Catalogue


The numerati /
Stephen Baker.
imprint
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., c2008.
description
244 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
0618784608, 9780618784608
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., c2008.
isbn
0618784608
9780618784608
contents note
Worker -- Shopper -- Voter -- Blogger -- Terrorist -- Patient -- Lover.
abstract
"The Numerati" shows how a powerful new endeavor--the mathematical modeling of humanity--stands to transform everyone's daily life.
catalogue key
6679099
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [231]-232) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
What will the Numerati learn about us as they run us into dizzying combinations of numbers? First they need to find us. Say you're a potential SUV shopper in the northern suburbs of New York, or a churchgoing, antiabortion Democrat in Alburquerque. Maybe you're a Java programmer ready to relocate to Hyderabad, or a jazz-loving, Chianti-sipping Sagittarius looking for walks in the country and snuggles by the fireplace in Stockholm, or--heaven help us--maybe you're eager to strap bombs to your waist and climb onto a bus. Whatever you are--and each of us is a lot of things--companies and governments want to identify and locate you. The Numerati also want to alter our behavior. If we're shopping, they want us to buy more. At the workplace, they're out to boost our productivity. When we're patients, they want us healthier and cheaper. As companies like IBM and Amazon roll out early models of us, they can predict our behavior and experiment with us. They can simulate changes in a store or an office and see how we would likely react. And they can attempt to calculate mathematically how to boost our performance. How would shoppers like me respond to a $100 rebate on top-of-the-line Nikon cameras? How much more productive would you be at the office if you had a $600 course on spreadsheets? How would our colleagues cope if the company eliminated our positions, or folded them into operations in Bangalore? We don't have to participate, or even know that our mathematical ghosts are laboring night and day as lab rats. We'll receive the results of these studies--the optimum course--as helpful suggestions, prescriptions, or marching orders.
First Chapter
What will the Numerati learn about us as they run us into dizzying combinations of numbers? First they need to find us.
Say you're a potential SUV shopper in the northern suburbs of New York, or a churchgoing, antiabortion Democrat in Alburquerque. Maybe you're a Java programmer ready to relocate to Hyderabad, or a jazz-loving, Chianti-sipping Sagittarius looking for walks in the country and snuggles by the fireplace in Stockholm, or--heaven help us--maybe you're eager to strap bombs to your waist and climb onto a bus.
Whatever you are--and each of us is a lot of things--companies and governments want to identify and locate you. The Numerati also want to alter our behavior. If we're shopping, they want us to buy more. At the workplace, they're out to boost our productivity.
When we're patients, they want us healthier and cheaper. As companies like IBM and Amazon roll out early models of us, they can predict our behavior and experiment with us. They can simulate changes in a store or an office and see how we would likely react. And they can attempt to calculate mathematically how to boost our performance. How would shoppers like me respond to a $100 rebate on top-of-the-line Nikon cameras?
How much more productive would you be at the office if you had a $600 course on spreadsheets? How would our colleagues cope if the company eliminated our positions, or folded them into operations in Bangalore? We don't have to participate, or even know that our mathematical ghosts are laboring night and day as lab rats. We'll receive the results of these studies--the optimum course--as helpful suggestions, prescriptions, or marching orders.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2008-09-16:
Verdict: Baker effectively intertwines stories, insights from interviews, and research into an easy-to-read and enjoyable book. However, it would have benefited from a chapter or two on stickier technology-related issues such as data privacy, stereotyping, and the misuse of data for corporate profit. Still, this title is highly recommended for general readers with an appreciation for contemporary cultural phenomenon. Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/08.] Background The Numerati, as Business Week writer and technology issues blogger Baker identifies mathematicians, statisticians, and computer scientists, aggressively mine numerical data to identify patterns and trends that define our collective experience. His new book is a social commentary on how Numerati interpret the data we create as shoppers, voters, lovers, patients, and consumers. Baker introduces us to how data specialists decipher the collective digital trail upon which we find ourselves so swiftly borne. His text illustrates how fundamental and powerful data mining is to government and business to identify digital patterns, trends, profiles, consumer behavior, and attitudes.--Ian D. Gordon, Brock Univ. Lib., St. Catharines, Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Highly recommended for general readers with an appreciation for contemporary cultural phenomenons."
"Stephen Baker could have easily gone for spooky in this depiction of the Numerati . . . but Baker's deep reportage goes beyond smart shopping carts that entice us to run up our grocery bills and political messages crafted on our preference for Chianti . . . The Numerati, Baker writes, try to model 'something almost hopelessly complex: human life and behavior.' They're making progress."
"Steve Baker puts his finger on perhaps the most important cultural trend today: the explosion of data about every aspect of our world and the rise of applied math gurus who know how to use it."--Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine
"'The Numerati' is a book about math that won't cause liberal-arts majors to heave it across the room. The slender volume contains not a single esoteric Greek letter or mystifying equation. What's more, writer Stephen Baker artfully conjures up vivid images to explain what he's talking about and why a reader should care."
