional facts would have made it a perfectly acceptable book. While I'm sure he knows his business (analytics for OKCupid, a company he & several others founded) he didn't present it well. Part of that was the media - there are too many lists & charts that are difficult & painful to listen to in an audio.

He's simply introducing this concept & the data isn't rea
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I'm a graduate student in a doctoral Information Studies program. This means I've read a lot of different books about data and the internet. I've also done a little of my own research into social media and, specifically, OKCupid.

Dataclysm's author, Christian Rudder, was one of the founders of OKCupid, and has turned data mined from the site's millions of interactions into an interesting view of the patterns of behavior of the online dater.

The book is informative, intriguing, and
Christine Varga
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
To start: The description posted for this book really does NOT explain what this book is about and it gave me little insight in terms of what to expect. It wasn’t until I actually opened the book, saw the data displayed in the blood-red-on-standard-black graphics that I even had an idea of what I was up against. Don’t let the cover fool you. There are no rainbow sprinkles here. This stuff is dark.

I should disclose that I received the Advance Reader’s Edition of the book through the Goodreads Fi
Jason Gordon
Nov 05, 2014 rated it liked it
The good

1). The book actually uses metadata in the aggregate to test sociological/cultural narratives. It's good to know that internet data can be used to show that we live in a incredibly racist culture and that the ideology of white supremacy actually informs much of our behaviour.

2). The book also demonstrates how metadata can be used to discover who exactly an individual is (i.e. their narrative). This is important as it puts to rest the denials of the government when they state that they c
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Christian Rudder is one of the founders of the dating site OKCupid. His degree from Harvard is in mathematics. He combines a conversational and humorously worded style with an extensive knowledge of data manipulation and presentation to deliver this treatise, which is both informative and enjoyable to read. His witty turns of phrase and common vernacular suck in the lay reader as he presents fascinating tidbits about how we utilize online services to seek a mate or communicate with friends. In a ...more
Pubudu Wariyapola
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting book (collection of blog posts) about data analysis. The sections about OkCupid are interesting (the author worked there and had access to all data). The rest of the analyses are his picks from other sources - somewhat interesting, but nothing new or eye-opening.
He tries to combine the posts into a book, but not very successfully.
If you read as a collection of interesting tidbits/analyses you will find value. Don't expect a cohesive whole.
Caidyn (he/him/his)
To be honest, this wasn't terribly interesting to me. It's full of interesting information, that's for sure, but not really interesting to me. I spaced out a lot while listening to this book at work. It's very repetitive with similar information given in each chapter. Stuff that wasn't very surprising. I'm sure that someone besides me would find it fascinating and full of relevant information, just not for me. It wasn't my kind of book.

The thing I latched onto the most was how absolutely terrify
Aug 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

**I received a copy of Dataclysm for review courtesy of Blogging for Books**

Dataclysm is a social snapshot of society drawing on data from Facebook, Twitter, and OkCupid, a popular dating site created by the author, Christian Rudder. This book explores how the things people "like" on Facebook can reveal very specific details about our lives - such as our sexual orientation, - how people describe themselves online versus how they actually act in pers
Maybe really 2.5 stars, but I rounded up.

I have read the OkTrends blog since its inception. Human behavior fascinates me, so I take any opportunity to read on it. The We Experiment On Human Beings post ensnared my attention since it flubs its nose at academic sensibilities at what is ethical experimentation. But, this review is not about Rudder's ethics, so I will move on to the book.

The writing engaged a technologist interested in Big Data, interesting links, and how data can be used in intere
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I feel bad giving this book two stars because I've met the author in person and he's a nice guy and I know how much bad reviews suck.

But, reading this book as a person who works in data gave me a very bad feeling. All of the notes indicate that he didn't pull the data himself, nor work on any of the charts, but did so with the help of James Dowdell, who did the heavy lifting in the stats and visualization, and two other guys from OKCupid who pulled the data at Rudder's request. What was Rudder'
Jessica Woodbury
So I'm on OKCupid and I like pulling data apart so I thought this was worth a look. And it is. Even if it's better taken in bits than it is all put together as a whole, a problem with this type of nonfiction generally. The chapters are very tidy, with nice little introductions and anecdotes, but Rudder is pretty straightforward about the fact that this is not going to be a book based on anecdotes. He is a numbers guy and I appreciate that. It's why I read the book in the first place. But things ...more
Aussiescribbler Aussiescribbler
Christian Rudder was one of the founders of the dating site OkCupid. Running a site like that involves making decisions based on observations of people's behaviour gathered from their computer data - what works or doesn't work when it comes to helping people hook up? The concept of studying the kind of data which can be gathered from social media and search engines in order to build a better picture of the society in which we live became an obsession for him and he began sharing what he discover ...more
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, and I want to say at the outset, that if you need “fodder” for starting conversations at social gatherings, this book is replete with it!

