Home > Uncategorized > New York Times Book Review and more!

New York Times Book Review and more!

October 4, 2016

Please forgive me for posting constantly about the amazing press my book is getting, I’m milking this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Because, HOLY SHIT!

Clay Shirky wrote a review of my book in the NY Times Book Review in the context of a Reader’s Guide To This Fall’s Big Book Awards. It has this attractive accompanying graphic:


Also, I talked with Russ Roberts a while back about my book and it’s now on EconTalk as a podcast.

Also, when I visited London last week I made a trip to the Guardian offices and recorded a Guardian Science podcast which also features Douglas Rushkoff.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 4, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I’m a sucker for teal hair, so you’re forgiven!


  2. October 4, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Congrats, saw it last night and ran it through Twitter. Don’t feel bad about promoting the book at all, it’s a good thing and the timing is good.

    Here’s something you might want to peek at. A doctor confronts CDC sponsored online test and they way the queries and algos run, it ends up assessing all who take the test of being at risk of developing pre-diabetes. We all know too that Frieden, who runs the CDC was also Bloomberg’s partner in the Big Gulp Dupe too, so same duping moves on to other places. Wealthy people get duped too but they play that down in the news:)


    There’s already been medical journal reports as well with pre-diabetes marketing that turns otherwise healthy people into patients with a “worry” of developing diabetes, to sell drugs of course. With tests like this one, maybe only a quarter of the folks, and that is just a pure speculation might even develop it. It’s about making you feel insecure more than anything else as your doctor is the one to turn to with diabetes, not this stuff on the web.

    Keep the book rolling!


  3. October 4, 2016 at 10:58 am

    What a remarkable launch. Congratulations.


  4. Richard H Caldwell
    October 5, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Good for you, Cathy! May your book be widely read, widely quoted, and deeply influential. Thanks for your voice.


  5. October 5, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I’d humbly like to offer a small correction: given your powerful message and superior intellectual ability, this will be more than a “once in a lifetime” occurrence for you =) This is just the beginning!


  6. Mary E McGinnis
    October 5, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Congratulations! It’s a wonderful and important book. You should be proud. Really opened my eyes.


  7. October 5, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    I agree that it is beginning. Machine learning has been around for a while but there are scary advances in AI. I think that careful research studies could be conducted using machine learning and statistical techniques to at least validate AI conclusions. Regardless of commentary on an individual’s journalistic integrity, it is important to have influential figureheads to lead these discussions. Do critics only skim abstracts? I sometimes have to ask myself.


  8. oxymoron#3
    October 7, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I am in the midst of reading your book. I have to tell you that you are quickly becoming one of my heroes. Although I have suspected it for quite some time, your book provides the detail needed to understand how big data is affecting each of our lives personally, and not always for the better. Technology in the hands of amoral systems are destructive and dangerous…yet, few people are asking where these “advances” may lead us.


  9. October 12, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Well, like many I have much enjoyed your ‘Weapons of Math Destruction’, and have been doing my bit in recommending it to friends. It surely deserves to be widely read, and indeed it would be even better if it garners a prize.
    So can I ask for some minor modifications in the next edition, which must surely come.
    It might have already have been brought to your attention that Kent, in England, is not a city but a county. Not as infamous as Kent State University in Ohio.
    ‘Rejigger’ – on page 67 of the UK paperback edition. I had to check this, because in UK English ‘jigger’ is to mess something up; we would say ‘rejig’ for ‘rejigger’.
    The use of large percentages: It always seems to me that people have difficulty when terms like ‘a four hundred per cent increase’ etc are used, rather than a simple multiple, saying that something has increased five times. It seems better (to me) to reserve percentages for genuinely fractional increases or decreases, like 110%, or 90%.
    On page 209 you talk about positive feedback loops. It would be helpful to clarify how the term is used differently depending on context. In systems, positive feedback usually leads to the system becoming unstable and breaking down; negative feedback is usually a stabilising influence. In common speech, positive feedback is interpreted as encouragement; negative feedback as (unpleasant) criticism. The positive loop that you describe seems more akin to a heuristic corrective, which is exactly what you want in an algorithm, and in terms of systems would be ‘negative feedback’. Perhaps that seems overly pedantic…
    On page 129 the reference to the chaotic lives experience by children reminded me of the observations in Richard Sennett’s book ‘The Corrosion of Character’, where he similarly notes similar damaging effects upon family life. (He is describing the States.)
    The use, or rather misuse, of algorithms brought to mind two things. First the way that Alfred Binet’s attempt to use measures of intelligence as a way of helping children who were struggling became instead a means of classifying and then discounting these children. Second, it reminded me of a short science fiction story: ‘No Fire Burns’ by Avram Davidson, in which a psychologist devises a test for psychopathy, initially understanding that it will be used to weed out unsuitable employees, but then discovering that it will be used to select people with no conscience who will willingly murder:

    Tests – and algorithms – are tools which can be used for good or ill. I do agree about your demand that there be a code of ethics.

    Thank you so much for your book. I hope it makes a difference.

    John Henderson [sorry of this gets posted twice…]


  10. aalasti
    October 23, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    You’re on the Harvard website’s main page, also.


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