Algorithms To Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

I picked this book up on a whim because it was cheap and had been on my "to read" list for a while.

It covers a number of Computer Science algorithms by relating them to real life examples where they are useful. For example the book relates the optimal stopping problem to renting a house, sorting algorithms to organising book shelves, etc.

I'm not so sure there's a lot of value in taking the book's recommendations as practical advice, but this is the first book I've read that seems like it could explain some interesting algorithms to people not previously interested.

For example, the book discusses the optimal stopping problem in terms of dating, suggesting that the mathematically optimal way to pick the best partner is to just look for ~37% of the time, and then settle with the next option which is better than those that came before.

The book explains some of the maths behind this and gives other interesting examples of where it could be relevant, but I don't see many people turning to it as an actual solution to finding a partner.

I felt that the book lost its way a little in the later chapters. While it was still interesting I think by the point of talking about overfitting models and relaxing requirements the analogies to real life were starting to get a little weak.

Either way, the book is cheap and it's a nice little read particularly for non-technical people to understand a little about how Computer Science works.

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions

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