Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Narrated by:
Brian Christian

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
April 2016
11 hours 50 minutes
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 (who holds degrees in computer science, philosophy, and poetry, and works at the intersection of all three) and Tom Griffiths (a UC Berkeley professor of cognitive science and psychology) 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.
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E W.

This book describes the mathematical side of algorithms as used  (hypothetically or practically) in selecting a spouse, selecting a secretary or organizing a sports tournament.  These are the subjects I listened to, only to conclude that none of these interested me much, as did the underlying mathematics. A promising subject, but I lost interest quickly.  The narrator has a clear and rather monotonous diction, which might help in following the text but also makes it useful for those struggling with insomnia.  Tone down the speed and you'll be gone within 10 minutes.

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Vas V.


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too difficult to follow

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Alexander A

The concepts introduced in this book were interesting for sure. But unfortunately, the author didn't go into any real detail. It appears as though the authors were far more concerned with the quantity of "algorithms" explored; than their quality. Further, the book was disorganized and ultimately left me -the listener- disappointed. The narrator was very clear. But, read a bit slow for my tastes. I opted to listen to this book at 1.25x speed.

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Adrian Facio

excellent, amusing and yet profound approach oficina thinking about Life possibilities

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