Rudder, Christian. Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking). Crown. Sept. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780385347372. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780385347389. CD/downloadable: Penguin Random Audio. SOCIAL SCIENCE/DATA MODELING
When it’s not being used to manipulate us, data mining can tell us reams of interesting information about human nature. Rudder plunders sites like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and OKCupid (which he founded, along with the just relaunched OKTrends), ultimately drawing on a dataset totaling 185 million people to answer detailed behavioral questions. Does it matter where you went to college? Did you know that iPhone users have more sex? All this from a guy who played in the indie band Bishop Allen and starred in the seminal film Funny Funny Ha Ha after graduating from Harvard.
Schmidt, Eric & Jonathan Rosenberg with Alan Eagle. How Google Does It. Grand Central. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781455582341. $32; ebk. ISBN 9781455530922. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455582334. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. ECONOMICS
In a managerial class at Google created by top execs Schmidt and Rosenberg, one attendee suggested that marking all the slide “Google confidential” missed the spirit of the company. Hence this guidebook on how Google has dealt with hiring, managing, and motivating the best talent to get where it is today. As evidenced here, Google’s business model recognizes how cyberspace possibilities have changed how consumers relate to corporations. With a 100,000-copy first printing.
Schulman, Nev. In Real Life: Love, Lies, and Identity in the Digital Age. Grand Central. Sept. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781455584291. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781455530335. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455584284. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. MEDIA STUDIES
After being misled in an online romance, Schulman made the documentary Catfish, using that term to designate someone who fashions a false online persona to reel in unsuspecting prey. He’s since gone on to host MTV’s top show (yes, it’s called Catfish), which investigates online romances to see whether they are fact or fiction. Here he examines what motivates catfish, why folks fall for them, and how to avoid this particular snare and find real love in cyberspace. Expect big publicity.
Whittle, Richard. Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution. Holt. Sept. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780805099645. $30. MILITARY
Whittle’s coverage of the military ranges over three decades, including 22 years as Pentagon correspondent for the Dallas Morning News. So he’s got the background to chronicle the creation of the drone, the most important development in military and aerospace technology since the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The story leading to the first lethal drone strike in 2001 starts with a maverick Israeli inventor, a couple of wayward fighter pilots, and more, and who knows where it will lead?