Algorithms to Live by: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

Version: Unabridged
Author: Brian Christian , Tom Griffiths
Narrator: Brian Christian
Genres: Computers, Non-Fiction, Psychology
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published In: April 2016
# of Units: 10 CDs
Length: 12 hours
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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.

Reviews (2)


Written by Alexander A on October 30th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 3/5

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.

Written by Adrian Facio on March 8th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 5/5

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

Author Details

Author Details

Christian, Brian

Brian Christian is the author of "The Most Human Human: What Artificial Intelligence Teaches Us About Being Alive", which was a "Wall Street Journal" bestseller and a "New Yorker "favorite book of the year. Alongside Steven Pinker and Daniel Kahneman, he was shortlisted for the Best Book of Ideas prize in the UK.

Griffiths, Tom

Tom Griffiths is a professor of psychology and cognitive science at UC Berkeley, where he directs the Computational Cognitive Science Lab. He has published more than 150 scientific papers on topics ranging from cognitive psychology to cultural evolution, and has received awards from the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the American Psychological Association, and the Psychonomic Society, among others. He lives in Berkeley.