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Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data Hardcover – March 18, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Residents in Boston, Massachusetts are automatically reporting potholes and road hazards via their smartphones. Progressive Insurance tracks real-time customer driving patterns and uses that information to offer rates truly commensurate with individual safety. Google accurately predicts local flu outbreaks based upon thousands of user search queries. Amazon provides remarkably insightful, relevant, and timely product recommendations to its hundreds of millions of customers. Quantcast lets companies target precise audiences and key demographics throughout the Web. NASA runs contests via gamification site TopCoder, awarding prizes to those with the most innovative and cost-effective solutions to its problems. Explorys offers penetrating and previously unknown insights into healthcare behavior.

How do these organizations and municipalities do it? Technology is certainly a big part, but in each case the answer lies deeper than that. Individuals at these organizations have realized that they don't have to be Nate Silver to reap massive benefits from today's new and emerging types of data. And each of these organizations has embraced Big Data, allowing them to make astute and otherwise impossible observations, actions, and predictions.

It's time to start thinking big.

In Too Big to Ignore, recognized technology expert and award-winning author Phil Simon explores an unassailably important trend: Big Data, the massive amounts, new types, and multifaceted sources of information streaming at us faster than ever. Never before have we seen data with the volume, velocity, and variety of today. Big Data is no temporary blip of fad. In fact, it is only going to intensify in the coming years, and its ramifications for the future of business are impossible to overstate.

Too Big to Ignore explains why Big Data is a big deal. Simon provides commonsense, jargon-free advice for people and organizations looking to understand and leverage Big Data. Rife with case studies, examples, analysis, and quotes from real-world Big Data practitioners, the book is required reading for chief executives, company owners, industry leaders, and business professionals.

From the Back Cover

"In the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell and Chris Anderson, Simon takes a complex topic and makes you think about it differently through real-world storytelling that resonates."
-Jay Baer, author of Youtility: Why Smart Companies are Helping not Selling

"In Too Big to Ignore, Phil Simon takes the mystique out of Big Data. He weaves the human, technical, and organizational requirements for success into an accessible book for all of us."
-Terri Griffith, professor and author of The Plugged-In Manager: Get in Tune with Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive

"Simon's book provides a very valuable primer to the increasingly important world of Big Data - what it is, what it isn't, and how it is being used and potentially abused. Anyone wishing to get up to speed quickly on the big ideas and big players behind Big Data will benefit greatly from reading this practical, down-to-earth book."
-Robert Charette, President, ITABHI Corporation

"As more and more entrepreneurs, investors, and customers talk about Big Data, it gets harder and harder to understand what the phrase actually means. Phil Simon does a great job defining it and making a clear business case for the ideas that are typically incorporated into the phrase Big Data. Ignore this book at your own peril."
-Brad Feld, Foundry Group, Managing Director and author, Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City

"Phil Simon gets that business executives are no longer content with roll-up reports and summarized spreadsheets--they want detailed, consumable information in order to make fact-based decisions about their companies and customers. Too Big to Ignore provides a comprehensive overview of the Big Data trend, detailing the new components of Big Data. Ignore them at your peril!"
-Jill Dyché, Vice President of SAS Best Practices, author of The CRM Handbook

"Too Big to Ignore clearly demonstrates the increasing role and value of Big Data. His illustrative case studies and engaging style will dispel any doubts executives may have about how Big Data is driving success in today's economy."
-Adrian C. Ott, award-winning author, The 24-Hour Customer

"Business leaders are drowning in data, and the deluge has only just begun. In Too Big to Ignore, Simon delves into the world of Big Data, and makes the business case for capturing, structuring, analyzing and visualizing the immense amount of information accessible to businesses. This book gives your organization the edge it needs to turn data into intelligence, and intelligence into action."
-Paul Roetzer, Founder & CEO, PR 20/20; Author, The Marketing Agency Blueprint

"Today Big data affects everybody and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In Too Big to Ignore, Phil Simon makes the topic accessible and relatable. This important book shows people how to put Big Data to work for their organizations."
-William McKnight, President, McKnight Consulting Group

"Simon has an uncanny ability to connect business cases with complex technical principles, and most important, clearly explain how everything coalesces. Too Big to Ignore demystifies Big Data, and Simon helps the rest of us understand how this evolving, pervasive subject affects businesses today, and how we can use it to our advantage or completely miss the boat."
-Dalton Cervo, co-author of Master Data Management in Practice  

"From Twitter feeds to photo streams to RFID pings, the Big Data universe is rapidly expanding, providing unprecedented opportunities to understand the present and peer into the future. Tapping its potential while avoiding its pitfalls doesn't take magic; it takes a map. In Too Big to Ignore, Phil Simon offers businesses a comprehensive, clear-eyed, and enjoyable guide to the next data frontier."
-Chris Berdik, author of Mind Over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118638174
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118638170
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #508,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Phil Simon (@philsimon) is a sought-after speaker and the award-winning author of seven management books, most recently Message Not Received: Why Business Communication Is Broken and How to Fix It. A recognized technology expert, he advises organizations on matters related to communications, strategy, data, and technology. His contributions have been featured on Harvard Business Review, CNN, Wired, NBC, CNBC, Inc, BusinessWeek, Huffington Post, FoxNews, The New York Times, and many other sites.