"'The Numerati' is a kind of travelogue, a report from the shadowy regions where data mining, the search for new algorithms and the divination for the hidden meanings disclosed by our choices animates a type of research that was impossible to imagine before the computer . . . an interesting book . . . Baker knows well that the Numerati cannot answer the big questions, like where do we go from here? But perhaps they can help us avoid falling off whatever cliffs we decide to peer over."
"'The Numerati' is fascinating and a bit frightening -- a well-written consideration of why you might want to drive a different way to work every now and then, or buy ginger ale rather than Coke, just to throw 'them' off a little." -- Utah Daily Herald
"Deserve[s] a spot on your shelf." Steve Rubel, AdAge
"Crisp, well-reported ... Baker writes with smooth and accessible assurance." - San Francisco Chronicle
"Deserve[s] a spot on your shelf . . . Baker details how companies are hiring math geeks to dissect and make sense of mountains of data to spot everything from consumer patterns to future terrorists." -- Steve Rubel, AdAge
"An eye-opening and chilling book." - Portfolio
"A well-considered take on a hard-to-grasp subject."
"Baker singles out the danger to privacy the Numerati and their techniques represent, but he doesn't take sides. He also points out the advantage of Amazon knowing what books you want, or an insurance company offering discounts to drivers who install electronic monitoring equipment in their cars . . . still, he paints a pretty scary picture." - Chicago Sun-Times
"[A] bracing behind-the-screen investigation into the booming world of data mining and analysis . . . fascinating."
"A highly readable and fascinating account of the number-driven world we now live in."
"A highly readable and fascinating account of the number-driven world we now live in." The Wall Street Journal "[A] bracing behind-the-screen investigation into the booming world of data mining and analysis . . . fascinating." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review "Highly recommended for general readers with an appreciation for contemporary cultural phenomenons." Library Journal "An eye-opening read for even the techiest among us." Bookpage "Deserve[s] a spot on your shelf." Steve Rubel, AdAge "A well-considered take on a hard-to-grasp subject." Kirkus Reviews "Stephen Baker could have easily gone for spooky in this depiction of the Numerati . . . but Baker's deep reportage goes beyond smart shopping carts that entice us to run up our grocery bills and political messages crafted on our preference for Chianti . . . The Numerati, Baker writes, try to model 'something almost hopelessly complex: human life and behavior.' They're making progress." Time Magazine "'The Numerati' is a book about math that won't cause liberal-arts majors to heave it across the room. The slender volume contains not a single esoteric Greek letter or mystifying equation. What's more, writer Stephen Baker artfully conjures up vivid images to explain what he's talking about and why a reader should care." Christian Science Monitor "Utterly fascinating . . . Baker, a veteran journalist at BusinessWeek, manages to explain this cutting edge phenomenon and its sometimes-frightening impacts in accessible prose . . . Baker also does not shy from potential problems with all this data mining and analysis . . . Baker's accessible prose and analysis illuminate this startling new world and its potential problems." Seattle Post-Intelligencer "'The Numerati' is a kind of travelogue, a report from the shadowy regions where data mining, the search for new algorithms and the divination for the hidden meanings disclosed by our choices animates a type of research that was impossible to imagine before the computer . . . an interesting book . . . Baker knows well that the Numerati cannot answer the big questions, like where do we go from here? But perhaps they can help us avoid falling off whatever cliffs we decide to peer over." The Oregonian "Crisp, well-reported ... Baker writes with smooth and accessible assurance." - San Francisco Chronicle "An eye-opening and chilling book." - Portfolio "Baker singles out the danger to privacy the Numerati and their techniques represent, but he doesn't take sides. He also points out the advantage of Amazon knowing what books you want, or an insurance company offering discounts to drivers who install electronic monitoring equipment in their cars . . . still, he paints a pretty scary picture." - Chicago Sun-Times "Deserve[s] a spot on your shelf . . . Baker details how companies are hiring math geeks to dissect and make sense of mountains of data to spot everything from consumer patterns to future terrorists." -- Steve Rubel, AdAge "'The Numerati' is fascinating and a bit frightening -- a well-written consideration of why you might want to drive a different way to work every now and then, or buy ginger ale rather than Coke, just to throw 'them' off a little." -- Utah Daily Herald
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly,
Library Journal, May 2008
Booklist, September 2008
Library Journal, September 2008
New York Times Full Text Review, October 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Every day we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, shop with credit cards, and make cell phone calls. Companies like Yahoo! and Google are harvesting an average of 2,500 details about each of us every month. Who is looking at this data and what are they doing with it? Journalist Stephen Baker explores these questions and provides us with a fascinating guide to the world we're entering-and to the people controlling that world. The Numerati have infiltrated every realm of human affairs, profiling us as workers, shoppers, voters, potential terrorists-and lovers. The implications are vast. Privacy evaporates. Our bosses can monitor our every move. Retailers can better tempt us to make impulse buys. But the Numerati can also work on our behalf, diagnosing an illness before we're aware of the symptoms, or even helping us find our soul mate. Entertaining and enlightening, The Numerati shows how a powerful new endeavor-the mathematical modeling of humanity-will transform every aspect of our lives.
