Don't Trust Your Gut
Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life
What do customers really want? What will make us happy? Thanks to the Internet, we have a wealth of new data at our fingertips—Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, New York Times bestselling author and former Google data scientist, is investigating this data to help us answer big questions and make better decisions at work and in life. Called a data revolution “prophet” by Daniel H. Pink (bestselling author of To Sell Is Human), Seth teaches us how our instincts lead us astray, but data can help us see the world more accurately, ask better questions, and get happier.
“Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is a smart, witty writer with an extraordinary ability to make charts and statistics engrossing.”— Katy Milkman, Bestselling author of How to Change
Why are big decisions so hard to make? Seth Stephens-Davidowitz says it’s because we trust our gut, which draws on our own limited experience and often leads us astray. But there’s a better way to make decisions. Drawing on sets of thousands or even millions of data points, Seth reveals the science-based answers to some of life’s biggest questions, including who you should marry, where you should live, and what job you should work. As the New York Times bestselling author of Everybody Lies and Don’t Trust Your Gut and an former data scientist at Google, Seth is the perfect guide to the unprecedented opportunities for insight and self-improvement that data offers us.
In his newest book Don't Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life, Seth reveals just how wrong we really are when it comes to improving our own lives. With fascinating stories and the latest big data research, he redefines how to tackle our most consequential choices, and leads us to make smarter decisions about how to improve our lives with “an intoxicating blend of analysis, humor, and humanity” (Daniel H. Pink). #1 New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant says, “Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is an expert on data-driven thinking, and this engaging book is full of surprising, useful insights for using the information at your fingertips to make better decisions.”
His debut book Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are argues that much of what we thought from traditional, offline data sources has been dead wrong—and that data from our Google search can reveal who we truly are and what we really want. A breakout success, Everybody Lies was named an Economist Best Book of the Year, a PBS NewsHour Book of the Year, an Entrepreneur Top Business Book, and an Amazon Best Book of the Year in Business and Leadership. It’s also a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. The Economist describes it as “a whirlwind tour of the modern human psyche using search data as its guide,” while renowned psychologist Steven Pinker, who wrote the book’s foreword, argues that Seth’s work points to “a new path for social science in the 21st century.”
Seth is a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times and a former visiting lecturer at The Wharton School, where he developed a course about his research. A direct, succinct, and frequently humorous writer and innovation speaker, Seth has presented his original research scientific manuscripts, public journals, and engaging lectures all over the world. He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard and a BA in Philosophy from Stanford, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
“Really insightful. It's definitely made me think about data in a different way. I can't wait for tomorrow!”ITV
“Fascinating subject and really well presented. What could be a dry topic was really brought to life in an interesting way.”ITV
“Seth is so interesting! He made it so easy to listen to someone talk about data.”ITV
“Seth gave an amazing talk at The Sohn Conference. It was both informative and funny, and afterwards, guests kept on telling me how much they got from Seth's talk. I highly recommend Seth any time you need a speaker to give cutting-edge insights, all while showing you a really good time.”Douglas Hirsch, Sohn Conference Co-founder and Co-chairman
“Seth’s research will take what you think you know about yourself and your peers, and flips it on its head. A compelling narrative for any marketer seeking to better understand the real wants and needs of their consumers.”Founder, L2
“Seth’s curious intellect leaves no subject unturned. His talk was both wonderfully educational and entertaining, backed by real data and thorough research.”Global Content Director, CLSA
“We couldn’t be happier with Seth’s presentation at our recent E-Summit. He was great to work with, focusing on those areas of his research we felt would resonate best with our colleagues. His delivery was sharp, engaging, and funny. He received a perfect five out of five stars from all attendees. We hope he is available next time we need an engaging speaker!”Senior Manager, Abbott
How can Google search terms help predict elections? How many white Americans voted against Obama simply because he was black? Are crime rates affected by violence in the media? Are boys secretly favored over girls amongst parents? For Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, the answer to these questions doesn’t lie in traditional polls, but in the billions of Google searches we make every day. Through his original research with search terms and big data, he’s discovered—and predicted—a number of counterintuitive insights, often that fly in the face of conventional wisdom. And in this surprising keynote, he lays out just what big data can reveal about our biases, anxieties, and hidden desires—and how Internet searches can provide answers to questions we’re often too afraid to ask. Though sometimes uncomfortable, these revelations are designed to help us understand the world with more accuracy. And they’re here to help us become smarter consumers of data, based on asking better questions. It’s about what people are actually doing, Stephens-Davidowitz argues—not what they say they want to do.
Many companies are unduly wary of big data—they see it as meaningless, or too abstract, or just too, well, big. But to Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, analyzing vast tracts of information—especially search results, clicks—can be vital to discovering counterintuitive insights about how consumers really behave. It’s not enough to ask customers what they want; in fact, what they reveal in feedback is often a distortion of their real beliefs. Instead, intelligent companies pay attention to measurable behavior—hits, decisions, purchases—to give consumers what they actually want (even if those ‘wants’ aren’t what they’re always willing to admit). In this talk, Stephens-Davidowitz maps out the secrets behind some of the Internet’s biggest businesses. He offers insights on rapid experimentation and cutting-edge advertising techniques. And, drawing on a host of case studies and hidden experiments, he shows how all the world’s a lab—if you know how to test it.