Writers Bloc & Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall present...A special book event with Jill Lepore and Dan Schnur


Each copy of Jill Lepore's IF THEN comes with a signed bookplate. Please note books will be shipped out closer to the event date. You can RSVP for the free online event on September 22 at 11AM here.


Long before the world grew concerned about the invasive practices of Cambridge Analytica, Google, and Facebook, there was the Simulmatics Corporation, a short-lived data analytics pioneer created and run by oddballs, from charismatic self-promoters to eccentric social scientists. Hatched in the late 1950’s, the Simulatics Corporation unwittingly became the prototype for the ever-present Google, creating a mechanism to mine every detail of human behavior — for commercial and political profit. Their data simulator, which they christened “the People Machine,” churned out predictions on voting behavior for example, that was sold to the JFK campaign for the 1960 Presidential election. Madison Avenue would also use Simulmatics, and thus it became the new prophet.


Jill Lepore, in her thrilling new book, If Then, explores the nature and range of The People Machine — and its goal to predict behavior, whether commercial or political, and manipulate the outcome. Lepore, staff writer for The New Yorker, and the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University, excavates a forgotten company whose legacy in predictive analytics is nothing short of the data-mad, algorithmic world we live in now, besieged by the next notification informing what we’ll buy, what matters to us, and how we’ll vote.

In conversation with Dan Schnur, Professor at the Annenberg School of Communications at USC and at the University of California, Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies. He is the founder of the USC/L.A. Times Statewide Poll.


Shipping costs $6.00 and will be shipped Media Mail with tracking and insurance. We're also offering FREE curbside pickup at Chevalier's Books, 7 days a week 10am - 6pm. If you choose store pickup, we will email you when the order is ready.

IF THEN by Jill Lepore w/ Signed Bookplate






126 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004
323 - 465 - 1334
Everyday: 10AM - 6PM
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