I recently read this amazing book called Algorithms to Live By and really I cannot recommend it enough. It resonated with me in all aspects, given that I’ve always been interested in psychology as well as it has all the analogies in computer science. This is a psych book that explores how mathematical equations and algorithms can be applied to various aspects of our lives, such as decision making, memory management, and scheduling. I want to touch on some of my key takeways but will make sure to not give it all away because I highly suggest you reading it!
The first key takeaway for me was the concept of optimal stopping, which is essentially a class of mathematical problems that involves finding the right balance between exploring new options and exploiting existing knowledge. There's even a 37% rule that can help guide decision making in this regard, whether you're looking for an apartment, a life partner, or a parking spot!
Another interesting insight was the idea that human memory works like caching, where we retrieve information that is most relevant to the current situation. And when it comes to scheduling, there's actually no one optimal solution - this is called an intractable problem in computer science. So, we need to find a way to balance our cognitive load and manage our time efficiently, even if it means adopting the shortest processing time or the earliest due date.
The book also delves into the power law distribution, which explains why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Lastly, there's a concept called information cascade, where misinformation can spread like wildfire through multiple layers of communication. That's why it's important to question everything and not just take things at face value especially with how fast AI is moving.
Overall, reading this book has made me more aware of how I make decisions and manage my time. It's also helped me appreciate the parallels between computer science and psychology. I highly recommend checking it out!