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Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match [Kindle Edition]

Amy Webb
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $8.01 (50%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description


A lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman "gamed" online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid and eHarmony - and met her eventual husband.
After yet another online dating disaster, Amy Webb was about to cancel her JDate membership when an epiphany struck: It wasn't that her standards were too high, as women are often told, but that she wasn't evaluating the right data in suitors' profiles. That night Webb, an award-winning journalist and digital-strategy expert, made a detailed, exhaustive list of what she did and didn't want in a mate. The result: seventy-two requirements ranging from the expected (smart, funny) to the super-specific (likes selected musicals: Chess, Les Misérables. Not Cats. Must not like Cats!). 

Next she turned to her own profile. In order to craft the most compelling online presentation, she needed to assess the competition--so she signed on to JDate again, this time as a man. Using the same gift for data strategy that made her company the top in its field, she found the key words that were digital man magnets, analyzed photos, and studied the timing of women's messages, then adjusted her (female) profile to make the most of that intel. 

Then began the deluge--dozens of men wanted to meet her, men who actually met her requirements. Among them: her future husband, now the father of her child.

Forty million people date online each year. Most don't find true love. Thanks to Data, a Love Story, their odds just got a whole lot better.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When journalist-turned-consultant Webb ended a serious relationship at age 30, she turned to online dating to seek her match and avoid horrible setups arranged by her mother. The men she meets on JDate and Match.com prove to be disappointments. They are disingenuous about their physical appearance, they stick her with the tab, and one turns out to be married. Rather than being discouraged, however, Webb combines her investigative skills with her mathematical savvy to better understand how online dating sites work, and who is having the most success with them. She creates several male profiles in order to check out how other women are marketing themselves, particularly the women whose profiles pop up right away, indicating they’re getting the highest volume of responses. Once she’s gathered her data, Webb applies it to her own profile, changing the wording and redoing her pictures. Webb’s clever and inventive experiment, as well as her success story, will be inspiring and eye-opening for anyone who has ever turned to one of the many popular online dating sites in search of love. --Kristine Huntley

Review

"Ultimately, [Webb] got her man, 'a storybook wedding' and the longed-for child. Pleasant, geeky fun. -Kirkus Book Reviews
"Amy Webb found her true love after a search that's both charmingly romantic and relentlessly data-driven. Anyone who uses online dating sites must read her funny, fascinating book."--Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project 
"Webb's advice for dating both on and offline is insightful, and her descriptions of meddling family members, bad dates, and worse profiles are hilarious and familiar to anyone who's tried dating online...Funny, brutally honest, and inspirational even to the most hopeless dater." - Publishers Weekly
"Like Amy Webb herself, Data, A Love Story is blunt, witty, charming, informative, smart, and true. It's Mr. Spock meets Mary Tyler Moore as logical Amy turns her life into an algorithm and finds the formula for love." - Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do?
"Webb's clever and inventive experiment, as well as her success story, will be inspiring and eye-opening for anyone who has ever turned to one of the many popular online dating sites in search of love." -Booklist
"[This] book is about pragmatic approaches to partnership, the freedom that comes from asking for what you want, and the clarity that follows honest assessments of oneself and others. (And it's brave, funny, and smart to boot.)"  -Anna Holmes, founder of Jezebel.com
"I LOVE THIS BOOK TO DEATH! This is online dating for geeks, for women, for men, for anyone who would like to meet his or her soul mate or just a playmate, and despairs of ever doing so." -Cindy Gallop, founder of IfWeRanTheWorld.com

Product Details

  • File Size: 2847 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (January 31, 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008BM0NLA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,607 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Data aspect of the book is a little weak March 20, 2013
Format:Hardcover
I work with data as part of my job and I've been using online dating sites off and on since 2005 so this book seemed right up my alley. After reading about it on several websites to say I was anticipating reading this book wasn't an understatement.

