Review | Dataclysm: Who We Are by Christian Rudder


Title: Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking)

Author: Christian Rudder

Genre: Non-fiction, Science, Psychology, Sociology, Technology

Page Count: 304

Format: Paperback

Source: Received book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review

An audacious, irreverent investigation of human behavior—and a first look at a revolution in the making
Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder uses it to show us who we truly are.
For centuries, we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to study human behavior. Today, a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers, and without filters. Data scientists have become the new demographers.
In this daring and original book, Rudder explains how Facebook “likes” can predict, with surprising accuracy, a person’s sexual orientation and even intelligence; how attractive women receive exponentially more interview requests; and why you must have haters to be hot. He charts the rise and fall of America’s most reviled word through Google Search and examines the new dynamics of collaborative rage on Twitter. He shows how people express themselves, both privately and publicly. What is the least Asian thing you can say? Do people bathe more in Vermont or New Jersey? What do black women think about Simon & Garfunkel? (Hint: they don’t think about Simon & Garfunkel.) Rudder also traces human migration over time, showing how groups of people move from certain small towns to the same big cities across the globe. And he grapples with the challenge of maintaining privacy in a world where these explorations are possible.
Visually arresting and full of wit and insight, Dataclysm is a new way of seeing ourselves—a brilliant alchemy, in which math is made human and numbers become the narrative of our time.”

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I really enjoy sociology and psychology. Matter of fact, I want to major in one of those topics in college. So I thought this was going to be a great read to expand my imagination and awareness. I was expecting a good amount of data, hence the title, and somewhat of a humorous text too. And I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

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This whole novel is set up in sections which I really enjoyed because they explored different topics surrounding relationships, love, online interactions, etc. The use of data in the novel was well-presented and understandable. It was a huge plus for me because I am someone who doesn’t like to read a whole lot of data processing. So having the graphs near the long paragraphs of text really did nicely chunk up the reading for me. They added a good amount of information as well, and they were in color! I thought that was really interesting & unique.

I also enjoyed that the text was relate-able because of the references to social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and dating sites. I don’t use dating sites, but I do use Twitter & Facebook. And the awareness Rudder brought to me about these sites was pretty incredible. I liked hearing a different perspective of the site, especially from the founder of OKCupid, Christian Rudder. I haven’t heard of that dating site before reading this novel, so while he did reference to the site a lot, I didn’t understand every single idea.

You may assume that this novel is set up sort of like a textbook, but it really isn’t. While it does have data & statistics, Rudder does a great job on keeping an informal & formal voice throughout the novel. It is nonfiction, and that tends to get a little boring. And I must admit at some parts I just skimmed the page. But a good portion of the novel was humorous and well-paced and that’s what kept me reading.

Overall I did like reading something I normally wouldn’t read. It was great to be able to read from a different perspective & gain further knowledge on the study of sociology and psychology. The entire premises was informative, yet engaging and that was really surprising. However like I mentioned above, at times it did get a little dreading and repetitive for me. It isn’t a novel I would pick up again, but it was a good one-time read.


So what’s my rating?

I gave Christian Rudder’s, Dataclysm, a…

3.5 out of 5 stars

Let me know down below your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this novel!

Thanks for reading…




Filed under Book Review

4 responses to “Review | Dataclysm: Who We Are by Christian Rudder

  1. Nice review ! 🙂 Btw we tagged you in this fun post : 😀 -Trang

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Pingback: November Book/Art Wrap-Up | Life : books, the arts, and nature.

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