Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think
By Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier
Houghton Mifflin, 2013, 242 pgs. Nonfiction
This book is a layman’s introduction to new tools and techniques that are being used to “crunch” the data that is the defining characteristic of our “information age.” Using fascinating examples the authors introduce the challenges and rewards of processing large piles of data. They contrast digitization with “datafication” and show how recombining data from different fields can yield innovative results. For example, the Danish Cancer Society combined data on cellphone subscribers with data from cancer registries to determine if cellphone users have a higher rate of cancer (the answer is no). And big data is key to internet marketing strategies - think Amazon.
The volume of digital information gathered each day is nearly impossible to quantify and is growing exponentially. We created the tools to gather it now we need ingenuity and creativity to use it. I highly recommend this book to nonfiction readers.