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The Drunkard's walk : how randomness rules…

The Drunkard's walk : how randomness rules our lives (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Leonard Mlodinow

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1,931613,538 (3.89)75
Title:The Drunkard's walk : how randomness rules our lives
Authors:Leonard Mlodinow
Info:New York : Pantheon Books, c2008.
Tags:Mathematics, Probability & Statistics

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The Drunkard's Walk : How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow (2008)


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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
I would normally give a book like this four stars, for I enjoyed it very much, but on reflection I think Mlodinow did a very good job making probability (and a little statistics) quite accessible to the general reader. I got a kick looking at some of the Goodreads comments when I was finished... "I'm a mathematician and this book was drivel", "I'm a mathematician and this book was great", "I'm an English major and I liked it." (All paraphrased, of course) One reviewer even carped that the title didn't show up until quite late in the book. Lighten up, Francis... background and setup are okay, right? Guess not.

Chill out folks...the math is good, the stories entertaining, the history enlightening, and the flow very good. If you're a mathematician sneering at a physicist's treatment of your world, bring it down a notch or three - he made probability readable and was spot on in doing it. If you're an English teacher, don't be offended when Mlodinow points out arbitrary grading of papers.

Like Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise, complex subject matter made easy is something to be applauded. So...five stars. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
I chose this book at random from my public library. Okay well not quite at random as it was displayed prominently on the shelf with its front cover facing out. But I had not heard of it and didn't know anything of its contents. Chalk it up to serendipity that you are now reading my review of this book.

Cal Tech physicist Leonard Mlodinow tackles the problem of randomness. Randomness goes unrecognized by many people because by nature, people try to discern some sort of cause or pattern behind random events. By examining and interpreting data, statistics, the history of thought on probabilities, Mlodinow argues that our best laid plans are fraught with uncertainty.

Fair point and there are some interesting things here, especially if you life statistics and math. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
not in CLAN
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
Though statistics and probabilities are not really "my thing", and at times I wanted to read sometihng a little more lighthearted (I was reading this during the holidays), the book presented some interesting ideas. I'm not sure if I felt inspired or disheartened by the ideas presented. The author touches on the human need to feel that they have some measure of control - and then presented the idea that we basically have none.
I listened to this as a book on CD and thought the reader did a fabulous job. ( )
  KylaS | Feb 18, 2016 |
Mlodinow actually makes probability and statistics interesting. ( )
  proflinton | Aug 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
This book is rich in handy little definitions that serve as signposts for would-be gamblers: availability bias, for instance, and the law of sample space; the lucky-guess scenario and the wrong-guess scenario; the prosecutor's fallacy, the sharpshooter effect and the law of large numbers.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Guardian, Tim Radford (Jul 12, 2008)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leonard Mlodinowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alfaro, DiegoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Campante, SérgioCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jurkiewicz, SamuelConsultoriasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Katerinov, IlariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
KeenanCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lokk, VahurTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niehaus, MonikaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olvet, TriinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pratt, SeanReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soonsein, ReinDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zijlemaker, CarlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my three miracles of randomness: Olivia, Nicolai, and Alexi ... and for Sabina Jakubowicz
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A few years ago, a man won the Spanish national lottery with a ticket that ended in the number 48.
If psychics really existed, you'd see them in places like [Monte Carlo], hooting and dancing and pushing wheelbarrows of money down the street, and not on Web sites calling themselves Zelda Who Knows All and Sees All and offering twenty-four-hour free online love advice [...].
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307275175, Paperback)

Amazon Guest Review: Stephen Hawking
Published in 1988, Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time became perhaps one of the unlikeliest bestsellers in history: a not-so-dumbed-down exploration of physics and the universe that occupied the London Sunday Times bestseller list for 237 weeks. Later successes include 1995’s A Briefer History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell, and God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs that Changed History. Stephen Hawking is Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.

In The Drunkard’s Walk Leonard Mlodinow provides readers with a wonderfully readable guide to how the mathematical laws of randomness affect our lives. With insight he shows how the hallmarks of chance are apparent in the course of events all around us. The understanding of randomness has brought about profound changes in the way we view our surroundings, and our universe. I am pleased that Leonard has skillfully explained this important branch of mathematics. --Stephen Hawking

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:56 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An irreverent look at how randomness influences our lives, and how our successes and failures are far more dependent on chance events than we recognize.

(summary from another edition)

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