Loading... The Drunkard's walk : how randomness rules our lives (original 2008; edition 2008)by Leonard Mlodinow
Work detailsThe Drunkard's Walk : How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow (2008)
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Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book. No current Talk conversations about this book. not in CLAN 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. Mlodinow actually makes probability and statistics interesting. George Gamow introduced me to Monte Carlo methods in a chapter of "One Two Three Infinity" (Hal's Pick of April, 2001) that I first read when I was about twelve. His vivid description and witty illustration of the path of a staggering drunk comes clearly to mind even these many decades later, and it surely inspired my research on a number of projects. Leonard Mlodinow has written a book that could well have a similar effect on its readers. Without using equations, he addresses some serious ideas, such as conditional probabilities and Bayesian statistics. His chapter on Measurement could be used for any of several science courses, and would be better than what is usually found. A scenario on conditional probability: Given that a couple with two children has one girl, the probability that they have two girls is 1/3. Maybe you were aware of that. But did you know that, if it is given that they have one girl named Florida, that the probability that they have two girls is 1/2? "The Drunkard's Walk" is full of many such seductive examples, that are not only theoretically interesting but also important in everyday life. An engaging review of probability and statistics, but I sometimes wished he would explain the mathematics behind things in more detail. Also, there was more historical information than I was expecting, which I wasn't that interested in.
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.
References to this work on external resources. Wikipedia in English (6)Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307275175, Paperback)Amazon Guest Review: Stephen HawkingPublished 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) 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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