Ubiquitous Product Placement

I am reading "Algorithms to Live By" by B. Crhistian and T. Griffiths, and through the course of the book I was slightly annoyed by the stream of disconnected references that authors tend to make ever so often.

There were some poor references, clumsy examples and stretched connections, and originally I thought the authors were simply rushed to finish the book and did not have the time to think about the subject enough.

Until I came about this section:

A famous presentation made by Peter Norvig, Google's director of
research, carried the title "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of
Data" and anthused about "how billions of trivial data points
can lead to understanding." <...> But often the problems most
germane to daily human life are at the opposite extreme. Our
days are full of "small data."

The authors were not writing about big data before that. The authors continued on to write about the "small data" problem after that. What was that reference? It would've been enough to reference anything "big data" related from the media. There is no shortage. It would've been even enough to just say "we hear about big data in the news all the time". Finally, the authors could've put this among the rest of the 20-page long "References" section at the end of the book.

Instead, the book authors simply jammed a reference to a product in the most awkward way. A person, the full presentation title and, most useless to anyone, the name of his employer and the job title - were all printed out and survived the editor's attention.

This explained a lot. The occasional clumsiness of writing, the odd preoccupation with where people work and what their job titles are. The people in the book are "products" - the book is marketing them to the reader.

Product placement is the way of things in recreational books, movies and so on. But this is the first time I come around it in a setting of a serious book.

Despite all of its shortcomings, it is still an interesting read.

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