Swipe to look inside
Bad Choices

Bad Choices

How Algorithms Can Help You Think Smarter and Live Happier


Bad Choices

About the Book

A relatable, interactive, and funny exploration of algorithms, those essential building blocks of computer science—and of everyday life—from the author of the wildly popular Bad Arguments
Algorithms—processes that are made up of unambiguous steps and do something useful—make up the very foundations of computer science. But they also inform our choices in approaching everyday tasks, from managing a pile of clothes fresh out of the dryer to deciding what music to listen to.

With Bad Choices, Ali Almossawi presents twelve scenes from everyday life that help demonstrate and demystify the fundamental algorithms that drive computer science, bringing these seemingly elusive concepts into the understandable realms of the everyday.

Readers will discover how:
   • Matching socks can teach you about search and hash tables
   • Planning trips to the store can demonstrate the value of stacks
   • Deciding what music to listen to shows why link analysis is all-important
   • Crafting a succinct Tweet draws on ideas from compression
   • Making your way through a grocery list helps explain priority queues and traversing graphs
   • And more

As you better understand algorithms, you’ll also discover what makes a method faster and more efficient, helping you 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.

Product Details

On sale: April 4, 2017
Page count: 160 Pages
ISBN: 9780735222120

Author Bio

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. 


Praise for Ali Almossawi’s BAD CHOICES

“One of the more clever ways of introducing computational thinking to the general public.”
—Vint Cerf, Turing Award winner, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, a “Father of the Internet”

“Perfect for anyone wanting to understand the basics of Computer Science.”
Cesar Hidalgo, Director of the Collective Learning group at the MIT Media Lab

“What I appreciated most was how the book became a survey of things I take for granted every day, shining a light on these algorithms and showing me different ways to think about and consider them.”
—Jamis Buck, author of Mazes for Programmers

“Almossawi picks everyday tasks like sorting socks, discovering new music, and writing witty status updates and examines the most efficient ways to achieve them. Each short chapter, mercifully barren of headache-inducing formulas, spotlights different computer-science concepts that can be put to use ineach situation, like context switching and linearithmic time.... Anyone with a high-school-level understanding of math or a penchant for logicpuzzles will appreciate this easily digestible primer on how little choices can make a big difference.”

Praise for Ali Almossawi’s BAD ARGUMENTS

"A very good book every scientist should have. Every scholar really."
Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl

“Seriously, An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments should be on every school curriculum. Twitter will be a more civil place.”
“A great primer for anyone looking to understand logical fallacies and become a better debater. It helps that each logical fallacy is accompanied by a comic featuring a funny animal... Check it out and pass it along to all the arguers—good and bad—in your life.”
“Now more than ever, you need this illustrated guide to bad arguments, faulty logic, and silly rhetoric.”
Fast Company
“Need a great coffee table book that looks like a kid’s book but will teach everyone around you to think more critically? This is the book. Share with your friends. Encourage your family members to flip through it. Casually leave copies in public places.”
“Wonderfully digestible . . . I can’t think of a better way to be taught or reintroduced to these fundamental notions of logical discourse. A delightful little book.”
Aaron Koblin, creative director, Google’s Data Arts team

“I love this illustrated book of bad arguments. A flawless compendium of flaws.”
Alice Roberts, PhD, anatomist, writer, and presenter of The Incredible Human Journey

“Bad arguments, great illustrations . . . gorgeous.”
Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net

“[A] handsome newcomer’s guide to the world of logic . . . Almossawi and his McSweeney’s-ready artist Giraldo accessibly tackle such classic subjects as circular reasoning, false dilemma, straw man, appeal to ignorance, and genetic fallacy . . . An attractive, substantive read.”
John Wenzel, Denver Post blog