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A Million First Dates: Solving the Puzzle of Online Dating Paperback – January 28, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Current Trade (January 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161723009X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617230097
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Slater considers all these issues in an intelligent, edgy, thought-provoking way. His book is worth at least a speed date.”
—Washington Post

“Slater has dug in manfully to explain how technology is transforming how we meet and fall in love.”
—Wall Street Journal

“Slater’s account of the history of the cyber dating industry—from ginormous clunky old computers to modern complex algorithms—is well detailed.”
—Financial Times

“In this artful examination of our techno-romantic universe, Dan Slater offers an eye-opening look at the ways our very own behaviors and desires have been forever changed.”
Jessica Massa and Rebecca Wiegand, cocreators of The Gaggle and WTF Is Up With My Love Life?!

“A fascinating romp through the world of online dating, packed with anecdotes about how people are adapting (or not) to love on the Internet.”
Bethany McLean, coauthor of The Smartest Guys in the Room

(review)

About the Author

Dan Slater is a widely published author of journalism and creative nonfiction. A former legal affairs reporter for the Wall Street Journal, he is currently a contributor for Fast Company and has also written news and commentary for the New York Times, the Washington Post, New York magazine, and GQ.

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Customer Reviews

Well written and an interesting read.
Hoy
Dan Slater attempts in `Love in the Time of Algorithms' to explain how technology fits into this traditional methods of dating.
Dr. Wilson Trivino
I had little interest in a how-to book on online dating or a personal interest "I found my dream date" online book.
BEC94

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. P. Anderson on May 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
What a fun topic. I think just about anyone could find this one interesting.

That said, I found that the author, unfortunately, really didn't deliver. Here are some things I felt the book was a little short on:

- Algorithms. There's a great set of correlations about halfway through the book from the blog of one of the guys who started OKCupid, but that was about it. In other words, the behind-the-scenes stuff about how all this works really wasn't there. Instead, what we get is a lot of history and individual stories. Interesting, but just not the same.

- Lots of jumping around. I like when an author threads a bunch of stories together, but - honestly - I had a really hard time keeping track of who's who or even what a particular section was about. And his attempts at transitions from one part to another (when there) seemed rather forced.

- Somewhat surprisingly obscene material. Maybe this was in there solely for titillation, or maybe that's just the way things are these days. I don't know. It really didn't seem necessary however. I'm not a prude, but I thought it was really overplayed.

- Wearing his politics on his sleeve. It's pretty obvious that he's rather liberal when it comes to sexual matters. He doesn't seem to take the more conservative eHarmony very seriously, and he also goes a little nuts on the international sites (he sees them as imperialistic exploitation). I'm pretty liberal myself, but could definitely have used a little more balance.

- Lack of real depth. This is very much a journalistic effort. If you're expecting a Dan-Ariely- or Malcolm-McDowell-like work, you'll be disappointed.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Katherine Preston on March 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Slater offers a fascinating, behind-the-screens look into the complex world of online dating. Without judgement or bias he leads us through the workings of companies from Match to AshleyMadison. Love in the Time of Algorithms shows us how the internet reflects our varied preferences and explores the way that endless choice effects our relationships. Written without dogma, his intelligent and thoughtful book lets his readers form their own conclusions.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ken Kugler on February 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I heard about, Love in the Time of Algorithms, by Dan Slater, on wnyc.org a few weeks ago. I know that the internet dating scene had changed alot and that interested me. It has become a grand meeting place for people and does not have the stigma that it used to have even as recently as 15 years ago.
I know several people who have meet their spouse on the internet and a couple more who are in long(ish) term relations with internet dating sites to thank. That said, I was interested in the technical points and the author had started this book originally as a couple of magazine articles that he was encouraged to expand into this book. The book explores the evolution of dating questions and how it is used to reach people. An interesting sidebar is that the authors found out that his parents had met via a computer match.
That said, it seems that computer/internet dating should evolve into another form of meeting people. It, having lost mostly, the stigma it had in the past seems like it should be just another form of dating but many things come into play. The lack of transparency by the dating services on how many people are actively involved is one thing. They leave people who have registered and left on forever. An example is that one of the owners' of a dating site has been married for ten years and yet his profile leads the uninformed to think that it has been inactive only for three weeks. Also the pay sites do not let you know how many people are just registered and not paying members so that they cannot respond right away. Another issue that has popped up is internet scams, preying on the lonely. The companies have only recently started policing themselves to ferret out fraud and sex offenders.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mary Shelton on February 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book was a great read. The history around how internet dating has evolved combined with the anecdotes about how people are adapting to this environment for meeting and mating was fascinating, entertaining and informative. I wasn't certain what I could get out of the book being married already, but I was curious about the topic and Slater's unbiased approach to tackling this topic and chronicling it's evolution is excellent. Rarely would I recommend a book to all genders and age ranges, but this book does for technology and dating what Zinn did for the account on US history.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Wilson Trivino on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In the world of singles, the traditional model of dating is that to meet a quality person is to participate in activities you like and have an open mind. This will result in meeting like-minded individuals that may be potential mates. Dan Slater attempts in `Love in the Time of Algorithms' to explain how technology fits into this traditional methods of dating.

Webster's defines algorithms as a mathematical rule or procedure for solving a problem. Slater's hypothesis is that technology has replaced the way that courtships occur today. Another traditional sense was that a community, vis-à-vis, through religion, the neighborhood, or friends, single individuals were selected for introduction. The rise of technology while creating more interconnectedness has resulted in less of a traditional way of meeting.

From the first personal ads in newspapers, to the video dating, to online dating, there has been a stigma in using these `services'. Slater blames this stigma on people feeling that they can not meet someone in a traditional sense but the use of technology are seen as inferior.

Slater has examined some of the most popular internet based matching making sites, from eHarmony to Match to Plenty of Fish and examined their inner workings. The algorithms that these companies use are more of a sorting mechanism, but like in real life, there is no real way of knowing if a match will work. The successful results are difficult to replicate.

One factor that bears into these encounters that is not really discussed is that once a person decides to use these services, then they are more open to making the potential encounter work. It seems that technology will not replace the "gut" feeling that occurs when two people meet.
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