Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

We rated this book:

$28.00


Computers these days are pretty damned impressive. They can do mind-boggling calculations, process hundreds of thousands of requests at once, and outpace humans at seemingly every turn. And yet, they pale in comparison to the visual and deductive processing power of the human brain. But what if we take the comparison one step further, analyzing the brain as we would a computer? What insights could we draw on the subject of strong decision-making by treating our brains like top notch machines?

Plenty, as it turns out. Algorithms to Live By explores how concepts like programming and algorithms — so common in modern computers — apply to how we organize our thoughts and the items in our home, like clothes and books (sorting and caching), to how our memories work, and how we prioritize both inconsequential choices and life or death decisions. It’s a marvellously accessible way to look at the incredible complexity of the brain, taking ideas like buffering and optimization and applying them to everyday life. “We say ‘brain fart’ when we should rally say “cache miss.”Although it’s a dense read, it’s worthwhile, one that challenges you and expands your mind all at once.

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Brian Christian • Tom Griffiths
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 368 pages
Publisher Henry Holt and Co.
Publish Date 19-Apr-2016
ISBN 9781627790369
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2016
Category Science & Nature
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