Main Description
Every day we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, shop with credit cards, and make cell phone calls. Companies like Yahoo! and Google are harvesting an average of 2,500 details about each of us every month. Who is looking at this data and what are they doing with it? Journalist Stephen Baker explores these questions and provides us with a fascinating guide to the world we're enteringand to the people controlling that world. The Numerati have infiltrated every realm of human affairs, profiling us as workers, shoppers, voters, potential terroristsand lovers. The implications are vast. Privacy evaporates. Our bosses can monitor our every move. Retailers can better tempt us to make impulse buys. But the Numerati can also work on our behalf, diagnosing an illness before we're aware of the symptoms, or even helping us find our soul mate. Entertaining and enlightening,The Numeratishows how a powerful new endeavorthe mathematical modeling of humanitywill transform every aspect of our lives.
Main Description
"Steve Baker puts his finger on perhaps the most important cultural trend today: the explosion of data about every aspect of our world and the rise of applied math gurus who know how to use it." --Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine (Wired Magazine ) An urgent look at how a global math elite is predicting and altering our behavior -- at work, at the mall, and in bed Every day we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, flip channels, drive through automatic toll booths, shop with credit cards, and make cell phone calls. Now, in one of the greatest undertakings of the twenty-first century, a savvy group of mathematicians and computer scientists is beginning to sift through this data to dissect us and map out our next steps. Their goal? To manipulate our behavior -- what we buy, how we vote -- without our even realizing it. In this tour de force of original reporting and analysis, journalist Stephen Baker provides us with a fascinating guide to the world we're all entering -- and to the people controlling that world. The Numerati have infiltrated every realm of human affairs, profiling us as workers, shoppers, patients, voters, potential terrorists -- and lovers. The implications are vast. Our privacy evaporates. Our bosses can monitor and measure our every move (then reward or punish us). Politicians can find the swing voters among us, by plunking us all into new political groupings with names like "Hearth Keepers" and "Crossing Guards." It can sound scary. But the Numerati can also work on our behalf, diagnosing an illness before we're aware of the symptoms, or even helping us find our soul mate. Surprising, enlightening, and deeply relevant, The Numerati shows how a powerful new endeavor -- the mathematical modeling of humanity -- will transform every aspect of our lives. STEPHEN BAKER has written for BusinessWeek for over twenty years, covering Mexico and Latin America, the Rust Belt, European technology, and a host of other topics, including blogs, math, and nanotechnology. But he's always considered himself a foreign correspondent. This, he says, was especially useful as he met the Numerati. "While I came from the world of words, they inhabited the symbolic realms of math and computer science. This was foreign to me. My reporting became an anthropological mission." Baker has written for many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe. He won an Overseas Press Club Award for his portrait of the rising Mexican auto industry. He is the coauthor of blogspotting.net, featured by the New York Times as one of fifty blogs to watch.
Main Description
An urgent look at how a global math elite is predictingand altering our behavior -- at work, at the mall, and in bed.Every day we produce loads of data about ourselves simply by living in the modern world: we click web pages, flip channels, drive through automatic toll booths, shop with credit cards, and make cell phone calls. Now, in one of the greatest undertakings of the twenty-first century, a savvy group of mathematicians and computer scientists isbeginning to sift through this data to dissect us and map out our next steps. Their goal? To manipulate our behavior -- what we buy, how we vote -- without our even realizing it.In this tour de force of original reporting and analysis, journalist Stephen Baker provides us with a fascinating guide to the world we're all entering -- and to the people controlling that world. The Numerati have infiltrated every realm of human affairs, profiling us as workers,shoppers, patients, voters, potential terrorists -- and lovers. The implications are vast. Our privacy evaporates. Our bosses can monitor and measure our every move (then reward or punish us). Politicians can find the swing voters among us, by plunking us all into new politicalgroupings with names like "Hearth Keepers" and "Crossing Guards." It can sound scary. But the Numerati can also work on our behalf, diagnosing an illness before we're aware of the symptoms, or even helping us find our soul mate. Surprising, enlightening, and deeply relevant,The Numerati shows how a powerful new endeavor -- the mathematical modeling of humanity -- will transform every aspect of our lives.
Description for Library
"The Numerati" shows how a powerful new endeavor--the mathematical modeling of humanity--stands to transform everyone's daily life.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
Workerp. 17
Shopperp. 41
Voterp. 67
Bloggerp. 96
Terroristp. 123
Patientp. 154
Loverp. 182
Conclusionp. 201
Acknowledgmentsp. 219
Notesp. 221
Sources and Further Readingp. 231
Indexp. 233
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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