Mike's Reviews > The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow
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Aug 04, 08

Read in August, 2008

A very good and accessible introduction to probability and randomness. Most people don't appreciate the fact that most of what we see every day is the product of chance. Social scientists are, ironically, sometimes more blind to this fact than others, because we are trained to hunt for patterns, and we therefore tend to find them even if they aren't there. (For anyone who does statistics, one way of thinking about this is that the typical social scientist routinely underestimates the magnitude of the error term in an equation.) We get so caught up in what can explain, or think we can explain, that we forget to think about the many factors we can't. Oddly, although this is far from a self-help book, I think its main point can be useful for anyone who is feeling a bit down. Most success (and most failure) is the product of luck. The one thing we can control is our own behavior: persistence is all.
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