Bad Choices: How Algorithms Can Help You Think Smarter and Live Happier (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Algorithms sound scary, I know. The word conjures images of chalkboards, room-sized computers, and people talking over each other in hopeless jargon. But if you’ve ever prioritized tasks at work, set out to do errands, or put your socks away, then you’ve already created and followed simple algorithms. In Bad Choices, Ali Almossawi explores how thinking about algorithms can make life easier for everyone. With straightforward explanations and real-world examples, this book gives us laypeople access to insights from a field that can seem impenetrably complex—and it entertains along the way. -Justin

— From Spring Booknotes 2017


The wildly popular author of Bad Arguments returns with a funny, smart introduction to algorithms--those perennially misunderstood, increasingly important problem-solving rules that can save you time and lead to better choices, every day.
Why is Facebook so good at predicting what you like?
How do you discover new music?

What's the best way to sort your laundry?
Readers around the world have embraced Ali Almossawi's whimsical illustrations--drawn by his collaborator Alejandro Giraldo--and his funny, clarifying explanations of complex subjects. In fewer than 200 pages, Almossawi demystifies a new topic of increasing relevance to our lives: algorithms. Bad Choices is a book for anyone who's looked at a given task and wondered if there was a better, faster way to get the task done. What's the best way to organize a grocery list? What's the secret to being more productive at work? How can we better express ourselves in 140-characters?
Presenting us with alternative methods for tackling twelve different scenarios, Almossawi guides us to better choices that borrow from same systems that underline a computer word processor, a Google search engine, or a Facebook ad. Once you recognize what makes a method faster and more efficient, you'll become a more nimble, creative problem-solver, ready to face new challenges. Bad Choices will open the world of algorithms to all readers making this a perennial go-to for fans of quirky, accessible science books.

About the Author

Ali Almossawi is the creator and maintainer of An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments, which has been read by 2.4 million readers and translated into 17 languages, 11 of which were done by volunteers from across the world. Almossawi formerly worked on the Firefox team at Mozilla and is an alumnus of MIT's System Design and Management program and Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science. Previous stints included working as a research associate at Harvard and as a collaborator with the MIT Media Lab.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780735222120
ISBN-10: 0735222126
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Pages: 160
Language: English