Monthly book roundup – 2017 August

Books finished in August:
(Warning: reviews are unpolished and quickly written.)

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are (2017) by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. Entertaining and interesting. Maybe jumping to conclusions a little fast, e.g. Obama lost four percent of votes in areas with racist searches. He often takes google searches to be random samples of people’s thoughts, which they are not, and often does not seem not to worry about selection in who searches and why. Fun: seeming breastfeeding wife fetish in India, vagina smell most searched by women, English vs Spanish autocomplete with pregnant wife; but could discuss more what drives results.
Falsifiable Freud: phallos shaped fruit like banana and cucumber not more common than other fruits and vegetables in dreams. But this does not really falsify, everything may mean something. Better on Freudian slips – typing errors with sexual connotations not unusual compared to random. But a Freudian will presumably still believe it does mean something when a human commits such an error… The book loses focus somewhat when starting to talk about big data generally. Good and sober section on the dangers and desirability/fairness of using big data information to assess loan applications etc. Recommended.

Ratings and previous books are in the library.

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