Review: Dataclysm

Dataclysm is a book by Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OkCupid. It “reveals and explains how people flirt, fight, love, and hate through Facebook, Google, OkCupid, and Twitter”. I came across it via the OkCupid blog: OkTrends. It is mighty interesting – go have a gander if you have time. Unfortunately what is published on OkTrends is the most interesting things spoken about in the book. I thought it would have a lot more trend analysis, instead, a good proportion of the book is about the author’s anecdotes which are neither interesting nor insightful.

The book portends to be about big data, but all the data it uses come from social media sites or OkC. He could have branched out more and extended his research to include more data from Google and other aggregators that paint a more meaningful picture than FB or Twitter. It brushes past statistics and proper data analytics. It hinges on correlations drawn to suit Rudder’s personal ideals. Dataclysm tries to be like Freakanomics but falls remarkably short.

It is a fairly easy read, albeit quite informal at times. Rudder incorporates useful graphs which make interpretations a lot easier. Overall, I give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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