150-WORD BOOK REVIEW: Big Data, A Revolution

This post is by new contributor Eamonn Carey, who tweets here and is Head of Digital for MHP Communications

04book "Contagious: Why Things Catch On" by Jonah Berger.Big data (and this book of the same name by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Culderis) is one of those inescapable phrases that is bandied around nowadays. Like convergence and the use of the word sunset as a verb, it is an annoyance used by people who spend too much time talking at conferences.

The concept behind Big Data is interesting though. How can we make sense of the massive amounts of data we generate on an ongoing basis. How can we have more Google flu predictions and fewer Minority Report pre-crime nightmares?

Though occasionally repetitive, this book is at its best when discussing the potential pitfalls of this new era. More practical examples and less breathless cheerleading would have made it far better.

It’s worth a read, but don’t buy into all the hype – especially not this line: “The possession of knowledge, which once meant an understanding of the past, is coming to an ability to predict the future.”