Review: Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths - Algorithms to Live By

Today, I finished Algorithms to Live By – The Computer Science of Human Decisions. I found out about this book at a meetup about software craftsmanship. At the meetup, we discussed the first chapter of the book and it looked very promising. Hence, I decided to read it. Here’s what it did to me.

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The first chapters were really fun to read. It’s about the optimal stopping problem and how you can use it in the real world. However, in the next chapters, the book went quite downhill. The fun parts with real life examples were replaced with technical mumbo jumbo. The worst part is that I already knew all that mumbo jumbo.

The book started to take too long for my good. I got quite bored with it, even though there were some fun facts to remember. According to the book itself, I should have stopped right there. Instead, I finished it. Because it’s important for me to finish books.

The last part, about computational kindness, really was a take-away. I would recommend Algorithms to Live By to anyone with little knowledge about computer science. It might be fun for people who have touched the subject, but for me it just didn’t do it. Therefore, I rate the book 3 stars.

Have you read a book about computer science? Or Algorithms to Live By? What are your thoughts about it? The comments section is ready for you!