Basically, Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match is the story of writer Amy Webb who, after being frustrated with her initial attempts at online dating, decides to use data to game the system, have better results, and ultimately meet the man of her dreams. It is a premise that I am sure resonates with many online daters (I know it did for me) because there is often a stark difference between the way dating sites are presented in their commercials and the reality that many online daters experience when they sign up.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure this book lived up the hype. For starters, there just wasn't enough focus on the 'data' part of the story for my tastes. Given its prominence in the title and the degree to which it was referenced in the articles I read before picking up the book, I was disappointed to find it comprised less than 1/3 of the content. The rest talks about the relationship and online dating struggles that lead her to game the system in the first place, the other things she did to improve her chances (i.e. going to the gym, buying new clothes, and getting a hair cut), and her experience dating after doing her research. To me these sections weren't as interesting or compelling to me as the data side of the story in part. I think this was partially because her storytelling wasn't really on par with the memoirs I usually read.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mind-numbing self-absorption July 3, 2013
Format:Hardcover
Amazon reviews tend to have something in common with this book-they run on, and on, and on. Here's the quick hits:

Yes, the author is neurotic (as presented in her book, I'm not claiming personal experience here, thank Jewish Guy) in a non-cute, difficult to sympathize with way.

Yes, this is the self-obsessed, awkward, repetetive, list-heavy, repetetive, repetetive, and perhaps even REPETETIVE book you haven't been looking for. We get it. You have a list. By the third or fourth nitpicking revision, I wanted to get this back to the library ASAP to preserve my patience and faith in humanity.

Is there any practical information here for those seeking online connection to their future spouses? Not unless you consider marketing yourself to the point of straight up false advertising practical information. Shallow, shallow stuff.

I couldn't make myself finish it, but got stuck at the DMV before I could return it to the library, and thus got inspired, much as prison inspires weightlifting: it was better than staring at a wall. That said, I really can't say that reading this was a rewarding experience for me. I felt like I got scammed by a marketing campaign, which is heavy irony considering the content of the book.

Vayo con diablos!
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126 of 140 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Highly Questionable Ethics August 4, 2013
By L2theP
Format:Hardcover
A friend recommended this book to me, as I have done some online dating in the past. It's a quick read with fine writing, not challenging to get through. However, around the chapter where Ms. Webb starts logging in to jdate as a series of falsified male profiles, I realized I was feeling really, really bothered by this book. I think it goes deeper than frustration with her neuroticism and lack of social grace. It's that she has a genuine disregard for other people! I found it distasteful that she would head off mid-date to email about how terrible the person was. Yes, online dates can be tough and people can be duplicitous, but if you stoop to their level, you are no better. But then - the hypocrisy - the most duplicitous turns out to be Ms. Webb, who engages with 96 women on jdate who all believe her to be a man looking to date women. Perhaps, if she had logged in as a man to check out a few profiles and learn a few tips that might have been okay. But responding to messages of unknowing women was so...mean-spirited. Almost as mean-spirited as her merciless mocking of these women's profiles, who never intended to put themselves out there for such a purpose. She kept smugly comparing herself to a researcher...she likes data and spreadsheets, she knows people at MIT, she knows the formula for the correlation coefficient. Oh, Honey, no. I am a PhD-level researcher, and here's what sets us apart: real researchers have to abide by these things called "ethics" - which would not allow duping all those women because you can't get a man. Many of Webb's take-aways (profile word clouds, photo analysis, etc) have been analyzed and documented on the okcupid dating website blog (so you can go there for tips instead of paying for this book). Read more ›
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
You're either going to love or hate this book. I did both, so I have to give it a mixed review.

It used to be that if a fellow was decent and kind, honest and faithful, and could provide for a family, he was considered good husband material. Now, apparently, there is a new generation of upwardly mobile Jewish women trolling for trophy husbands on JDate and other sites. This is the story of one woman's neurotic, obsessive search for the perfect prince-doctor-husband. It is occasionally entertaining, sometimes moving, but often annoying. If you share the author's values that people can be reduced to a set of superficial stereotypes, that desires of the heart can be described with equations, and that "anything goes" in the search for your own Perfect mate, then you might enjoy this. The rest of us will cringe and moan as we read it.

The underlying premise of online dating is simple and seductive: given a large enough pool of potential matches and enough information about each one, finding the perfect mate can be reduced to a data-crunching problem. One must gather, filter and interpret the data posted by others and manage and manipulate the data you put out about yourself. The author, a self-avowed data geek who is as happy in a big pile of data as a pig in... well, you know, resolves to become an online dating Ninja so she can find that Perfect Husband needle in a haystack of mostly mediocre men.

