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Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  37,610 ratings  ·  3,432 reviews
Foreword by Steven Pinker

Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world—provided we ask the right questions.

By the end of an average day in the early twenty
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Dey Street Books
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Max Lauber You're definitely making a good point. The other part that bugged me was that "Error Bot" that is programmed to switch letters with the same frequency…moreYou're definitely making a good point. The other part that bugged me was that "Error Bot" that is programmed to switch letters with the same frequency as he found in his data. Obviously, the Bot's output would contain the same errors. The much more relevant question (to see whether Freud was right) would be whether switches that can be read sexually occur with a higher or lower frequency than those that are not sexually connoted. Does anyone know whether Seth's Freud research appears only in the book? Or whether this data is available somewhere?(less)
Emma No. I found it a bit of a hodge podge of facts with far too much humble bragging about himself thrown in. When I eventually gave up is when he speaks …moreNo. I found it a bit of a hodge podge of facts with far too much humble bragging about himself thrown in. When I eventually gave up is when he speaks admiringly of another smug academic old man making sexist comments about female scientists (like myself). I find it very easy to imagine the sort of man he is and I hate that I supported him by buying his book!
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Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book tries too hard to be Freakonomics. The first two parts are full of random examples of interesting but mostly pointless things that can learned via Google search trends. However, a whole lot of assumptions are made off these bits of data that don't seem to have much basis in factual scientific methods of research. Unprofessional jokes are thrown in randomly. If you need a footnote to explain why a joke was not homophobic maybe you should have just skipped the joke. And any book of less ...more
Will Byrnes
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
…people’s search for information is, in itself, information. When and where they search for facts, quotes, jokes, places, persons, things, or help, it turns out, can tell us a lot more about what they really think, really desire, really fear, and really do than anyone might have guessed. This is especially true since people sometimes don’t so much query Google as confide in it: “I hate my boss.” “I am drunk.” “My dad hit me.”
There’s lies, damned lies and then there are statistics. One must w
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When sociologist ask people if they waste food, people give the only correct answer. It's wrong to waste food.

When sociologist survey the contents of the same people's garbage, they get a more accurate answer.

Just imagine how much more information is available trolling through internet searches.
David Rubenstein
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an engaging book about how big data can be used to improve our understanding of human behavior, thinking, emotions, and preference. The basic idea is that if you ask people about their behavior or their preferences in surveys, even anonymous surveys, they will often lie. People do not like to admit to low-brow preferences; racists do not want to admit to their prejudices, most people who watch pornography do not want to admit to it, and even voting is often misrepresented; some people wh ...more
Richard Derus
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
2020 EXHORTATION Wednesday, 29 July 2020, the four horse-manuremen of the datapocalypse will testify before Congress about their insane, untrammeled greed and its deleterious effect on Society. (I am presupposing the end result of the hearing here because I am under no obligation to hide my own opinion of these nauseating monopolists.)

2019 EXHORTATION We're entering the 2020 election cycle for real at this moment. Please, all US citizens, PLEASE read books! Especially books about data, how it's
Eli ad
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
such an interesting book, it broaden my views, i'm looking forward to read more books of the author ...more
Everybody Lies has all the makings of the kind of book I get suckered into buying during an amazon kindle sale. A pop culture polemic that has a very short half-life of relevancy. After reading it, my first blush was to say that I was spot on. But as I thought about it, I realized it had more depth. That's likely because Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is an actual scientist trying to educate people about what they are actually revealing with everything that they say and do.

The late 20th Century has h
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Reveals About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz takes us into the world of social sciences via the internet. I might have found the book version a bit on the boring side but I enjoyed the audiobook. Big Data can answer any and all of our questions. But will the answer be what we want to hear. And do we need to know about all aspects of the world we live in. The book is similar to some of Malcolm Gladwell's work but it is not M ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
No practicing analyst or social scientist will find anything of value in this book. It verges on being dangerously deceptive, filled with logical fallacies and half baked reasoning for it's conclusions. The book claims to be finding truth in an uncertain world, but actually is just adding to the noise. ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book. It's an interesting topic. But I found the methodology extremely sloppy. Or maybe the author just omitted some key facts. He was clearly determined to prove that racism caused the election of Donald Trump. But it's disconcerting to read the conclusion BEFORE the data analysis itself. On one hand, he says that Obama easily won two terms, DESPITE racism. Then he quickly says that Trump won the 2016 election BECAUSE of racism. So which is it? Is racism so widespread that ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
I was annoyed by the author’s writing style in ‘Everybody Lies’. I have no doubts author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz was trying to write to a large general audience, including that assumed class of American non-science reader who hates math and binge watches ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’. Good for him, and maybe you, right? But I became more and more annoyed as I read. Ah, well. It is an interesting and informative read, in spite of trying too hard to be fun, imho.

