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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Judy Corstjens on 21-02-17

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...

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18 of 22 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By errumm on 25-11-16

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!

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10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Hobbit Taz on 07-10-16

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.

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56 of 58 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 11-10-16

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.

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57 of 62 people found this review helpful

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