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Summary

Big data knows where you've been and who your friends are. It knows what you like and what makes you angry. It can predict what you'll buy, where you'll be the victim of crime and when you'll have a heart attack. Big data knows you better than you know yourself, or so it claims.

But how well do you know big data? You've probably seen the phrase in newspaper headlines, at work in a marketing meeting, or on a fitness-tracking gadget. But can you understand it without being a Silicon Valley nerd who writes computer programs for fun? Yes. Yes, you can.

Timandra Harkness writes comedy, not computer code. The only programmes she makes are on the radio. Starting with the basics - what is data? And what makes it big? - Timandra takes you on a whirlwind tour of how people are using big data today: from science to smart cities, business to politics, self-quantification to the Internet of Things. Finally, she asks the big questions about where it's taking us: is it too big for its boots, or does it think too small? Are you a data point or a human being? Will this book be full of rhetorical questions?

No. It also contains puns, asides, unlikely stories, engaging people, inspiring feats and thought-provoking dilemmas, leaving you armed and ready to decide what you think about one of the decade's big ideas: big data.

©2016 Timandra Harkness (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

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What listeners say about Big Data

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The best narration I've heard so far!

Extremely well read. I wasn't sure about the first couple of chapters but it's great after that. A bit more technical stuff would have been good for me. e.g. on how computers are able to identify patterns/links in big data

1 person found this helpful

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disappointing

Would you try another book written by Timandra Harkness or narrated by Timandra Harkness?

I bought this book hoping that I would learn something. I've managed to listen to about three hours but haven't learned anything. This book is incredibly basic and I found the author/narrator quite annoying - not funny and takes ages to get to the point. I'm going to have to return this one as I can't stand it.

Would you ever listen to anything by Timandra Harkness again?

no

What didn’t you like about Timandra Harkness’s performance?

I think she was trying to be funny - but I didn't find her funny at all.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Big Data?

Most of it. Just get to the point.

1 person found this helpful

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Fabulous read

I've often wondered about "big data". What if means, what people are doing with it, what the limitations are. If you're off the same mind then this is a fabulous introduction to a huge topic.

I love the author's internal style and it feels almost like you're just having a chat. If that was the intention then it was well placed and succeeded very well. I shall be looking into more about this exciting area. Many thanks.

1 person found this helpful

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Intelligent, humorous introduction

This is an engaging, informative & highly engaging introduction to Big Data and its myriad applications - from monitoring your partner's whereabouts to predicting crime

Harkness also provides a great history of the development of data, ranging from the rise of the census through to its abuse in the name of eugenics (and speculates on some of the contemporary risks of looking to 'the evidence' to solve all political problems

Anyone familiar with her Radio 4 programmes (Human Zoo or Futureproofing) or science stand-up will be familiar with Harkness' easy-going delivery and humorous approach to complex subjects, illuminating technical topics without dumbing down & providing plenty of philosophical and critical analysis

Highly recommended to anyone trying to grapple with one of the great buzzwords of our time or anyone familiar with topic seeking a more sceptical viewpoint

3 people found this helpful

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Irritating and pointless book

The most annoying person I have ever heard narrate a book, particularly when she puts on a very bad American accent when quoting someone from the US who has contributed to the book. It’s totally unnecessary and distracting. I thought the book was boring. It’s basically a book about statistics on topics you probably already know about. Do yourself a favour and skip this book. This is the first time I have ever written a negative review. I enjoy reading books and listening to audible, but this was a waste of time.

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Digging up the data with humour and clarity

Light-hearted and wide-ranging look at data and its usefulness to us and those collecting it.

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Good book on data

Great narration by the author, really mate it easy to listen too. It got abit "data is the enemy" for me at places, but was still an interesting listen.

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Brilliant

Really clear description of something that can be very complex with some fascinating insights into to what big data is and how it effects us all.

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Fascinating and fun

I wasn't sure about the level of this book as it does start from the very basic fundamentals but it does build into some really brilliant chapters. Loved it and will be keeping an eye open for more books by Ms Harkness.

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funny and informative

timandra really walks through the explanation of big data and does this with good humour.
I was actually a bit sad to have come to the end.