She begins by defining the attributes of her perfect husband; not just the top 5 or 10 or 20, but a detailed list of 72 requirements. Of course, "tall, dark and handsome" are givens, but he must also be good with money and "very, very, very good in bed". Naturally, Mr.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book. Will definitely use the information. Powerful & specific. Perfect delivery.
Published 15 days ago by M. Sherman
3.0 out of 5 stars A Love Story?
It was an easy read and an interesting concept but certainly not a love story. It won't appeal to everyone; it is kind of nerdy. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Theresa A. Bushman
5.0 out of 5 stars On-Line Dating
Amy Webb has written a book that was riveting
from the beginning to the end .
Amazon did a great job shipping the book all the
way to Australia for me .
Published 17 days ago by davidwilliamalgie
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I was disappointed because I did not find the specific pointers for finding out more about potential online matches.
Published 24 days ago by Loretta Ramseyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, informative, emotional, brilliant.
I laughed, I cried. I identified with the online dating struggles also being a well-traveled, "married to her job," independent woman. Read more
Published 2 months ago by traveling buckeye
1.0 out of 5 stars More Like Lying Not Cracking...
Cracking Online... No one cracks anything Online except if they happen to have a very extensive computers knowledge, in one word a hacker. Read more
Published 2 months ago by NYFB [Je suis Charlie ET Ahmed]
4.0 out of 5 stars and a happy ending. Good read
A fast-reading, interesting book. Full of situations I could relate to, light-hearted humor, and a happy ending. Good read.
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars not just for those wanting to find a mate
I'm happily married. When I heard the author on a PBS radio interview I was intrigued by her story. I really enjoyed reading her journey to true love.
Published 2 months ago by Lindaull
3.0 out of 5 stars making the most of online dating
This was really good. lots of insights about how to maximize your online dating profile.
Published 3 months ago by Adrienne
5.0 out of 5 stars This formula works
I applied many of the outlined factors onto my online dating profile and I would say that overall, the amount of email I get in my inbox has increased without doubt. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Nicole
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More About the Author

Amy Webb is a professional disruptor (that's a good thing!). She leads a brilliant team that advises a worldwide client base of Fortune 100 and Global 1000 companies, government agencies, media organizations and foundations. Her new book, "DATA, A LOVE STORY" will be available nationwide January 31st (published by Penguin).

Amy is CEO of Webbmedia Group (http://www.webbmediagroup.com), a digital strategy agency that studies disruptive technologies and consumer behavior. She and her team help Webbmedia Group's clients prepare for the future using research, ideation and a vast knowledge of emerging tech. Recently, her team worked with the City of Chicago to redesign, in every aspect, a modern library system for the 21st century.

Amy holds many professional affiliations and collaborates with a number of institutions. She is a newly-appointed Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab and has been a Lecturer at the Columbia University Sulzberger Program at the Graduate School of Journalism since it began in 2007. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Online News Association and on a number of advisory boards, including the SXSW Accelerator, Knight-Batten Awards, Temple University's Journalism Program, International Center for Journalists and International Press Institute. She is a Delegate on the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission and has served as one of the Knight News Challenge judges. Amy is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Interactive Media Peer Group) and helps judge the Emmy awards. She founded the for-profit digital media training website Knowledgewebb.net, and co-founded Spark Camp, a 501(c)(3) invite-only working group that brings together the brightest minds in media and technology once each quarter. In addition, Amy is an active startup investor and advisor.

Amy's work has been recognized with awards and nominations from the Columbia Journalism Review, Webby, Editor & Publisher, Investigative Reporters & Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, W3 and IAVA, among others. She originally attended the Jacobs School of Music to study classical clarinet. She later graduated with a B.A. in political science. She also has an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Additionally, Amy earned Nikyu Certification in the Japanese government-administered Language Proficiency Test and speaks fluently. In the past, Amy has served on the adjunct faculty at University of Maryland, Temple University, Tokyo University and University of the Arts.

Amy began her career as a reporter/ writer with Newsweek (Tokyo) and the Wall Street Journal (Hong Kong) where she covered emerging technology, media and cultural trends. She has contributed to the New York Times, NPR, Economist and many publications and broadcast shows. She appears regularly as a commentator, and is a keynote/ featured speaker at conferences and industry gatherings around the world. She tweets at @webbmedia and @datalovestory.

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