There are some questions an Internet search just isn’t so good at answering: What do I want for dinner tonight? How can I make a career change? Who is my ideal romantic partner? Asking a search engine any of these things will most likely result in a deluge of useless data rather than an excited “aha!” discovery. While we know that the “right” answer is out there, finding it can be like hunting for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Author and venture capitalist Jim Hornthal believes that the Internet can be far more useful when it comes to big questions. In the new TED Book A Haystack Full of Needles: Cutting Through the Clutter of the Online World to Find a Place, Partner, or President, he flips our current thinking on the noisy datasphere and explores groundbreaking approaches that will help searchers find the useful insights buried deep underneath the drivel. Throughout the book, Hornthal introduces us to innovators who are using data science and data visualization — and looking for patterns — to isolate relevant signals in the noise. Their efforts will have enormous implications for the way we practice medicine and discover new music and movies — even for how we approach meeting a significant other.