A quick post:
I am almost finished reading "the Numerati" by Stephen Baker. I must say that I had very high expectations from this book and it seems to have come slightly short of it. Dont get me wrong, it is certainly a good book but, it wasn't a very technical book. So many of the topics and ideas presented here might sound quite familiar to someone who is wading in data and algorithms every waking hour.
What I really like about the author is the way he treads a fine line between dismissing some of the myths about data miners and highlighting some legitimate concerns in the field. It is a great compilation of interviews and summarizes a number of research topics.
A few interesting points/quotes from the book:
Stephen Baker touches upon many different applications and profiles a number of scientists, companies and startups that make up the Numerati. My favorite chapter ofcourse was the "Blogger" and "Terrorist" for its social media and social network related discussions (OK I admit there is a slight bias here :-). And Pranam too is eagerly looking forward to reading the pages that talk about splogs. (I am rather surprised that he wasn't interviewed for this!)
Overall, its a good book that caters to a wide audience. But most importantly does a great job at demystifying the Numerati and showing a balanced, informed picture about what we do.