The To-Read Pile

There's an ever growing pile of books I want to read…

Small Review: Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier

Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier Small Review: Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier

I was planning to write a big review of Big Data. It seemed appropriate, given the title. The trouble was that I just didn’t have enough to say. As it turns out, it’s pretty difficult to review non-fiction books. I can’t talk about most of the things I usually would since there are no characters and no plot.

Big data is one of the biggest things in computing right now – I recently went to a conference for women studying for STEM degrees and everyone was talking about Big Data. I wanted to learn more and thought the book seemed interesting so I felt really lucky when @hodderesque agreed to send me a copy for review.

Big data is the use of large, complete sets of data to draw conclusions that it was not previously possible to see, such as tracking trends in weather and aircraft delays to predict which planes will run on time or analysing tweets to see trends in mood across geographical divides.

There were a lot of really interesting case studies in this book and it was written in a way that kept it interesting most of the time. The trouble with books full of facts is that facts can be quite dry. My usual reading time is during my commute early in the morning or after a day at work, which means that I’m usually pretty tired. There were a few times while I was reading that I felt my attention start to drift, but that tends to happen any time I read non-fiction.

I think it also did a great job of explaining the possible uses of big data, both good and bad. I found some of the them quite exciting, whilst others were pretty terrifying. The book did a fairly good job at staying balanced but I should point out that most of the risks and worrying aspects were discussed towards the end of the book so that it probably wouldn’t seem that way if you didn’t finish.

I thought this was a pretty interesting read. If you’re not already interested in big data, you might find it a little dry but I would recommend it to anyone who’d like to learn more.

4/5

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This entry was posted on May 7, 2013 by in Reviews and tagged , , , , .
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