To find out more about Phil and his books, go to

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jaime Fitzgerald on July 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you read one book on big data this year, make it Phil Simon's "Too Big to Ignore." Page for page, it delivers a stronger, more balanced, and more useful introduction to the topic of big data and its potential than any other book I have yet seen, and there are many on my shelf. I run a consulting firm whose specialty is helping clients turn their data into better results, and this book is now required reading for my staff and recommended for our clients.

Key things to know about the book:
1) Is is VERY easy to read -- Phil has a gift for explaining concepts clearly without wasting words.

2) If you don't have background in data, analytics, or technology, the book will be a GREAT way to go from Zero to Sixty in your conceptual understanding of the topic. This makes the book a perfect read for anyone who needs to get up to speed on big data.

3) If you DO have a background in data (like me, my team, and many of clients), you will still learn a lot from this book. Simon does a great job putting the big data trend into context (e.g. historical context, related technologies, the role of shifts in culture and consumer behavior).

4) Unlike some books on Big Data (and most of the breathless hype and marketing on the topic), Simon DOES talk about the math, about the analytic methods, that used to make use of big data. He does a great job of explaining and illustrating methods such as predictive analytics in a simple way. The book is not intended to teach you to apply these methods, but it does explain with impressive clarity how they work, which in my view is essential to demystifying Big Data Analytics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jay Etchings on October 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an enterprise consultant and solutions architect I can only estimate the number of "Big Data" books I have read in the past four years. Many of which I finished about 3/4 before completely becoming disinterested. At some points I felt as I was reading the very same author as to differentiate was challenging.
Most books to date fall into one of two categories; Very high level (Executive focused). The ten thousand foot view. Which personally feels like a book about nothing. And category two; In the weeds (Tech notes trolled from the internet) or whitepaper in a bound version.
In "Too Big to Ignore" Phil has successfully managed to to bridge the gap between and bring to the table a discussion that is not only easy to understand for your CEO, but contains the relevant technical information and validation without a trip back into the weeds.
TBTI introduces Phil's unique viewpoint that remains vendor and software agnostic and delves into the pros and cons relevant to any enterprise's Big Data initiative including the potential for misuse.
My only criticism would be that Wiley and/or Amazon had not released an Audio book version.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stewart Paulson on July 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A paradigm shift has occured, facilitated by the internet and web that creates huge opportunity for business to grow. The author describes several examples of how big data provides businesses with new growth and innovation opportunities. He describes infonomics, the economics of information, and points to the added value modern data structuring and analysis provides. He shows how big data analysis extends beyond the existing tools to provide better decision making tools for management.

The author outlines numerous services that can be used to guide companies to participate in the "big data" movement. Big data aquisition and analysis is now being used by some the fastest growing and biggest businesses in America. Even small and intermediate sized businesses can take advantage of this opportunity. The world is changing very rapidly and the ideas flowing in to a company from the other countries can provides extensive additional resources at extremely favorable benefit/ costs. Phil Simons book is a great introduction to big data for beginners but also great reading for the experienced. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Casey Wheeler on August 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a matter of disclosure I read this book as part of the 12 Book Group with the expectation that I would participate in discussions on Goodreads and post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and my business book blog.

This was an informative and, for me, a somewhat challenging read. Author Phil Simon presented the business case for big data from a big picture perspective, but I think that I would have gotten more from the book if I had a better background in some of the technical issues presented. That aside, it was an educational read as I have a better understanding of the concept of big data and some of its potential uses.

Two things about the book that I really appreciated were the summary at the end of each chapter and the notes listed at the end of each chapter. The notes at the end of the chapter made it much easier to find and read related material to the chapter. Most books place these at the end and I find myself flipping back and forth. Kudos to Phil or whoevers idea it was to set the book up in this way.

Some of the examples in the book were familiar as I had read about them in either other books (not directly addressing big data) or in articles relating to big data. I enjoyed Chapter 2 - Demystifying Big Data, Chapter 7 - Big Data: Big Issues and Big Problems and Chapter 8 - Looking Forward: The Future of Big Data the most as these were easier for me to follow without having to either go back and rereading passages or referencing the notes to gain a better understanding of the concepts presented. I feel that it also helped that I had read a half dozen of the books presented in the selected bibliography at the end of the book.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to gain a better understanding of the concept of big data, its potential uses (good and bad), and the challenges that it presents to organizations and individuals.
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