Title: Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match
Author: Amy Webb
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Release Date: January 31st, 2013
Length: 296 pages | 8 hours 41 minutes
Source: Borrowed from my local library
Forty million people date online each year. Most don’t find true love. Thanks to Data, a Love Story, their odds just got a whole lot better.
Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match is a lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman “gamed” the world of online dating—and met her eventual husband.
Thank goodness I am no longer in the online dating scene. But that being said, I recommend this book for anyone who is. Because Webb does two things with this book:
1) She assures us that we’re not alone. Dating, and online dating, is exhausting, frustrating, and nerve-wracking. It’s a system rife with mystery and faux-pas, and can be quite discouraging. To hear an intelligent, driven, attractive woman go through the same crud as the rest of us is reassuring.
2) She gives us hope, by shedding light into the system and empowering us to also “game the system.”
The majority of this book is self-aware. Webb’s humor takes the edge of her near fanatical dig through the statistics of online dating. Part of me was thinking “Woah, lady- you may be going overboard”, even knowing from the start that her methods snagged her a happy (romantic) ending. But a large part of me was impressed and awed by her dogged persistence. And I appreciated the fact that she shares how and why she chose the data she did.
The biggest flaw of this story is oversharing. It seems irrelevant to know exactly what Webb was wearing when she went on a data bender in the middle of the night. The details of her being sleep-deprived, possibly drunk on cheap wine, as she powered through that level of insane details were amusing. The two dozen times she mentions wearing a hoodie were tiresome. It started coming off as a reach toward a word count goal, rather than a natural show-not-tell background to the real story.
But in total, this was eye opening. As with most social science, the cumulative data holds an element of common sense (“well of course the most popular female profiles come off as non-intimidating”), but knowing each data point behind the conclusions was fascinating. And letting her chart the roadmap to crafting your own perfect profile, as well as making a Marry Poppins list for your future S.O., is a nice guide for anyone still stuck in the throes of online dating.
With all of the research and statistical analysis, the self-realized humor and background of both disastrous dates and eventual love keep the entire book very approachable. I never felt like I was being bogged down in data. Instead, it seemed like Webb took on a fantastic feat and, in sharing it, has allowed me to follow suit (not that I intend to ever be single again).
I recommend this book for anyone who likes logic and romance, anyone to whom dating and online dating contain a little too much mystery, and anyone looking for a quick read. I recommend the audiobook, narrated by the author, which is well done and very conversational in tone.