Good Data: An Optimist’s Guide to Our Digital Future

Author: Gilbert, Sam

Publication Date:

April 2021



Original language and publisher

English | Welbeck Publishing

Territories Handled

Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

South Korea (Shim)
China (Shanghai)



Good Data: An Optimist’s Guide to Our Digital Future

Author: Gilbert, Sam


“a great read and thought provoking – challenges the surveillance capitalism narrative and suggests that an excessive focus on data privacy may harm us while reinforcing the power of the tech giants” — Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology Correspondent, BBC

“Data is around us every day — we generate it, we consume it — and the debate around the information explosion is dividing opinions. More than ever, digital literacy is fundamental and Sam Gilbert’s book rediscovers how the potential of data can make life better for all. Good Data is an easy-to-read guide divided into four main sections: Paranoia, Prosperity, Power and Proposals. The first half is dedicated to stories about data control and exploitation, with a focus on big tech groups, such as Facebook and Google. Technical terms, statistical concepts and online tools are closely examined — with useful examples and fresh insights. Later, the author explores the world’s data abundance and how we can make it work for us as a shared resource. Digital ethics, privacy and conspiracy theories are also discussed. Gilbert believes data is the “lifeblood of the digital world”, and — as a general rule — it should flow freely and be a shared resource that everyone contributes to and can benefit from. Better data knowledge and management could produce good digital citizenship that enables more scientific progress, better health outcomes, new consumer products and economic development. Hopefully the best is yet to come.” — Financial Times, Book of the Month

Good Data brings a breath of fresh air, an invigorating blast of common sense, to the debate about our digital world. In place of scare stories about surveillance and exploitation, the book provides new insights from an expert, and pragmatic suggestions about how we can make data work for us as a shared resource. This is an essential read for anybody interested in shaping a positive digital future. — Diane Coyle, University of Cambridge

Good Data weaves some thorny issues into a story that is positive, interesting, easy to read and provides valuable insight. — Peter Turner, Chief Commercial Officer, Avast

There is increasing concern about how the big tech companies use – and abuse – our data. In this highly readable book, Sam Gilbert sets out how this data can be used for good, and describes how to think about controlling big tech while still achieving the positive benefits from it. — Julian Huppert, University of Cambridge

Sam’s contrarian position grabbed me from the start. Flying in the face of much of the current doom-laden opinion and publishing about our digital world, he’s setting up a vital debate for our futures. And who doesn’t want to read something optimistic right now? — Wayne Davies, Group Publisher for Non-Fiction, Welbeck Publishing

We are currently living in a moment of extreme pessimism about data. This book will change your mind.

Almost everything we do generates data. Digital technology is now so pervasive that it’s very hard to escape its influence, and with that growth comes fear. But whatever the news has told you about data and technology, think again. Data expert and tech insider Sam Gilbert shows that, actually, this data revolution could be the best thing that ever happened to us. Good Data examines the incredible new ways this information explosion is already helping us – whether that’s combating inequality, creating jobs, advancing the frontiers of knowledge or protecting us from coronavirus – and explains why the best is yet to come.

Good Data is the book that will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about data, privacy and the future of Big Tech.

Marketing Information

  • An FT ‘Business Book of the Month’