Stephen Baker

The Numerati
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August 15, 2008About Stephen

Stephen Baker, Twitter @stevebaker


Author of Final Jeopardy--The Man-Machine Battle for the Future of our Minds (Houghton Mifflin, Spring, 2011); and The Numerati (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008 in North America, and 20 foreign publishers) Blogs at Also has written The Boost, a dystopian novel that will be published by Tor Books in 2013.

The Numerati

Following a BusinessWeek cover story, Math Will Rock Your World, The Numerati looks at the explosion of digital data and the rise of the applied math gurus who use it to model and predict the behavior of shoppers, voters, patients, terrorists, and even lovers. A Wall Street Journal review calls it "a highly readable and fascinating account of the number-driven world we now live in."


Senior Writer 2003-09
Lead writer on a 2005 cover story, Blogs Will Change Your Business, written in the style of a blog and introducing the Blogspotting blog. Revised the story, using input from readers through blogs and Twitter, and produced another cover in 2008, Beyond Blogs. The online version of the updated blog story is the most viewed and shared article in the magazine's history and has generated more than 7,000 comments. The math cover was the most clicked and linked BW story of 2006. Introduced in a 2007 cover story, Google and the Wisdom of Clouds, the search giant's cloud computing strategy through a profile of a 26-year-old programmer. A 2009 cover story on social-network data looked at Facebook and Twitter, and analyzed how much a "friend" is worth.

Acting Senior Editor, Information Technology 2002-03

Returned from Paris and filled in as tech editor in New York, having never been an editor, worked in New York, or covered technology in the United States. Led a tech team of 18 in New York, Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Later resisted pressure to remain an editor and chose instead to return to writing. This was widely regarded at the time as a puzzling career move.

Europe Technology Correspondent 1998-2002

Covered the Internet, software, and wireless technology in Europe, writing a cover on the rise of Nokia, also chronicling the fall of the Baan Company, the growth of English as Europe's language, and the battle for control of the mobile Internet.

Pittsburgh Bureau Chief 1992-98

Wrote on the fall of Westinghouse and the rise of the minimills. When editors lost interest in heavy industry, switched to cover transplants and robotics. Won 1997 National Educational Writers first place for The New American Worker.

Mexico Bureau Chief 1987-92
Won Overseas Press Club award for cover story on the Mexican auto industry, Detroit South. Created a stir with expose of presidential cronies, The Friends of Carlos Salinas.

Other Experience

Reporter, El Paso Herald-Post 1985-86
Wrote about election fraud in Juarez, hidden drug plantations in New Mexico, and a mysterious fainting epidemic in San Francisco del Oro, Chihuahua, that affected only teenaged girls.

Reporter, The Daily Journal, Caracas, Venezuela 1983-85
Covered a racketeering suit against the state oil company and eventually got booted off the oil beat, at the government's insistence. Quit and freelanced for The Wall Street Journal and oil trade publications.

Freelance journalist, Washington, Buenos Aires, 1982-83
Wrote articles on the Nicaraguan economy, the rise of Peru's Sendero Luminoso, and the
military coup in Suriname for The San Jose Mercury-News, The Los Angeles Times, and other papers. Covered Argentina's transition to democracy for USA Today.

Managing Editor, The Black River Tribune, Ludlow, VT 1978-1980
Ran a weekly paper covering seven towns and a ski mountain (and Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn's compound).


MS. Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism 1981
BA. University of Wisconsin, Madison (majors in history and Spanish) 1977
Junior year at the University of Madrid, Facultad de Filosofia y Letras 1976


Fluent Spanish and French, serviceable Portuguese




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Prequel to The Boost: Dark Site
- December 3, 2014

The Boost: an excerpt
- April 15, 2014

My horrible Superbowl weekend, in perspective
- February 3, 2014

My coming novel: Boosting human cognition
- May 30, 2013

Why Nate Silver is never wrong
- November 8, 2012

The psychology behind bankers' hatred for Obama
- September 10, 2012

"Corporations are People": an op-ed
- August 16, 2011

Wall Street Journal excerpt: Final Jeopardy
- February 4, 2011

Why IBM's Watson is Smarter than Google
- January 9, 2011

Rethinking books
- October 3, 2010

The coming privacy boom
- August 17, 2010

The appeal of virtual
- May 18, 2010