Brendon Schrodinger's Reviews > Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian
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it was amazing
bookshelves: inspirational, math, psychology

This is one of those books that you pick up in the hope that it lives up to its title but is likely not to because it was written by someone from marketing. Every now and then it pays off, and this is one of those times.

This book spoke volumes to me. I have studied math, and I love math especially applying it to scientific problems. But I have never looked into algorithms, nor have I been taught algorithms. What a shame! I took to the ideas instantly and it all made complete sense - not only the algorithms, but the living by them. I guess it all ties into how our brains work and how Turing likened computers to our brains. It all makes sense because our brains are computers that work by algorithms. Messy algorithms that clash and battle against each other, but predictable in some ways.

So embracing how algorithms work and some of the solutions they suggest and applying them to your everyday life may seem like a stretch, but you're already doing it, you just don't realise it. And you may not be solving your problems in the most effective manner, but the authors explore the reasons for that too.

So if you view reality like I do, pick this book up. It has more revelations in it than any holy text. It gives me frameworks to work on problems that I already think about. It helped me make even more sense of this crazy place.

As soon as I finished the audiobook I started right back at the beginning again. The narrator is one of the authors and he does a brilliant job. I'm going to get a physical copy of this too when it is out in paperback. It's a keeper. It's a treasure. So much bliss!
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Reading Progress

May 3, 2016 – Shelved
May 3, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
August 6, 2016 – Finished Reading
August 13, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
August 13, 2016 – Shelved as: inspirational
August 13, 2016 – Shelved as: math
August 13, 2016 – Shelved as: psychology

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast) Sounds very fascinating! And the concept makes a lot of sense, too, as everything we humans make is an extension of ourselves- cameras are an extension of our eyes, cars are an extension of our legs, fine machinery an extension of our hands, and of course, computers an extension of our brain.

Grumpus This was on my watch list and because I believe I view reality the way you do, I'm going to get around to this one sooner than later.

Brendon Schrodinger Somewhat yes Mia. The book is more about solving mathematical problems like where to park, when to buy a house, how to find love, and how to get old.

Grumpus, it's a damn good read. Let's hear it for those who move through life with other people constantly wondering if they're slightly autistic, but you just love math, books and not talking to most people.

Grumpus I had to check and see if you read Quiet by Susan Cain and saw that you did. Like you, I found that explains it all and made me proud and confident in who I am.

Dysonlu “The book is more about solving mathematical problems like where to park, when to buy a house, how to find love, and how to get old.”

I think they are more mathematical exercises then practical solution to every day life. The theory presented is making lots of assumptions while real life is more complicated, with lots of unknowns. Finding love, for instance, the authors just arbitrarily set the chance of rejection at 50/50. In the real, it depends on many factors, which makes this impossible to determine.

Ng Jing Siang Brian has a degree in computer science. Is he working as a marketer?

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