The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychologic ...more
In this new book, physicist Leonard Mlodinow attempts to show why underestimating randomness is really not a good idea. He lays a foundatio ...more
I love the story about the "Ask Marilyn" column in Parade Magazine. Marilyn vos Savant holds the record for the world's highest IQ. She discussed the famous "Monty Hall" problem, and got aggra ...more
Lots of people might think they can compute the odds that something will happen. For instance, If my favorite baseball team is playing an opponent with inferior stats I might be pretty sure my guys will win....and place a small wager. But random chance - which is the rule rather than the exception - could trip me up. A so-so batter on the other team might miraculously hit a grand slam home run! 😲
In this book Leonard Mlodinow explains how randomness affects our lives. For example, a publisher rej ...more
The author discusses in a breezy, easy to understand conversational manner how randomness and chance are behind many human decisions. We believe we make decisions based on educated guesses or personal skills. Luck, though, functions far more than we know in how things turn out for us.
Briefly, but entertaining all the while, the author dis ...more
This little book is just so good—not only does it give you just enough math to make you feel curious and satisfied, it tells a ripping good story about probability theory and statistics, providing along the way compelling portraits of the eccentric scientists and mathematicians who contributed to the fields. This time, I wanted to refresh my memory of all the thorny problems probability and statistics give us (we are really, really bad at intuiting probability, as ps ...more
The Drunkard's walk, despite Mr. Mlodinow's attempts at following Mr. Gladwell's formula, does not succeed in copying Mr. Gladwell's easy to read voice as well. First of all, although the subtitle SAYS "how randomness rules our lives," I actually found the book to be ...more
I enjoyed recounting the Monty Hall ...more
I watched the movie "21" in which a team of college students under the tutelage of a greedy professor make tons of money in Las Vegas by counting cards while playing Black Jack. In one scene of the movie, probabilities are discussed and the professor brings up the scenario of the 3 doors on "Let's Make a Deal" and asks the class if it's better to stick with your first choice of doors AFTER the host reveals one of the doors behind which ...more
This book is about randomness, about learning how to interpret the probabilities we encounter in our daily live ...more
I liked some of the anecdotes and don't disagree with any of the statistical assertions. It is even okay that there is no math presented. But the book does not measure up to the to the likes of Gladwell's Blink or Levitt's Freakonomics.
I think the main reason for the lack of entertaining insights here is that the author is a physicist and not an economist or social scientist. So instead it is a book by a physicist who is not really working in this field with a lot of collaborators in e ...more
But I thought this book was going to have more to do with psychology but it has more to do with statistics and probabilities - mathematics... And do you know what my least favorite subject was in all of my Business degree? ... Statistics... Maybe it's because I'm not interested in it, maybe because I just don't understand it, but ...more
The book is a bit chatty, and needs to focus a bit more on errors people make with statistics in their personal lives ... but Mlodinow hit on an essential concept.
I liked this lesson: that successful people are lucky, but that lucky people are persistent, flexible, and brave.
Mlodinow explains that there are basically two definitions of random, and they don't always go together (pp. 84-85). The first is by Charles Sanders Peirce and basically states that a process or method is tr ...more
The book might be better suited to people who've already come across material on behavioural economics.
"We miss the effects of randomness in life because when we assess the world, we tend to see what we expect to see. We in effect define the degree of talent by degree of success and then reinforce our feeling of causality by notin ...more
I got my minor 11 years ago and haven't used statistics since. I've been aiming to take it back up again. maybe even do a career switch to data science (sometime down the road, at least two textbooks and a few online courses away - not to mention that I don't know of any data science openings in my city and I love my current house, and so does my husband...). I figured that plungi ...more
I didn't expect as much on the historical development of different statistical techniques and theorems: I thought there'd be more emphasis on the randomness in our day to day lives. Where this was the focus I thought the book was great: aspects like false positive HIV tests and film studio performance, for example. For this reason I enjoyed the final two chapters vastly more than the rest of the book.
Trevor wrote an incredibly comprehensive review which sums it all up ...more
If we were all unfeeling iRobots (floor cleaners) who respond to the random encounters in our lives by simply changing direction then the premise of this book is justified, for we would all follow our individual drunkard's walks to whatever probabilistic future awaits us. (view spoiler)[However taking this a step further, Leonard Mlodinow suggests that much of how our lives transpire is happenstance, defined by a supreme law of probability that governs what we experience and perceive as humans....more
The book provides a compilation of common/known topics ranging from base rate fallacy, regression to the mean, Monty Hall problem while also providing an easy to follow summary of the history of statistics.
So this book I liked. Being a math person, many of the ideas are not new to me. But I will add that being a person who has an affinity for real and complex analysis, set the ...more
Mlodinow was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1959, of parents who were both Holocaust survivors. His father, who spent more than a year in the Buchenwald death camp, had been a leader in the Jewish resistance under Nazi rule in his hometown of Częstochowa, Poland. As a child, Mlodinow was interested in both mathematics and chemistry, and while in high schoo ...more
We also use our imagination and take shortcuts to fill gaps in patterns of nonvisual data. As with visual input, we draw conclusions and make judgments based on uncertain and incomplete information, and we conclude, when we are done analyzing the patterns, that out “picture” is clear and accurate. But is it?”