That is the new and fascinating book by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, with the subtitle Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. Here is one of many interesting bits:
Urban areas tend to be well supplied with models of success. To see the value of being near successful practitioners of a craft when young, compare New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles. Among the three, new York City produces notable journalists at the highest rate; Boston produces notable scientists at the highest rate; and Los Angeles produces notable actors at the highest rate. Remember, we are not talking about people who moved there. And this holds true even after subtracting people with notable parents in that field.
Many of the results in the book are taken from Google data and Google searches. I was a little chuffed to read this part:
A child born in New York City is 80 percent more likely to make it into Wikipedia than a kid born in Bergen County.
[Actually I was born in Hudson County, but grew up in Bergen.] And this:
Of the trillions of Google searches during that time [2004-2011], what do you think turned out to be most tightly connected to unemployment? You might imagine “unemployment office” — or something similar…The highest during the period I searched — and these terms do shift — was “Slutload.” That’s right, the most frequent search was for a pornographic site.