Review: “Data, A Love Story” by Amy Webb

Thumbs up for Data, A Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match by Amy Webb. Science.

After watching Webb’s TED talk I was curious as to whether her book was a worthwhile expansion of the talk, or merely a padded version. I can say now that the book is well worth it, if you think humor, data hacking and love are a winning combination. I do. The premise: Amy Webb’s love life sucks. Her family keeps setting her up with ridiculous men; the next step is online dating. The dates are so bad that she creates a spreadsheet to track data points such as “high fives,” “number of misused vocabulary words,” and “times he checked his mobile.” That’s when she starts designing algorithms to find the perfect man, starting with a 72-point list of necessary characteristics…and the game is on.

I clicked on another featured profile, Tammy4337. Pretty, thin, blond. Surprise, surprise, surprise. She was also vague in her profile, listing “Design” as her career. What do you design, websites? Tractors? Tell me something about your real skills and interests! At least my Yozora profile was descriptive and thorough. The men who looked at me knew exactly what I did for living, and to be perfectly honest, what I did was pretty cool. I used to jet in and out of countries on reporting assignments. I’d shared a snack of deep-fried silkworms with a toothless Korean woman on the side of a mountain! I’d embedded with the Japan Self-Defense Forces and taken part in a forty-eight hour combat training session!


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