This book is on the best-seller list on Amazon for several weeks as of April, 2013. The authors are Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, who is a Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford Internet Institute, and Kenneth Cukier, who has been a journalist for The Economist for many years.
The book starts by giving an overview on the history of big data and the beginnings of quantification. It talks about Arabic numerals and Mathematics, as well as about how quantification was created. As these notions are introduced, the book starts to present the concept of big data in terms of sciences, business, and entertainment and how these fields apply it to achieve success through Internet.
It specifically talks about how data-sets can be beneficially used by those who have it and also by those who only make use of it.
Reading this book you will learn about:
1. The entire data-set that Google applies to its business (for example when Google analyzed its query-history and did a comparison with data from CDC on flu outbreaks, they have discovered they could predict flu epidemics ahead of CDC).
2. Target advertising through big-data (how Amazon has become such a giant in the past decade).
3. Big-Data in terms of businesses (inside factories and outside the factory).
4. The concept of big-data in Health-Care and in the Government (when it comes to the Consumer Price Index, as well as in Public Safety).
5. The Dangers of Big-Data (in terms of privacy and profiling – how big companies such as Google or Amazon monitor the behavior of their users and what could happen if this information is used improperly).
All in all, Big-Data provides a very sound study on the importance of data-sets in all aspects of the modern life and it points out that the era of big-data is only at its commencements. There are various theories where it can lead; however, the authors envision bright outcomes as big-data has started to have an important influence on the society today.
Quote from the book:
“Which paint color is most likely to tell you that a used car is in good shape? How can officials identify the most dangerous New York City manholes before they explode? And how did Google searches predict the spread of H1N1 flu outbreak?
The key to answering these questions, and many more, is big data. “Big data” refers to our new found ability to crunch a vast quantity of information, analyze it instantly, and draw sometimes astonishing conclusions from it. [….] Big Data is the first big book about the next big thing.”
Here is how to get the most out of this book through the technique of Smart Reading:
1. Take a pen and start interacting with the book by underlining concepts, circling words and/or highlighting paragraphs which you think are the most import. Make internet searches as you find interesting concepts.
2. Different ideas will flow through your mind as you go along with reading the book. Write them down on the blank sides of the pages.
3. Take the book every now and then and re-read everything you have highlighted, circled, and/or underlined. Focus on the ideas you have written down. Create your own bright ideas from the book.
Doing these three easy steps will practically boost your knowledge, it will help you to easily apply the most important principles of the book and you will land among the 3% of the most successful people in the world.
Note: If you read the book on a smartphone or tablet, just use an application which allows you to highlight and write notes within the book. There are plenty of such applications.
Get it here (I highly recommend the hard cover version):