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Algorithms to Live By Audiobook

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

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Publisher's Summary

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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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.7 (48 )
5 star
 (35)
4 star
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3 star
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Overall
4.5 (40 )
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4 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.5 (40 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (13)
3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    saya 01/02/2017
    saya 01/02/2017 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "A book to read at 25!"

    Loved this book. It was my first audible purchase. It Sometimes got quite complicated but mostly extremely relatable to real life. It's a book I wish I had read in my mid twenties to set me up for life in order to help me make the right decisions. For those that are evidence based, this really helps you justify a decision. Worth the purchase!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02/07/2017 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Book."

    I'm going to listen to the whole book again. it's really worth it. It explores many paths of logic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rp125 Sydney, Australia 10/06/2017
    Rp125 Sydney, Australia 10/06/2017 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    13
    4
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    "Unlike any other book"

    I've read a lot of books on decision making. This one is unique in its perspective and deserves attention for its insights derived from algorithms. Very good book indeed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08/04/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
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    Story
    "Best non-fiction!"

    This book bridges my rational and emotional decision making. Full of insight! Best non-fiction I've read for 10 years!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Hobbit Taz
    St. Louis Missouri
    7/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I will Re-Read this one!"
    What made the experience of listening to Algorithms to Live By the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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).


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    24 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    22/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really Good"

    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.

    39 of 44 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    11/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beware non-techies"

    I have a hard time grasping computer science, statistics and the like. So, I did not follow the narrator's explanations very well. But I did like hearing the results of his stories. I listened to the whole book even though I probably only understood 20% of it. The narrator had a nice voice and that made it easy for me to keep listening.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Sean
    ATLANTA, Gabon
    24/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    70 of 81 people found this review helpful
  • GH
    Sherborn, MA, United States
    1/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    113 of 132 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen Redlack
    15/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Highly recommended"

    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.

    36 of 42 people found this review helpful
  • Martin
    23/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!

    39 of 46 people found this review helpful
  • sophia
    9/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent contents"

    A book that changed my view on how to approach challenges in life. This book gave not only insights but also concrete, usable strategies derived from researches of computer science, also drawing connections to relevant fields of social sciences. Clean, clear, well-supported, thoughtful, and substantial all the way to the end.An extraordinary piece of nonfiction.

    31 of 37 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    31/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"

    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.

    38 of 46 people found this review helpful
  • Wayne
    Matthews, NC
    7/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    58 of 72 people found this review helpful
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  • Judy Corstjens
    21/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Delightful insights into and from computer science"

    The authors set out to provide insights from computer science to help in your everyday life - how long to search before committing to your flat or wife, how to organise your closet to find your favourite clothes quickly, how to schedule interruptions and context switches to make your to-do list disappear faster. However, they also do a great job of sketching out the challenges that the wunderkinder at Google or Amazon solve everyday in their unending quest to make our lives better and richer and easier.

    Written by two computer scientists the prose is limpidly clear. Their logically trained minds cannot tolerate any ambiguity in a sentence - which makes the book above averagely readable, despite fairly sophisticated material.

    Narration. Sort of apt - read very clearly and melodiously by one of the authors (who thus understands the material), at exactly the correct speed for comprehension (I bet Christian researched this and timed himself). A little bit like an AI machine might narrate...

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    13/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • errumm
    25/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Julia
    Kenilworth, United Kingdom
    27/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Overview on Algorithms"
    What made the experience of listening to Algorithms to Live By the most enjoyable?

    The story's about the scientist using their knowledge in daily life.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is not a story but a facts book. I liked the the clear presentation.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Enjoy is not the right word, I took most out of how one might handle a drug addict relative.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Because of the title I expected to take out more practical advice out of the book, but that was not the case to the extend I had hoped for.


    Any additional comments?

    I think the title is a bit misleading. Maybe. A history of Algorithms in Computer Science spiced with anecdotes about the scientist is more to the point.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • James Smith
    Surrey, England.
    18/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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).

    26 of 38 people found this review helpful
  • James Kehoe
    5/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. P. A. A. Banjo
    London, UK
    2/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "brilliant!"

    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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Multirip
    Weston-super-Mare
    1/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A superb listen, fascinating and enlightening"

    This is the first time i have been moved to write a review for a book I have listened to, I always rate them but have not felt the need to comment before.

    This book is different - I found this to be a fascinating listen and, whilst some will look at the subject matter and perhaps feel it doesn't appeal to them, I would urge anyone to listen to it as it relates to almost everyone's lives in some way.

    The pace of this book is perfect, it starts with simple sorting and searching but accelerates through several other areas, inceasing the interest as it goes.
    It explains in simple to understand language without dumbing down the premise it is explaining - even though some of the concepts are quite complex, the explanations are always easy to follow.

    Whilst the narrator is no actor, his voice is reasonably pleasant, combined with his knowledge and obvious enthusiasm for the subject mean his presentation is easy on the ears.

    There are a few points of humour (see favourite quote below) and there are several places where I found it related exactly to scenarios I have found myself in - 'thrashing' being an example (I won't ruin the surprise as to what that refers to, but i would be surprised if a lot of people didn't relate to it.)

    Favourite quote of a quote from the book : "if you are flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire escape"

    Brilliant book and i will definitely be listening to it again.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Quinn
    13/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Kirsteen
    Tain, United Kingdom
    22/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable and Interesting Listen"

    I enjoyed listening to this book because it taught me new things. The author explains and suggests various algorithmic problems and their possible solutions. It made me consider new ways to approach problems in life. It also helped me create an optimal betting strategy for football betting.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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