What is the book about? I am g
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am now convinced that Google searches are the most important data set ever collected on the human psyche. writes the author early on & he shows why. (Google trends is available to all here: He also checked other big data sets including Wikipedia, Facebook, Pornhub, & even Stormfront, the largest racist site. What he found was really interesting & it will help harden the soft, social sciences. It's a new frontier.

He points out problems with traditional report
Maybe everyone does lie. But they don’t lie all the time. Stephens-Davidowitz makes the good point that asking people directly doesn’t always, in fact may not often, yield true answers. People have their own reasons for answering pollsters untruthfully, but it is clear that this is a documented fact. People sometimes lie to pollsters.

Stephens-Davidowitz was told by mentors and advisors not to consider Google searches worthwhile data, but the more he looked at it, the more he was convinced that G
Matt Ward
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book could have used a good editor. It tries to be a Gladwell-type of book without fully succeeding. Issue 1 is that the anecdotal stories are not fleshed out enough to really draw you in like Gladwell does. This causes much of the book to come across as a list of facts, and it gets pretty old by the midway point.

The other issue is a growing trend among people writing data books. They want to write in a colloquial style to make it seem informal and easy to read. They don't want to scare off
At 58%, I give up. DNF.
I've seldom read anything that contained so many individually interesting (if shallow) sentences and still bored the hell out of me. I'm also tired of reading about the author's infatuations with baseball, Google, and porn. I am counting this book as read, however, because I should get some small (if valueless) reward for the time I lost reading it.

Some random, non-linear thoughts because I'm not interested enough in the book to try harder at this point:
1. The author wor
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
3.5 stars

This is an engaging and informative book about the huge amount of data available online and what it tells us about society. I read it alongside Dataclysm and found Everybody Lies to be by far the better of the two, presenting a wealth of information in a cohesive fashion and making fewer unfounded assumptions. The author was a data scientist at Google, and draws in large part on the searches people make on the site, along with information from sites including Facebook and Pornhub.

May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fic
A pretty short book with some interesting remarks, but not yet charming enough for me. The author definitely has his quirky and funny moments, when he presents himself, his family, and especially his views more. Yet the books' ideas and findings aren't exactly ground breaking. The types of questions like in this book have been posed in Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. The usefullness of big data has been discussed by ones such as Dataclysm: Who We Are (disc ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Believe the hype. This is not a perfect book, but it's fun, enlightening, ground-breaking, and important. Too many people don't know the potential power of the new methodologies of data analytics, and too few ppl who think they do know that power don't know the limitations. SethSD does, and he shares a lot of what he knows with us.