The author, Christian Rudder, is President and Co-founder of the dating site, OKCupid. He began collating and charting data from his own site, and then expanded his database by looking at comparative data from “rival” dating sites, Facebook, twitter and other social media sites. What he has found out is just amazing. The underlying theme is
Allison Riding
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: behavioral-psych
As a single 25 year old who has lightly dabbled in dating apps, this book successfully has me swearing them off forever. Mostly because I'm clearly past my 20 year old female prime. Also because (as many studies have shown) we repeatedly select differently than we say we desire.

With that said: what a fun book!!!!!!! For a data-centric, behavioral psychology treasure trove of information, it read like a guilty pleasure. Highly recommend! Danced through in one sitting on a flight.

I also thought i
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: current_events
I agree with Rudder's main thesis that each of us is being tracked much more than we think we are, and that this data will change forever how we live, whether we want it to or not. However, I have serious misgivings about many of the conclusions that he draws. My main misgiving is that since most of his data comes from members of OKCupid, his data is highly skewed by using this very limited group.

Another issue I have with the information presented in the book, is how Rudder cherry picks certain
Jun 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The social psychologist in me requested this one. All that social data just seemed irresistible. And it is, particularly for a person who abhors social media and is naturally suspicious/cautious/wary of any form of data collecting. And yet, it is unavoidable, every time we make a purchase, take a quiz, log onto a website. So the internet knows us, it really does, the real us, the paranoid worriors (it’s my word and I like it, accept it, Word), the obsessive googlers, the compulsive shoppers. And ...more
The copy I am reviewing was received through Netgalley from Crown publishing in exchange for an honest review.

In “Dataclysm”, Christian Rudder embarks on the mission to bring Big Data to the masses. Big History and Big Economics are popular today, and I think this book is going to achieve the mission with great success.

Math is not known for being embraced by many, so Rudder’s work was cut out for him. His subject choices and examples were well-chosen and interesting, and concepts are explained i
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Christian Rudder defines Dataclysm as "An unprecedented deluge of digital information reshaping our view of the world". The cofounder and president of OKCupid, has gathered data from that site and other sites, analyzed it, and compiled it into a fascinating book that examines what we share on social media. The result is Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One's Looking.

In my workplace, we talk about the fact that people tell us one thing, but their actions say something different. In fact, we
Richard Wu
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I rate this book 3 stars for me (mainly because 70% of the book is just updated versions of Rudder's old blog posts), but 4 stars for anyone who isn't already familiar with data journalism and wants a jolt of reality.

I think the book lacks direction. Half of the book talks about communication and demographic trends, the other half talks about preferential trends in online dating. His thesis, "big data is powerful, present, and can tell us more about ourselves," might have been revelatory in 2010
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: math nerds
Recommended to Emily by: BRI
"Here's the kernel of it: the phrase 'one in a million' is at the core of so many wonderful works of art. It means a person so special, so talented, so something that they 're practically unique, and that very rareness makes them significant. But in mathematics, and so with data, and so here in this book, the phrase means just the opposite: 1/1,000,000 is a rounding error."

"Trolling a soda is something no formula would ever recommend. It's no industry best practice. And it's evidence that as muc
Philip Hollenback
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This was a fun read about some surprising statistical topics. It turns out that one of the best predictors of compatibility between people in a relationship is how they answer the question, "do you like scary movies?"

Some of this is a rehash of the Okcupid blog posts that the author did a few years ago, but there is some fresh info and insights. My only complaint is the book is kind of short. Oh, also the charts and graphs make a lot of use of color so you need to read this book on a color devic
Kevin Merlini
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.55 stars

I really enjoyed reading dataclysm; even if only for getting insight into the okcupid dataset. It made me intensely curious about some of the datasets that I work with and thought about new ways of slicing/presenting the data. Nothing earth shatteringly unexpected, but I found the book very readable, and all of the graphs/typography very visually appealing.
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is based on a blog the author created specifically to share his interesting data. I enjoyed seeing his data and graphs. He makes some interesting comparisons. But I feel his analysis of what the data means is limited. Professional sociologists might come to different conclusions.
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Christian Rudder is an American entrepreneur, mathematician, writer, and musician. Know as a Co-Founder of OkCupid.

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