My name is Maria, and today we’re talking about “Algorithms to live by” by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths.
As the title suggests, this book is about the computer science of human decisions.
There are so many interesting aspects that are covered throughout this book, but I would like to focus on one in particular.
What it means is essentially over-compensating for something that’s being measured.
And they talk about how this can have a negative effect in the business world.
In terms of how we incentivize things.
Essentially, people will build whatever the leader is measuring.
Whatever the metric is that is considered important, that is what people in your group, in your business will be focusing on maximizing.
In the real world, when we’re trying to evaluate someone’s performance, is someone a top performer, or are they simply hitting a specific metric very well?
And that’s something important that we want to distinguish when we’re trying to analyze and understand job performance.
Well what’s the answer, how do we combat this issue?
Well Christian and Griffiths suggest something called “Cross validation”.
So essentially, cross validation is focusing on the key metric and measuring it, but also having one or two extra metrics that you can cross-reference to see if their performance is only specific in a certain area, or if they’re performing well across the board.
This is a very important concept in a business setting that we have to be aware of.
When we’re measuring a specific metric, people will naturally try and do well and perform to that metric.
However, don’t confuse that for being an all-star performer.
That could just mean that they’re performing very well on a specific metric and falling behind on other factors.
One thing I liked about this book is that it breaks down the concepts that are being discussed.
Christian and Griffiths really do a great job of taking you throughout the history of where these formulas and ideas came from and then also trying to apply them in a real world setting of how in many cases we’re not even aware of how these things play a role in our lives or could play a role in our lives.
I really like how they break down the ideas quite clearly for us.
And really, this book is packed with relevant information, there are so many interesting formulas and mathematicians and scientists that are discussed in this book that it’s just really, it’s sort of a history lesson, but also a real life application of how these people have influenced the way we perceive things and the way businesses and humans function.
Now to the negatives.
One thing I really thought was missing from this book was chapter summaries.
I would have really appreciated having chapter summaries because this book is so detailed and specific and heavy in terms of knowledge that at the end of each chapter, I really needed some key breakdowns that I could really take away without having to read the whole chapter again.
So, that’s something I think they missed out on here.
Another thing that I was slightly disappointed with, was that I didn’t find the real world applications as clear as I was expecting.
I was just expecting more real world examples of how I could really transfer this into my day-to-day life.
But really, a lot of these ideas are very fascinating but I can’t really use them in my daily life.
Well, if you enjoy math and data, this book is absolutely for you.
And I also think if you’re interested in challenging yourself and exploring a new field, this book is for you.
I don’t have a background in math and data analytics and I really enjoyed reading it.
It was a good challenge and some of the things I didn’t fully understand, but I read over it and tried to understand it.
And I definitely enjoyed the challenge of it.
So if you want to challenge yourself, and gain a new understanding of a new field that you’ve never explored, this book is definitely for you.
That’s it, that’s my book review of “Algorithms to live by” by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths.
If you want to see what I talked about here in a written format, or you want more information on the authors, please head over to by blog, www.promotekdbook.com.
Next week I’ll be back with another book review.
But until then, keep reading and keep learning.Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015CKNWJI