This is good science for arm-chair science consumers like me, and a good read for those who just like to dabble in non-fiction. It's both concise and rich. Documented
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book more than five stars. Anyone who has a sneaking feeling that Americans aren't who they SAY they are will find confirmation here. It's also easy to read, no academic language here.
I was already riveted by the introduction. His premise is that we all lie to each other, pollsters, and ourselves, but not to that white box where you type internet searches. Both before and after the election everyone went nuts trying to figure out why Trump was doing so much better than p
Montzalee Wittmann
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Everybody Lies
Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
By: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Steven Pinker - foreword
Narrated by: Tim Andres Pabon
Wow, this book really lays out a lot of data itself! It speaks about how people say one thing, or respond to a poll, yet they are lying. They lie less online than having to face someone.
How everything that is searched is checked and through the data searches a lot can be noted. Examples of this include what people are doing
Jun 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I couldn't even make it through the introduction. This is a perfect example of starting with a conclusion and then finding the data to support your conclusion. All a search shows you is the number of times the word or phrase is searched. It does not show intention. It does not show the number of times a certain person searches for the same word or phrase. The author makes a lot of assumptions based on his own presuppositions. I thought this would be a fun read, but I have no intention of sloggin ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers an amusing example of lying. He cites a follow-up on a survey of high school student behavior: “...a meaningful percent of teenagers tell surveys they are more than seven feet tall, weigh more than four hundred pounds, or have three children. One survey found 99 percent of students who reported having an artificial limb to academic researchers were kidding.” (Location 4702) Students like to mess with adults he cautions. Of course I didn't need to read the ...more
Lubinka Dimitrova
I sought out the book after reading an interview with the author, and it was totally worth it. The book is quite enlightening, and to be honest, deeply frightening. Internet data can work miracles for the benefit of humanity, but it can bring to life many unimaginable, Big-Brother-type nightmares (current US presidents not excluded, just sayin...). Still, it's good to know. ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: black
There is a lot to disagree with in Stephens-Davidowitz's take here on Big Data, but there are some fundamental points which he makes well, that make the book as a whole well worth it. One of them is, that the difference between Big Data and regular data is not that you have a million data points instead of a thousand, it's that you have a thousand data points on the kind of people who are one in a thousand. It's not just that you get new answers, it's that you can ask questions you wouldn't even ...more
This book is kind of a mess, but its subject is interesting enough—and some of the findings are intriguing and potentially important enough—to make you breeze your way through it. I call it a mess, because 1) the title is Everybody Lies, yet Stephens-Davidowitz in no way shows—let alone proves—that everyone lies (only, perhaps, that people tend to keep intimate, embarrassing, and politically incorrect things to themselves or, if they do share them, are more willing to confide in Google than in o ...more
Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

You may come across as liberal to the world but secretly google racist jokes…..

Although you may spill your deepest darkest secrets to Google, make no mistake this data sits somewhere ready to be analysed.

I work with big data every day, so I was immediately drawn to this book. But you really don’t need to be in the data industry to appreciate the book. It is written for the layman with humour and interesting titbits sprinkled throughout the book.

The first 3rd of the book gives a notable
Moshe Zioni
Don't get me wrong, it is nice, funny and worth a short read.

A problem for me - the causality vs correlation part comes waaaay too late in the book and the author sometimes mix the two IMHO. The biggest thing to tackle for Data Scientists is the issue of causality and if/how it can be proven to be, most of the times it just cannot be proven by this method because of its built-in limitation but the author makes a pass on this and this all makes some assumptions, as possible they can be, naive in
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author is a bit too bragging, exaggerating, and name dropping for my taste. Still, i do not regret spending the time with the book (but would regret paying money if it would not be a library borrow).

Memorabilia. Predicting rate of unemployment with the frequency of porn site searches (amount of time on their hands). Predicting success of dating (listen, then listen some more, then, when you think you are done listening, listen some more). Doppelganger (DOPP-el-gang-er) searches in Internet (
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Delightful, very engaging read on modern takes on data analysis. Fans of Levitt and Pinker I am sure will enjoy.

Hardly any 'cons' to flag up... but it is a bit on a short side and overwhelmingly US focused. Still very clever and thought-provoking

Overall: definitely worth your time
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: data-science
The title steered me a bit off-course at first—I thought it was one of those self-help psychology books that I tend to avoid.
I eventually decided to give it a shot, mostly because Steven Pinker, and author I highly respect, wrote the forward. So glad I did.
To the author Mr. Davidowitz , I did finish the book, so did I with regard to the first two books you mentioned below --moot point for the third book as it’s not even on my to-read list ;-)
“more than 90 percent of readers finished Donna Tart
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Inquiry: Book Clu...: Book Club Event on 02/26/2022: Everybody Lies by Stephens-Davidowitz 1 3 Dec 03, 2021 06:34PM  
Play Book Tag: Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data 1 10 Nov 03, 2020 10:57AM  
Play Book Tag: Everybody Lies - Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (4 stars) 1 9 Apr 06, 2020 05:31AM  
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SCPL Online NonFi...: Implicit and Explicit Bias 1 7 Jun 21, 2018 06:07PM  
SCPL Online NonFi...: Data Reimagined 1 7 Jun 15, 2018 01:59PM  

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