A fascinating exploration of how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind.
All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us.
In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths show how the simple, precise algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to understanding the workings of human memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.
©2016 Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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"Algorithm: The set of steps to accomplish a task"
A recipe is an algorithm used in cooking. Remember the 2005 - 2010 CBS TV program NUMB3RS where math professor Charlie Epps solved all of the FBI crime issues for his FBI agent brother Don using math algorithms? Charlie had algorithms for everything. My problem with that program was that they never defined the word algorithm resulting in many viewers believing it was hocus pocus rather than the solid science it really is . This book does a better job of definition as it applies to computers then provides numerous real world helpful examples. It is a marvelous book! But I down rate it to 4 stars because (1) the authors make several errors which they say will be corrected in the paperback and (2) they use several terms without definition such as "factorial" and "polynomial" which are not part of the vocabulary of many potential listeners.
"Absolute Must Listen"
If you are into computers, this book is a must, and if you are not, it is still very interesting. You get to hear about numerous different algorithms that affect our daily lives in a unique and interesting narrative. This book is written by authorities. One of the authors is an accomplished Professor and the other an extremely accomplished author.
This book seeks to shed light on the various algorithms that shape our lives that computer science has in many cases solved. This books does not have equations or heavy theory so lay-listeners are safe, but there is enough meat on the bone for us folks in the biz something to chew on. Give it a listen.
"I will Re-Read this one!"
I Don't normally write reviews on books and movies - but this one I started promoting to fellow workers before I was 1/2 way through it. It was a really interesting way to look at everyday life tasks and the methods used for best results based in mathematical and computer Algorithm theorems (but explaining in everyday non-mathematical ways). I will have to read again myself.
I think taking the book in small portions (a chapter at a time - listening to it a couple times even if you miss following a portion). Allow the material to soak in and measure it against your everyday activities to best decide which of the Algorithms to best apply to your (or I found in some cases explained what I was already doing).
On a Side note if you are like me and deal with computers / numbers / and other such detail oriented thinking you probably are aware of some or many of the algorithms mentioned, but it was interesting to see them applied to everyday activities.
"Accessible and engaging"
I have an engineering background, but little formal computer science training. The text felt approachable for a general audience and the authors weave in some good stories. I was familiar with the topics on probability, randomness and optimization, yet found valuable new insights. Recommended to anyone with an interest in computing, algorithms and decision making.
I really enjoyed this book all the way through. After listening, I feel like more mentally efficient and organized. The chapter in caching was especially helpful for organizing myself a bit better. Highly recommend.
"Excellent Review of Dense Topics"
I found this book a wonderful read for those interested in the why behind many common frustrations in life. The authors expertly explain topics that I was unable to fully grasp in my graduate level courses. They also use wonderful quotes from scientists, philosophers, and popular culture to help convey complicated philosophical ideas.
This is one of the best books I have read. It entertained me while challenging my current way of thinking. I highly recommend it.
"Unconventional look at everyday life situations"
The book offers a truly interesting view on decision making we have to do in everyday life. It has been a few weeks since I read it and I now do not recall exactly all the approaches described, but I do use some of the them and I believe it gives me some extra energy and time every day - very useful resource these days!
Narration is good.
Ideas presented are both intriguing and actionable, especially if you already have an engineering or process improvement mindset.
Great for managers, game players and people who understand the value of data-backed decision making.
Gave a good account on the role of algorithms and its reflection on human behavior. The maths are succinctly explained without having to resort to pen and paper. Great inspirational book.
"What's dryer than sand and crackers?"
Well, it was interesting to learn how algorithms are a part of our everyday experience. Some of the topics seemed sort of 'no brainers,' others captured a bit more of the imagination and were insightful.
I had an extremely difficult time making it through this book. The person reading had an unexciting and near monotone voice. I had to go back and rewind numerous times because my mind would trail off on something completely unrelated to the book.
Maybe they have more visuals in the book, 'spice' things up a bit more than the audio version. :-)
"One of the most educational and fun books I've read"
A great book from start to finish.
Every chapter has a great balance of computer science and its application to human life alongside a healthy dose of history.
The first book I've heard in audio that proved too good not to buy a readable version for reference.
Please write a follow up!
"Why good people get it wrong"
If you've ever felt the odd one out; ever doubted your decisions; always seemed to go against the herd out of compassion, only to see them right: here is your redemption. A book implicitly about the Buddhist conundrum: Why bad things happen to good people (or, why good people get it wrong).
"Computer science as easy as pop culture"
Take ordinary questions, some seemingly mundane, and try to scale them past matching socks to matching preferences to Netflix selections and you have a computer science set of priorities laid out in layman's terms.
A fascinating topic with lessons for everyday life and complex ideas were presented elegantly and clearly. one of my favourite audible books. Explore or exploit? Optimising decision making. How to design better outcomes are just a few of the ideas explored.
"Great and practical concepts, too much theory "
The concepts, parallels anf conclusions are very good, but the background and introductions are a bit too long. The book could be some 36% shorter.
"Your problems have already been solved!"
Most problems you struggle with, have already been solved. Read this and get inspired, and maybe find a few new solutions, you'll also find that you're already smarter than you realise.
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