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Targeted: My Inside Story of Cambridge Analytica and How Trump and Facebook Broke Democracy
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Targeted: My Inside Story of Cambridge Analytica and How Trump and Facebook Broke Democracy

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  622 ratings  ·  114 reviews
In this explosive memoir, a political consultant and technology whistleblower reveals the disturbing truth about the multi-billion-dollar data industry, revealing to the public how companies are getting richer using our personal information and exposing how Cambridge Analytica exploited weaknesses in privacy laws to help elect Donald Trump--and how this could easily happen ...more
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Published October 22nd 2019 by HarperCollins
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Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Look, this book isn't a bad read. But I can't shake the feeling that the author is doing more of what she did for Cambridge Analytica - selling us a story and selling us a version of who she is.

First and foremost, its not all bad. The book is strongest where it covers the author's tools and techniques used to sell Cambridge Analytica's services. It provides a fascinating insight into a different world of international privilege, where shoulders are rubbed with the rich, country hopping is common
Interesting to read alongside Christopher Wylie's Mindf*ck - the way each author frames their involvement (and each other) is illuminating... (ultimately, though, read Mindf*ck rather than this one, because it's more insightful and the tone not as heavily 'look I was a good liberal person I just was forced into doing questionable things') ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
In regards to CA/SCL and being a whistleblower, Christopher Wylie's Mindf*ck is a better and more informative read. Kaiser wallows in self-pity. She campaigns for and takes a selfie with ted cruz, but she was drunk. She joins the nra, but she can't believe she actually did it. When dumpty wins the presidency, she's shocked and appalled and in total denial that CA was its driving force. OK, maybe she could have faked a year and still have not a clue, but after the second year and well into the th ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Brittany ends her book saying “I’m an eternal optimist” and having read it cover to cover I can only say: that’s not how you spell “opportunist”.
Rick Wilson
Pretty good. Very interesting. The Cambridge Analytica stuff is terrifying. As a book, it a good portrait of how “good people can do bad things.” But while the CA parts are riveting, I found myself getting frustrated at the blindness Brittany followed the Blockchain trend as a redemptive arc.

Blockchain is NOT the solution to privacy. Maybe in 20 years when the energy demands are lower and unforeseen magic innovations have fundamentally changed computing. But for now, in 2020, blockchain is a sl
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Miss Kaiser misses the irony of decrying Trump’s racist rhetoric while voicing her own contempt for “old white men”.

She is disconcerted that CA’s political campaigns relied on emotions rather than facts to persuade voters? But a democracy isn’t exactly peopled with dispassionate logicians. Indeed, the prefrontal cortex is hardly older than democracy itself. Until neurons are made of silicone, pathos will override logos.

More generally, the effect that social media is having on our political disc
Adrian Timar
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very up-to-date book about a modern issue that will get even more intense in the future -data privacy.

The book itself is an autobiography of Brittany, an ex- CA employee. While some of her motives are shady or just selfish, she has a great story to tell. If it wasn't for the fake news and illegal data possessions, Cambridge Analytica might have been one of the top marketing agencies in the world based on their methods of psychological profiling people.

I highly recommend this book for anyone in
Marco Pavan
Jan 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-to-read, crap
Willfully committing crimes, making lots of money out of it, and start shouting out loud only when shit goes south and the illicit is becoming known to the media and the masses, does not qualify as whistleblowing. instead this is a poor attempt at "monetizing" yet again over conscious misdeeds. Trump and Facebook didn't break democracy on their own: you and CA/SCL/AIQ were a center part of it. The narrative in this book is pathetic. it's also poorly written and flows awfully. ...more
Wendy Capron
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Everyone should read this book (or maybe one that better explains how all this data is being used against us), in conjunction with Thinking, Fast and Slow. Elections from now on will be won by whatever side betters uses our personal information - and I'm betting it will never be for altruistic purposes. Civilization is doomed. Happy New Year! ...more
Peggy Ryan
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really insightful read - I honestly didn’t enjoy how she was portrayed in The Great Hack (Netflix, 2019), because she came across as a villain, but getting to read this from her perspective really opened my eyes to what she went through
Fefyy Antela
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was both super interesting and scary 😳

Everyone should read...
Jessica Scott
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it
A few snippets of additional information that match Mindf*ck by Chris Wylie. Insightful and less technical than Wylie’s book. You can watch The Great Hack on Netflix for a snapshot of this books main ideas.
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy S***

Although I had some awareness of the Cambridge Analytica story, I was horrified to learn the enormous and somewhat invisible role they played in the Cruz’ campaign, Trump’s election, Brexit and others. Even more frightening is what big data and corrupt players mean for future elections and, not to be too alarmist, but democracy in general. I so appreciate that Brittany Kaiser has had the courage to be a whistle blower and written this book. I need a few days to think about what I can do
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A must read. Kaiser does not come across well at all - clearly an opportunist rather than a whistle blower - but her account of the use and misuse of data and targeted advertising in elections globally (including the Trump and Leave campaigns) is eye opening and deeply worrying.
The most proactive information in the book are the 5 ways in which you can take control of your data:

1. Become digitally literate.
"I started in the data game with the highest of hopes to use data for good, and I saw what happens when unethical practices permeate the upper echelons of power. Some of the best tools for fighting back can be found at the DQ Institute’s website. There you can learn why digital intelligence is essential in the digital age and how to get up to scratch to protect yours
This was an easy listen and moved at a decent pace. The writing is pretty good. My problem with it is that it comes across more as a memoir/mea culpa than a revelation and an insight into big data. In terms of morality, the question of "what would you do in my situation?" seems to be the biggest, and that seems largely beside the point. ...more
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Big data is manipulating people's thoughts and actions. The antidote is to question and educate yourself. Fact check, consider the source etc. We are entering a new world and if it is not kept in check, we're in for a fall. ...more
Jorge Santana
One of the longer books I’ve read and im glad to say it had my attention all the way through. I appreciate how close and detailed the story is told while still holding on to a very deep human story about failing to do the right thing.
Matthew Christopher
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I read the physical book and accidentally selected the audio CD version on here.

