Data-ism: The Revolution Transforming Decision Making, Consumer Behavior, and Almost Everything Else

Steve Lohr. Harper Business, $29.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-222681-5
New York Times technology correspondent and Bits Blog columnist Lohr (To Go) offers a nuanced look at the rise of big data, and the challenges the world faces in maximizing the “technological payoff” while minimizing the risk to personal privacy. He starts by illustrating the need for better ways to manage huge amounts of data, with a visit to the intensive-care unit at Emory University Hospital, noting that a typical 20-bed unit generates an estimated 160,000 data points a second. The sheer volume overwhelms human capacity for processing, but analyzing “vast amounts of data and spotting seemingly subtle patterns is where computers and software algorithms excel.” Data technology also has the potential to dramatically improve efficiency in industries such as energy and agriculture. But Lohr is not a mere cheerleader for the power of information, and he suggests that enthusiasm for “big-data decision making” must be tempered with humility, given the important aspects of life that cannot be quantified, and the power of complex algorithms to make harmful, and mistaken, data-based predictions. In this accessible introduction to a complex topic, Lohr offers insight valuable to both businesses and everyday people. Agent: Max Brockman, Brockman, Inc. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/19/2015
Release date: 03/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-239736-2
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-0017-0
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-06-222683-9
Paperback - 978-0-06-222682-2
Ebook - 297 pages - 978-1-78074-519-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4815-3378-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4815-3379-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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