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Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy Paperback – September 5, 2017

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,984 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“O’Neil’s book offers a frightening look at how algorithms are increasingly regulating people. . . . Her knowledge of the power and risks of mathematical models, coupled with a gift for analogy, makes her one of the most valuable observers of the continuing weaponization of big data. . . . [She] does a masterly job explaining the pervasiveness and risks of the algorithms that regulate our lives.”—The New York Times Book Review

"Weapons of Math Destruction is the Big Data story Silicon Valley proponents won't tell. . . . [It] pithily exposes flaws in how information is used to assess everything from creditworthiness to policing tactics . . . a thought-provoking read for anyone inclined to believe that data doesn't lie.”Reuters

“This is a manual for the twenty-first century citizen, and it succeeds where other big data accounts have failedit is accessible, refreshingly critical and feels relevant and urgent.”—Financial Times

"Insightful and disturbing."—New York Review of Books

Weapons of Math Destruction is an urgent critique of . . . the rampant misuse of math in nearly every aspect of our lives.”—Boston Globe

“A fascinating and deeply disturbing book.”Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens

“Illuminating . . . [O’Neil] makes a convincing case that this reliance on algorithms has gone too far.”—The Atlantic

“A nuanced reminder that big data is only as good as the people wielding it.”—Wired

“If you’ve ever suspected there was something baleful about our deep trust in data, but lacked the mathematical skills to figure out exactly what it was, this is the book for you.”—Salon

“O’Neil is an ideal person to write this book. She is an academic mathematician turned Wall Street quant turned data scientist who has been involved in Occupy Wall Street and recently started an algorithmic auditing company. She is one of the strongest voices speaking out for limiting the ways we allow algorithms to influence our lives. . . . While Weapons of Math Destruction is full of hard truths and grim statistics, it is also accessible and even entertaining. O’Neil’s writing is direct and easy to read—I devoured it in an afternoon.”—Scientific American

“Indispensable . . . Despite the technical complexity of its subject, Weapons of Math Destruction lucidly guides readers through these complex modeling systems. . . . O’Neil’s book is an excellent primer on the ethical and moral risks of Big Data and an algorithmically dependent world. . . . For those curious about how Big Data can help them and their businesses, or how it has been reshaping the world around them, Weapons of Math Destruction is an essential starting place.”National Post

“Cathy O’Neil has seen Big Data from the inside, and the picture isn’t pretty. Weapons of Math Destruction opens the curtain on algorithms that exploit people and distort the truth while posing as neutral mathematical tools. This book is wise, fierce, and desperately necessary.”—Jordan Ellenberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of How Not To Be Wrong

“O’Neil has become [a whistle-blower] for the world of Big Data . . . [in] her important new book. . . .  Her work makes particularly disturbing points about how being on the wrong side of an algorithmic decision can snowball in incredibly destructive ways.”Time

About the Author

Cathy O'Neil is a data scientist and author of the blog mathbabe.org. She earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard and taught at Barnard College before moving to the private sector, where she worked for the hedge fund D. E. Shaw. She then worked as a data scientist at various start-ups, building models that predict people’s purchases and clicks. O’Neil started the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia and is the author of Doing Data Science. She is currently a columnist for Bloomberg View.

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Product details

  • Publisher : Crown; Reprint edition (September 5, 2017)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0553418831
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0553418835
  • Item Weight : 7.2 ounces
  • Dimensions : 5.14 x 0.6 x 7.89 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,984 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
1,984 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2018
271 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2018
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112 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2016
517 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

PhilipM
3.0 out of 5 stars American - not for Europeans
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 5, 2017
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40 people found this helpful
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Richard2047
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather superficial view of how algorithms affect us
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 12, 2021
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6 people found this helpful
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Ace
4.0 out of 5 stars A important warning on the dark side of data. Join the data movement and use it as a force for good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 7, 2018
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11 people found this helpful
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n1msr
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting message - the future is here
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 30, 2019
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4 people found this helpful
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DanBy
3.0 out of 5 stars It reads somewhat like an extended NYT think piece
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 15, 2017
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14 people found this helpful
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