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The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives | [Leonard Mlodinow]

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.
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Publisher's Summary

In this irreverent and illuminating audiobook, acclaimed writer and scientist Leonard Mlodinow shows us how randomness, chance, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything from a casual conversation to a major financial setback. As a result, successes and failures in life are often attributed to clear and obvious causes, when in actuality they are more profoundly influenced by chance.

The rise and fall of your favorite movie star or the most reviled CEO - in fact, all our destinies - reflects chance as much as planning and innate abilities. Even Roger Maris, who beat Babe Ruth's single season home-run record, was in all likelihood not great but just lucky.

How could it have happened that a wine was given five out of five stars by one journal and called the worst wine of the decade by another? Wine ratings, school grades, political polls, and many other things in daily life are less reliable than we believe. By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge the world around us, Mlodinow gives fresh insight into what is really meaningful and how we can make decisions based on a deeper truth. From the classroom to the courtroom, from financial markets to supermarkets, from the doctor's office to the Oval Office, Mlodinow's insights will intrigue, awe, and inspire.

Offering listeners not only a tour of randomness, chance and probability but also a new way of looking at the world, this original, unexpected journey reminds us that much in our lives is about as predictable as the steps of a stumbling man afresh from a night at a bar.

©2008 Leonard Mlodinow; (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

"A wonderful guide to how the mathematical laws of randomness affect our lives." (Stephen Hawking)
"If you're strong enough to have some of your favorite assumptions challenged, please listen to The Drunkard's Walk....a history, explanation, and exaltation of probability theory....The results are mind-bending." (Fortune)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Alena Neutral Bay, Australia 04-27-11
    Alena Neutral Bay, Australia 04-27-11 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "for Don"

    For Don - check your download page, there should be part 2 there available for you to download (I actually wrote support about this and they were extremely helpful).

    And yes, this book is quite interesting with lots of practical examples. Recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles USA 04-25-11
    Charles USA 04-25-11 Member Since 2008

    Wonderchuck

    HELPFUL VOTES
    120
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    "complete"

    Randomness is a fascinating subject and this book is an excellent treatment of the topic. The evolution of the understanding of randomness is laid out from the beginning and none of the philosphical implications are missed. Mr. Mlodinow personalizes randomness with stories from his own experience, which were both humorous and touching. My feelings afterwards were someting of a surprise; I felt that randomness was both a call to humility, and a reason to hope, not just despair.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    André Sao Paulo, Brazil 04-16-11
    André Sao Paulo, Brazil 04-16-11
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    "Totally worthwhile"

    A great trip through the history of statistics with good contemporary examples. Kinda hard to follow along some calculations by hearing, but still time well-spent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    meena Newark, NJ, United States 03-26-11
    meena Newark, NJ, United States 03-26-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    "good book"

    A good book, well narrated. Thanks to Audible for having this in store. I would recommend this to my friends and family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Neutral Bay, Australia 03-23-11
    Robert Neutral Bay, Australia 03-23-11 Member Since 2010
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    8
    1
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    "Life Changing"

    This book takes a potentially complex area, probability, and makes it clear that the majority of the things that we see occur around us and to us are matters of chance. It clearly articulates that success and failure are usually a matter of luck and that perseverance is the only way to overcome the odds. Beautifully written and clearly articulated. Loved it and have recommended it to my children and friends so that they can understand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Menifee, CA, United States 02-08-11
    Ted Menifee, CA, United States 02-08-11 Member Since 2010
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    81
    6
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    "Your chance to re-learn some basic probability"

    I greatly enjoyed this book but will recommend it for slightly different reasons than the official promotion. You could use if for a slow and clear introduction to the fundamentals of probability, followed by some simple statistics. At each step the author provides a nice explanation using real-world examples, then follows with more cases where it applies. The claim about explaining the world around you is mostly based on those examples. The book does a good job of exposing our universal ability to see what we expect rather than what is really there; that would be the theme woven together by the probability lessons and follow-up examples. We are all subject to self-induced illusions and can all benefit by understanding them better. I definitely recommend this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan indianapolis, IN, United States 01-17-11
    Jonathan indianapolis, IN, United States 01-17-11 Member Since 2007
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    "though provoking"

    this book is not a straight forward, "this is how randomness rules our lives. point 1, point 2, ect." rather its a detailed explination of the more important points in probablity theory, and a brief history of each. it's up to us to incorperate the knowledge and start seeing the randomness in our daily lives. the material is very easy to follow and understand. but it's up to the listener to take the lessons on offer here and see for themselves, "how randomness rules our lives."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip Dallas, GA, United States 06-22-10
    Phillip Dallas, GA, United States 06-22-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Less than random review"

    Mlodinow's writing and Pratt's reading make this most informative book a keeper. I even went out and bought the hard copy. The topic is complicated, yet the message is clear. I even now understand the point of calculus.

    The historical background behind studies in chance make this an even more interesting reference.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alfred Raleigh, NC, United States 06-21-10
    Alfred Raleigh, NC, United States 06-21-10 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    13
    5
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    "Is God really on your side?"

    An engaging and useful look at randomness. A good education on the history of the study of probability.

    One important takeaway is that as humans we can deceive ourselves -- we often think we are experiencing a pattern when in fact we are experiencing a random event that had to happen to somebody or was bound to happen to us sometime or other.

    As I sometimes say, When all the lights are green it's easy to think God is on your side.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teerawat Bangkok, Thailand 06-19-10
    Teerawat Bangkok, Thailand 06-19-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Motivation for Mathematics"


    If you think that mathematics mainly for academic, this book might change your view. The book talks very little about basic probability principles. Rather, it focuses on how the principles were discovered, what it meant in the old time and the present time, and the fallacy associated to them.

    I am quite familiar with probability. So, I find myself reading this book enjoyably. As a student, I was wondering why should study difficult and boring mathematics. If you are like me, you might find this book quite interesting. This book gives the readers the reasons why mathematics matters to, say for example, engineers, statistians, or even lawyers.

    Another interesting part of this book is the history. There are stories of great mathematician and scientists such as Gerolamo Cardano, Galileo Galilei, Blaise Pascal, Jacob Bernoulli, Thomas Bayes, Laplace, Carl Friedrich Gauss. Who would have know that Thomas Bayes was a minister. Pascal suffered from his illness when he did too much thinking.

    The book is interesting. It looks at aspects that I ususally overlook. It keeps me engaged for most of the content. Overall, I like this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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