Optimal Illusions Book Summary - Optimal Illusions Book explained in key points
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Optimal Illusions summary

Coco Krumme

The False Promise of Optimization

3.2 (65 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Optimal Illusions by Coco Krumme is a thought-provoking book that explores the power of illusions in shaping our perception of reality and offers insights into how we can make better decisions in an increasingly complex world.

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    Optimal Illusions
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    Optimization powers our modern world

    In today’s world, optimization isn’t just a concept; it’s the driving force behind our daily interactions, choices, and experiences. 

    A concept originating from the Latin word optimus, meaning the best, optimization seeks to find the ideal solution within set parameters. 

    Imagine owning a lemonade stand, and your quest is to produce the most refreshing lemonade for a line of thirsty customers. The questions of how sweet or tart it should be, what ingredients are on hand, and how your recipe can cater to varying tastes all influence how you strategize and optimize your business. Even a business as simple as a lemonade stand isn’t so simple. You need to balance resources, consumer desires and supply chain constraints to deliver the best possible outcome.

    But what about when our desire for optimization meets the modern world’s technological advances?

    When you place an order on Amazon, conduct a quick Google search, or sift through movie titles on Netflix, a complex web of algorithms and mathematical models springs into action behind the scenes, working to provide the best suggestions. This relentless drive toward perfection, stemming from the promise of optimization, is condensed into such daily activities. That’s how you’ve been getting your same-day deliveries, search results that make sense, and movie recommendations that you’re most likely to enjoy.

    It’s clear, then, that optimization promises improved efficiency and productivity by refining processes and maximizing outcomes within set constraints. Its strengths go beyond production efficiency in industry; optimization allows us to accomplish tasks more swiftly, utilize resources to their potential, and improve product and service quality by leaps and bounds.

    What’s more, we can now access the right tools to tackle previously insurmountable bottlenecks and predict the potential consequences of our choices, enough to avoid more problems and make better decisions. 

    Consider the circulatory system of global commerce: Trucks, airplanes, conveyor belts, and bubble wrap deliver on business promises to consumers. Behind this intricate system lie powerful equations and codes driven by precise mathematical models, all striving for excellence.

    With so many achievements to celebrate, have you ever wondered where our drive for perfection came from? Let’s find out.

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    What is Optimal Illusions about?

    Optimal Illusions (2023) explores the potential pitfalls of over-optimization. Unpacking the consequences of a world obsessed with efficiency, it sheds light on social imbalances, environmental damage, and the unyielding grip of rigid systems. Brace yourself for a paradigm shift as it unveils a new way to optimize – one that balances efficiency with resilience, diversity, and inclusion.

    Optimal Illusions Review

    Optimal Illusions (2021) by Coco Krumme is a thought-provoking exploration of the inherent biases that shape our perceptions and decisions. Here's why this book is worth a read:

    • It uncovers the hidden forces influencing our choices, offering valuable insights into how we can navigate a world filled with illusions.
    • With its compelling examples and research, the book challenges common assumptions, prompting readers to question their own perspectives.
    • By delving into the psychology behind our cognitive biases, Optimal Illusions reveals the fascinating complexity of human decision-making, making it far from boring.

    Who should read Optimal Illusions?

    • Strategists seeking resilience
    • Innovators embracing complexity
    • Leaders prioritizing humanity

    About the Author

    Coco Krumme, an applied mathematician, writer, and consultant, is the author of the book Data-Driven Storytelling. The MIT graduate is also the founder of Leeward Co., a consultancy that helps organizations use data and analytics to solve complex problems responsibly.

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    Optimal Illusions FAQs 

    What is the main message of Optimal Illusions?

    The main message of Optimal Illusions is that our perceptions can be manipulated to create more positive and satisfying experiences.

    How long does it take to read Optimal Illusions?

    The reading time for Optimal Illusions varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Optimal Illusions a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Optimal Illusions is a fascinating read as it explores the tricks our mind plays on us. It provides valuable insights into how our perceptions shape our reality.

    Who is the author of Optimal Illusions?

    Coco Krumme is the author of Optimal Illusions.

    What to read after Optimal Illusions?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Optimal Illusions, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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