Summary of Everybody Lies

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Economist and former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz delves into some of the darker aspects of US society and reveals how the new age of big data sets provides insights about America today. His accessible writing makes his data analysis approachable, as he explains how data analysis like his works and how analysts utilize data sets. He also covers relevant advances in analytics. Building from his ground-breaking political research, he discusses sociology, psychology, economics, medicine and crime. Be forewarned: Stephens-Davidowitz discusses his and others’ research into racism, child abuse, sexuality and pornography in stark terms, including specific racial slurs used in the research. This startling overview is informed reading for anyone seeking to understand how big data can shape contemporary life and attitudes.

About the Author

Former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz – now a visiting lecturer at the Wharton School and a New York Times op-ed contributor – uses big data to reveal underlying currents in human behaviors and attitudes. 



The Truth Emerges According to Analysis of Google Searches

In the late 1990s, Google vanquished rival search-engines, such as MetaCrawler, Lycos and Altavista, by creating an algorithm that returned more meaningful search results than they did. Analysts now plumb exactly what people search on Google for to derive findings that illuminate the kinds of truths users reveal when typing anonymously into a search engine. The benefit of tracking Google searches as an analytical tool isn’t their pervasiveness or the amount of data they generate. The benefit is that people acting anonymously search for issues with an honesty that traditional survey and poll methodologies can never plumb. This makes trusting polls an antiquated, misleading strategy.

For example, before and after President Barack Obama’s first election, Gallup polls and researchers concluded that most voters didn’t care about his racial heritage. Therefore, pundits said the 2008 election marked the emergence of a “post-racial society” in the United States. However, on election night, one in...

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