Thursday, January 19, 2017

Algorithms to Live By

You peer through the windshield as you approach your destination. It's not far now, maybe 1 more block? Now that you're so close, do you take the first parking spot you see, or do you take the chance that maybe there'll be an open one right in front of your favourite restaurant?

Humans guess at the right answer in a million different circumstances. Some with experience guess better, but we can all use help in a number of different ways. In Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions, the authors offer some tips on how to optimize your processes.

You can't always optimize your outcome. Whether a parking spot is indeed open right in front of your destination comes down to chance. But if you optimize your processes, you can make decisions that put the odds in your favour. When you aggregate good decisions over a lifetime, the result may be a pretty good outcome!

I learned a lot about computer algorithms in the book, and how their findings can be applied to real life. I actually almost put the book down after two chapters, but I didn't and I'm glad, because the rest of the book was pretty good.


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