Dataclysm

Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking)
Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
4 out of 5 stars (343 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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 study human behavior. Today, a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers, and without filters. Data scientists have become the new demographers.

In this daring and original book, Rudder explains how Facebook "likes" can predict, with surprising accuracy, a person’s sexual orientation and even intelligence; how attractive women receive exponentially more interview requests; and why you must have haters to be hot. He charts the rise and fall of America’s most reviled word through Google Search and examines the new dynamics of collaborative rage on Twitter. He shows how people express themselves, both privately and publicly. What is the least Asian thing you can say? Do people bathe more in Vermont or New Jersey? What do black women think about Simon & Garfunkel? (Hint: they don't think about Simon & Garfunkel.) Rudder also traces human migration over time, showing how groups of people move from certain small towns to the same big cities across the globe. And he grapples with the challenge of maintaining privacy in a world where these explorations are possible.

Visually arresting and full of wit and insight, Dataclysm is a new way of seeing ourselves - a brilliant alchemy, in which math is made human and numbers become the narrative of our time.

©2014 Christian Rudder (P)2014 Random House Audio
What members say
Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    155
  • 4 Stars
    95
  • 3 Stars
    71
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    13
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    135
  • 4 Stars
    92
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    10
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    128
  • 4 Stars
    75
  • 3 Stars
    63
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    11

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

They read the data tables--it is painful

Would you try another book from Christian Rudder and/or Kaleo Griffith?

Yes.

What did you like best about this story?

The story is great. The direction on the audio performance is bizarrely terrible.

What didn’t you like about Kaleo Griffith’s performance?

For some reason the director of this audio performance thought it would be a good idea to read the many long tables out loud. Imagine sitting though five minutes of the narrator reading a 120 data table. It is PAINFUL.

I love audio books and particularly enjoy non-fiction. This is one you need to read in print, though.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Buy the book. Experience it visually.

Would you listen to Dataclysm again? Why?

No.
This is a book to look at, not to listen to. Listening to descriptions of graphs and the contents of tables is far less efficient and effective than looking at them. While deeply interesting, reading the book in this form was tedious despite the narrator doing a wonderful job at a hopeless task. What was I thinking?

Any additional comments?

It's not the content or the narrator that's the problem. It's the format.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining listen

Just a note that the tables being read out loud really isn't that bad. When the first table was read, I laughed and said "oh no" out loud. That was probably the longest and hardest table to follow though. Table I'm referencing here is women's/men's age vs. age of interest FYI.

I thought the listen would be full of tables but there aren't that many. Don't let the fact that there are tables read out loud stop you from listening. It did for me for a few months.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Wish a PDF with charts is available

Is there anything you would change about this book?

the over flow is good. Since the book is about data and findings, it would be really helpful to provide a visual. I found it hard to follow when the narrator reads off a graph or a chart for 10 minutes.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Know thyself

A fascinating, if unsettling, look at true human behavior as extrapolated from Internet data. The chapters dealing with racism are some of the most revealing about American race relations.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best book on big data yet!

There's a revolution going on around big data and this book explains it better than any other that I've read so far. The author explains how data is cataclysmic (like a flood), how it is changing the way we can study the world, and what are some of the kinds of conclusions we can draw about people by analyzing the data correctly.

Today is a social scientist's dream world. We can learn things about how individuals (or segmented groups) behave unlike any other time before in history and our abilities to understand our networks, desires and motivations are just waiting for some behavioral scientist (or even more nefariously an evil corporation or a corrupt government) to fully analyze the data trail we leave behind. Instead of guessing about human nature we are in a position to know about our behavior (at least for people up to the age of 50!, post 50 year olds aren't always fully represented in the datasets).

There is one warning about this book for audible listeners. Of all the books I have listened to this one handled tables and graphs the least effectively. Note to author: take a minute or two and re-write the graphs and tables with the audio version in mind. Sometimes the narrative got lost in reading a table out loud. I could follow the conversation, but it got deadly boring at times.

This book reminds me of a Gladwell book or Freakenomics, but is much better because it never strays from the data and never lets the model under discussion stray to far from what the data (reality) is really saying. The real strength of this book is not so much the specific examples he gives in the book, but it acts as a guide to how a smart person can change the data from just a bunch of messy information, to organized data, then to knowledge and then finally wisdom.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting

I was concerned about all of the reviews complaining about the reading of graphs and charts. It actually wasn’t so bad after all and the content was sufficiently interesting.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Raindrop in this Flood

Christian's talent for coaxing the fascinating from the mundane and unfathomable is peerless. While the most painful part of this book, as mentioned by others, is indeed listening to the narration of infographics and tables of sorted data, some careful listening and looking for our friends or ourselves in those numbers makes it digestible.

I have used OkCupid on and off for years, and it is charming in a sense to know answering all those questions led to what eventually became this book. Maybe I have an irrational sense of belonging here but it's better than feeling like Christian used me like a bad first date just looking for someone to pay the bill after an awkward dinner --- with my electronic permission, of course.

The narration is fantastic, doing the voice of the author great justice. If you like random trivia, enjoy people watching at bars, or have wasted hours of your life wondering why people think (and date) the ways they do when it comes to seeking out relationships --- you are in for a fantastic and illuminating ride. Dataclysm is dank.

Skip it if strangers' sex habits and personal opinions turned into surprising realizations about the world, and probably yourself, scares you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing

Although I don't necessarily agree with all of the conclusions, it was fascinating to hear the stats gathered and analytical techniques used. Overall, a well-produced book that I would like to see in person so as to get a better grasp of the tables and charts (always difficult to reproduce in audio formats).

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Reading graphs is boring

There are places where the author has the voice actor reading multiple graphs. It is hard to grasp the meaning of the data when it's being read aloud.