> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 3 April 2014
  • ISBN: 9780753549254
  • Imprint: Virgin Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

The Formula

How Algorithms Solve all our Problems … and Create More

Formats & editions

The story of how a mathematical concept came to shape all of our lives

What if everything in life could be reduced to a simple formula? What if numbers were able to tell us which partners we were best matched with – not just in terms of attractiveness, but for a long-term committed marriage? Or if they could say which films would be the biggest hits at the box office, and what changes could be made to those films to make them even more successful? Or even who out of us is likely to commit certain crimes, and when? This may sound like the world of science-fiction, but in fact it is just the tip of the iceberg in a world that is increasingly ruled by complex algorithms and neural networks.

In The Formula, Luke Dormehl takes you inside the world of numbers, asking how we came to believe in the all-conquering power of algorithms; introducing the mathematicians, artificial intelligence experts and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are shaping this brave new world, and ultimately asking how we survive in an era where numbers can sometimes seem to create as many problems as they solve.

  • Pub date: 3 April 2014
  • ISBN: 9780753549254
  • Imprint: Virgin Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 304

About the Author

Luke Dormehl

Luke Dormehl is a journalist and filmmaker and author of The Apple Revolution: The Real Story of how Steve Jobs and The Crazy Ones Took Over the World. His writing has appeared in publications including The Chap, SFX and Fighting Spirit. He has conducted numerous interviews with people for both print and television, including, Sir Ian McKellen and Alain de Botton. Dormehl has directed several documentary films, most recently The Pantomime (2009), a look at behind-the-scenes turmoil in a small village panto, which was narrated by the actor Simon Callow.

Also by Luke Dormehl

See all

Praise for The Formula

“A persuasive, timely interrogation of one of our age's most dangerous assumptions: that information is the same as understanding, and that everything which counts can be counted.”

Tom Chatfield, author of Netymology and How to Thrive in the Digital Age

“This is exactly the type of book we need to be reading as society considers the computerized control of nearly all the systems that affect our lives.”

Chris Dannen, Fast Company

“A smart and thoughtful overview of algorithms and how they affect our daily lives.”

John P. Kelley, President and CEO of Blackstone Discovery

Related titles