Brooklyn Heights

Everybody Lies: Brooklynite’s new book confirms old suspicion

Brooklyn BookBeat

April 26, 2017 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jacket design by Lisa Amoroso

In a world where endless information is available at the touch of a screen, much of what we think we know about people is dead wrong.  The reason is simple — we all lie, not only to each other but to doctors, surveys and most importantly, ourselves.

Brooklynite Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a Harvard-trained economist, former Google data scientist, and New York Times writer, argues that we no longer need to rely on what people actually tell us. New data from our online lives finally reveals the truth.  

By the end of an average day, human beings searching the internet amass eight trillion gigabytes of data.  When viewed the right way, these traces of digital information point to our deepest desires, hopes, prejudices and fears.  

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In “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Reveals About Who We Really Are,” Stephens-Davidowitz puts a human face on this data, revealing how it can be put to tangible use to pinpoint how people really feel, what they really want and the secrets we harbor even from ourselves.

At the heart of Stephens-Davidowitz’s work is the concept of the internet as the ultimate truth serum.  Unlike the curated versions of ourselves that we present to the outside world, our Google searches and other online behaviors are where we are most honest, and are a goldmine of previously untapped intel on what’s really going on inside our heads.

When viewed through the right lens and alongside the right questions, these under the radar data points bring to light shocking insights that will change the way we understand ourselves.  Unlike most of the current discourse on big data, “Everybody Lies” demonstrates how we can actually use it to answer questions about everything from ethics and equality, to business, health, gender and race — questions which would normally be virtually impossible to tackle, including:

  • How many Americans are racist?

  • Do parents truly view their sons and daughters equally?

  • Who cheats on their taxes?

  • Does advertising actually work?

  • Does where you grow up affect your chances for success in life?

  • Does violent media actually encourage violent behavior?

  • What should you say on a first date if you want a second?

The answers to questions like these are in the data we unwittingly create as we interact with the world online, and Stephens-Davidowitz is making sense of it in a way that no one has before. “Everybody Lies” represents an entirely new way to look at the information around us and shows how new internet data can change how we view the world — provided we ask the right questions


Published by Dey St., “Everybody Lies” will be on sale May 9.


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