Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions Paperback – 26 Apr 2017
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‘I’ve been waiting for a book to come along that merges computational models with human psychology – and Christian and Griffiths have succeeded beyond all expectations. This is a wonderful book, written so that anyone can understand the computer science that runs our world – and more importantly, what it means to our lives’ David Eagleman, author of ‘Sum: Tales from the Afterlives’
‘Compelling and entertaining, Algorithms to Live By is packed with practical advice about how to use time, space, and effort more efficiently. And it’s a fascinating exploration of the workings of computer science and the human mind. Whether you want to optimize your to-do list, organize your closet, or understand human memory, this is a great read’ ‘Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit’
‘A truly beautiful exploration through math, computer science and philosophy of some of the most ordinary, yet most important dilemmas any of us is likely to face. Filled with humour and wisdom, this is a bible with a brain’ Aarathi Prasad
About the Author
Brian Christian is the bestselling author of The Most Human , which was named a Wall Street Journal bestseller and a New Yorker favorite book of 2011. His writing has appeared in Wired, The
Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal and The Paris Review, among others. Brian has been a featured guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Charlie Rose Show, NPR's Radiolab and the BBC and has lectured at Google, Microsoft, SETI, the Santa Fe Institute, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and
the London School of Economics.
Tom Griffiths is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science and Director of the Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He has published over 150 scientific papers on a wide range of topics, including machine learning and cultural evolution in addition.
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But keeping the bad part aside this book is worth a read, as there are many important computer concepts you can actually follow in your lifes.
The author should have provided a summary of every rule with the underlying assumptions at the end of each chapters. Its easy to misinterpret the rules if one does not understand the underlying assumptions. For example the '37% stopping rule' for the secretary problem is only valid with he underlying condition that 'once the candidate is rejected he can't be recalled'. A simple summary of these rules written as hypothesis at the end of each chapter would have made this book much better.
1) How many people do you know who 'settled' for a partner to get married to because it happened to be the right time in their lives?
2) How do you choose when you've made enough money when trying to sell a stock/real estate for a profit?
3) How do you decide between an old favorite and trying something new, or for that katter resigning your job vs finding a new unknown job?
The brain makes fairly good decisions about these but having heuristics as given in this book would help immensely.
Further i found this book profound. A sample of lines from the book, albeit as a quote
'I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again'
I bought this book several months ago just for random reading, but when I got to it, it turned out to be one of the best books I read in the entire year of 2017. Deserves wide audience and deserves to be read by everyone who wants to make informed choices in face of uncertainty.
Fully deserves the five stars I gave it. Great content, we'll written, and concise to top it off.
My only beef with this book is the colour of the book and the cover design. It seemed liked I was reading a Banana Pie recipe book ! I covered it with a banana peel cover.
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