When Algorithms Can’t Help – Tips for Making Those Life-Changing Decisions

Bronwyn Williams (Flux Trends) reviews “Wild Problems: A Guide to the Decisions That Define Us” by Russ Roberts of EconTalk.

– Calculating numbers can’t give you the answers to all of life’s problems

– Ross Roberts’ new book explores how to make big life decisions that can’t be answered with measurement or calculation


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Each week, The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews the author or reviewer of a new or trending business book.

This week, Whitfield spoke with Bronwyn Williams, trend translator and future finance specialist at Flux Trends.

She reviewed “Wild Problems: A Guide to the Decisions That Define Us” by Russ Roberts, host of the award-winning weekly podcast EconTalk.

The book is described as “a guide to decision-making when you can’t work out the numbers”.

It’s worth referencing the “Rationalist’s Guide to the Galaxy” (Tom Chivers) who tried to do the exact opposite – tried to streamline all decision-making into bits and bytes and neat little spreadsheets. Roberts is actually referring to this book…

Bronwyn Williams, Trend Translator and Future Finance Specialist – Flux Trends

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This book is really about making decisions about our happiness, fulfillment, or more specifically “fulfilment”…those kinds of decisions can’t be so easily measured and managed in a very utilitarian way like economists do daily.

Bronwyn Williams, Trend Translator and Future Finance Specialist – Flux Trends

Description on Amazon:

Algorithms and apps analyze the data and tell you how to avoid traffic, what books to buy, what music to listen to, and even who to hang out with, often with great results.

But what do you do when you’re faced with life’s big decisions – the “wild problems” of who to marry, have children, where to move, how to build a life well lived – that can’t be solved by measure or calculation ?

In Wild Problems, beloved EconTalk host Russ Roberts offers perplexed rationalists a way to solve these wild problems. He suggests spending less time and energy on the path that promises the most happiness, and more time figuring out who you really want to be.

It draws on the experience of great artists, writers, and scientists of the past who found creative ways to navigate life’s biggest questions. And it lays out strategies for reducing the fear and loss of control that inevitably occur when a wild problem requires a leap into the dark.

Ultimately, Roberts asks us to see ourselves and our lives less as a problem to be solved than a mystery to be lived. There is no good decision waiting to be discovered by rational application or analysis. The reality is more difficult than that and, perhaps, a little more interesting.

Scroll up to listen to the review

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Sharon D. Cole