When I saw that there was a second book on this topic that came out this year, I was very intrigued. I read Chris Wylie's book about a month ago, and I was shocked and appalled and it led to my refusing to post any more information on Facebook ever again. (I can't delete it, regrettably, for personal reasons) This book, to me at least, seems infinitely more credible. Not only is it a fuller account of th
Roshni Bhattacharya
One book I'd recommend to all to read in this day and age when data is gold! Humans have ceased to exist. To corporations we are just a bunch of datasets and social media platforms are ready to give us up for a quick buck (well, a lot of bucks). It was scary to see how companies like Cambridge Analytica were capable of shaking the very foundation on which the pillars of democracy stands. Anybody who is interested in BIg Data and its consequences on the world, should definitely get their hands on ...more
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After seeing the Netflix movie I approached this title with a huge dose of scepticism. While reading it however it stirred up lots of emotions and thoughts and it also challenged me to revisit my own positions in respect to data privacy and fake news. And I think that this is something we need to do more often these days.
The book might not be an easy read for every one due to heavy use of reference to data analytical topics in some parts - regardless I find It a fascinating and important read pr
Oct 22, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
The evil one percenters are hiring powerful sorcerers that are putting you under a spell. Here's Kaiser, the paladin "telling it how it is". ...more
Karolina Libront
Aug 16, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author is a mix of terrible ego, hypocrisy, self-centered approach to life and naivety. It’s a lousy read and most of all it’s worth neither your time nor your energy.
David  Cook
The first half of this book I found to be a lot of hollow justification for some pretty horrible lapses in moral courage. Brittany Kaiser is a former director at Cambridge Analytica (CA). The book details disinformation campaigns, bots and foreign influence on social media. Kaiser eventually has her own reckoning with how dangerous CA actually was. But until that reckoning she is all too eager to jet around the world living a lifestyle of excess while rubbing elbows and working for corrupt polit ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting (and thoroughly disturbing) firsthand account of the unsavory work done by Cambridge Analytica to manipulate populations in the United States and around the world. Over a period of just 2-3 years, this company helped give birth to the current era of widespread mistrust and division within out society. Cambridge Analytica exploited and monetized already existing societal fault lines in our country (and throughout the world), making manipulation and polarization into a growth indust ...more
Robert Narojek
After reading Targeted, I have very, very mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is an interesting story about how the dream of every marketer can come true, i.e. micro targeting, expected in the branding world from at least 2009. It is a good book in that respect.

On the other hand, while reading this book, I had an overwhelming impression that the author simply wanted to prove her ignorance, adolescent naivety at all costs, and at the same time that she remembers the times at Cambridge Analytica a
Insiyah Rangwala
This is my latest read - #Targeted by An employee of #CambridgeAnalytica, she details her time working there and the different projects she had a hand in. But what I found most brilliant were her explanations of #Data and #DataMining. #Kaiser brilliantly explains the ways data can be used, and explains things as she saw them at the time, pulling off the rose-tinted glasses for the reader at the same time as she pulled them off herself.

I'd definitely give this a read, not just be
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Written by a former Cambridge Analytica employee, Targeted is a behind the scenes look at how our data is being used to manipulate elections, specifically the various campaigns that CA worked on, from Brexit to Trump to foreign elections in Nigeria and Indonesia and Mexico.
The revelations are disturbing, the implications even more so. This book makes it abundantly clear that big tech companies such as Facebook are only paying lip service to data privacy. Money and growth are the priority, how t
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Data ownership, abuse of data, privacy, fake news, data ethics: all very important topics. This book therefore is a must read, together with the book "Zucked" by Roger McNamee and the annual reports of Amy Webbs "Future Today Institute". This book describes in detail the dark side of data capture, profiling and creating fake news. And that this abuse of highly detailed customer data can lead to disruptive changes with a devastating global impact, such as Brexit and the selection of a narcisistic ...more
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
If one must remain skeptical of self biographies, because every self narrative is a fiction to a lesser or extended degree, what does one make of a self biography of a PR who used psychops, behavioral data, and other methods of persuasion and propaganda, in order to target persuadable individuals into changing their political behavior, or even suppress their right to vote?

The most interesting parts of the book are when the author describes the strategies and propaganda used in order to change po
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“When the Oakes brothers ran a defense campaign to stop election violence in South Africa in 1994, they helped to bring about the peaceful election of Nelson Mandela. As Alexander had shown me when I first visited the SCL offices, Mandela himself had endorsed SCL.” 0 likes
“To the Truth: May it set us all free.” 0 likes
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