What We Are Reading Today: Bit by Bit Social Research in the Digital Age

Updated 11 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Bit by Bit Social Research in the Digital Age

  • Bit by Bit is the key to unlocking these powerful methods

Author: Matthew J. Salganik

This book is an innovative and accessible guide to doing social research in the digital age.
In just the past several years, we have witnessed the birth and rapid spread of social media, mobile phones, and numerous other digital marvels.
In addition to changing how we live, these tools enable us to collect and process data about human behavior on a scale never before imaginable, offering entirely new approaches to core questions about social behavior.
Bit by Bit is the key to unlocking these powerful methods— a landmark book that will fundamentally change how the next generation of social scientists and data scientists explores the world around us. Bit by Bit is the essential guide to mastering the key principles of doing social research in this fast-evolving digital age. Matthew Salganik explains how the digital revolution is transforming how social scientists observe behavior, ask questions, run experiments, and engage in mass collaborations.


What We Are Reading Today: Empires of the Weak by J. C. Sharman

Updated 19 January 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Empires of the Weak by J. C. Sharman

  • New book demonstrates that the rise of the West was an exception in the prevailing world order.

What accounts for the rise of the state, the creation of the first global system, and the dominance of the West? The conventional answer asserts that superior technology, tactics, and institutions forged by Darwinian military competition gave Europeans a decisive advantage in war over other civilizations. 

In contrast, Empires of the Weak argues that Europeans actually had no general military superiority in the early modern era. J.C. Sharman shows instead that European expansion from the late 15th to the late 18th centuries is better explained by deference to strong Asian and African polities, diseases in the Americas, and maritime supremacy earned by default because local land-oriented polities were largely indifferent to war and trade at sea. Europeans were overawed by the mighty Eastern empires of the day, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. 

Bringing a revisionist perspective to the idea that Europe ruled the world due to military dominance, Empires of the Weak demonstrates that the rise of the West was an exception in the prevailing world order.