Summary of What Stays in Vegas

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  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Engaging


Businesses didn’t always track customers. They sold their wares based on hunches and experience, and they often radically misunderstood their customer base. Now every major corporation gathers data on its consumers and guides its business with that information. Adam Tanner tells the history of that transformation in this compelling book by following the shifts in data collection in different industries, including casino gambling in Las Vegas. getAbstract recommends his fascinating story to anyone interested in privacy, information, data, business trends or how technology changes society.

About the Author

Adam Tanner worked for Reuters News Agency as its Balkans bureau chief and is a fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science.



Information Gathering

Today, almost everywhere, hidden or invisible “data collectors” are gathering information about you. While government data gathering can be disturbing, agencies like the FBI or NSA have to answer to governmental authorities and oversight, and to the people. Private corporations face no such restraints. They gather data using a broad range of methods with one main purpose: “to market their products.” Some firms use these data for darker purposes such as selling gossip, “arrest photos,” Facebook likes, “revenge porn” or other distasteful information products.

What You Leave in Vegas

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks changed business in Las Vegas. People became afraid to travel, and some feared that popular Las Vegas might “become a terrorist target.”

In response to flagging business, the city developed a new slogan: “What Happens Here, Stays Here.” This became transformed in the popular mind to the catch phrase, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” The gamblers flocking to Vegas and the casinos welcoming them could believe that message. For most of its history, Las Vegas relished excess and encouraged visitors to indulge...

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