Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dataclysm: Pop Science as it's Meant to be Done



I liked this book so much I stayed up until almost three o’clock reading it on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

When I was done, the next morning, I eagerly told my wife about all the cool things that were within the pages. I first showed her the graphs the author compiled from the OK Cupid dataset showing that women, in terms of what men say they find attractive, are pretty much over the hill when they’re 22.

 What I liked even better is a chapter called “Tall for an Asian,” where the author looks at the words that people use to describe themselves. They also look at the words that people don’t use to describe themselves, and then compare those to make a composite of the most [fill in the blank] words a certain ethnicity will use. For example, one of the most Asian things to say is that you are tall for an Asian. One of the least Asian things to say is “My name is Ashley”.

This book is full of cool little tidbits like that. It is also clearly written and the data is well visualized – the printers used more than black and white to visualize the charts. On top of all of that, how many books that are categorized as “Social Science – Statistics” will have blurbs from both Dan Ariely and Aziz Ansari? You have to read this book.