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The Drunkard's Walk Audiobook

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

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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

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (3356 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Yuvraj Bangalore, India 07-14-12
    Yuvraj Bangalore, India 07-14-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Mathematics, fun!"

    Absolutely brilliant narration of a great story. Real examples and completely un-put-downable. Never knew you could like Maths!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    bill doyle adelaide, south australia 07-08-12
    bill doyle adelaide, south australia 07-08-12 Member Since 2011

    Bloke who took to audiobooks in order to beguile long hours on the road travelling to photography gigs across his home state. Now addicted!

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    "A refreshing antidote to delusion."

    Many books, we are told, are a 'must read' - or, in the world of Audible, I suppose, a 'must listen'; here's one that I would argue truly meets that mark.

    As an introduction to the frequently counter-intuitive - and almost-always deflating - world of probability and the impact of statistical reality on our lives this could scarcely be bettered. It is fresh, amusing, and thought-provoking. There is an excellent balance between the anecdotal and the informational.

    This stuff counts. We cherish some very fond illusions about the nature of the world around us, and these can lead us into dangerous errors of judgement. I would especially recommend this book to those who are concerned with the issue of Global Warming, and particularly to those who imagine that scientists who have devoted tens of thousands of hours to the difficult task of extracting a small, but enduring, signal from a great deal of noise are somehow in error.

    Not that any awareness of just how much we are the subjects of the kingdom of chance is all new, however - I was continually reminded during the discussion of celebrity and success of the words of Ecclesiastes -

    "I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all."

    Exactly.

    While it is always clear, I do find Pratt's narration to be slightly robotic - in fact, he rather reminds me of Andy Warhol as represented in Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy' series!

    Which is rather charming... it certainly doesn't significantly detract form 'Drunkard's Walk' as a listening experience.

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arnold Ziffle Oklahoma City, Oklahoma U.S.A. 05-29-12
    Arnold Ziffle Oklahoma City, Oklahoma U.S.A. 05-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Illuminating and accessible, if occassionally dry"

    Have you heard the one about the Statistician Godfather? He makes you an offer you can’t understand.
    Probability is complicated stuff and generally boring enough to peel the paper off the walls. Yet it undeniably rules all of our everyday lives, perhaps more than we’d care to acknowledge sometimes. Prof. Mlodinow does an excellent job of making it accessible to us average Joes and as interesting as I've ever seen it presented.
    Mr. Pratt’s narration is solid, and, since it’s not a subject that lends itself to much more than that, I don’t mean to damn him with faint praise.
    The audible format is perhaps not the best way to experience The Drunkard’s Walk. Some of the explanation is quite involved and would probably bear some close reading and rereading, not easy when precision rewinding and re-rewinding is required. Still, it’s a very worthwhile book and this is a very painless way to read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila AUBREY, TX, United States 05-27-12
    Sheila AUBREY, TX, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2011
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    "uugh .... too many numbers for audio"
    What would have made The Drunkard's Walk better?

    Edit the book for content suitable for audio. I can listen to theory and ideas... I have to read numbers. The sheer volume of numerical references and statistics made listening to this painful. I will purchase the printed edition as ideas contained here would make it worth the read. When I could bear through the rambling numbers, the end-point was excellent. Couldn't make it through the first couple chapters.


    Has The Drunkard's Walk turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KB Maryland 05-13-12
    KB Maryland 05-13-12 Member Since 2009

    KB

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    "Great way to give structure to random events"
    Where does The Drunkard's Walk rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    I have a hard time comparing books with each other. I don't think I have ever read a book I haven't liked.


    What other book might you compare The Drunkard's Walk to and why?

    Any books by Malcolm Gladwell.


    What does Sean Pratt bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Sean Pratt held my attention and brought the book to life.


    Any additional comments?

    This book makes you think and makes learning fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristina Paradise, CA, United States 05-06-12
    Kristina Paradise, CA, United States 05-06-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A Few Things Here Everyone Should Know"
    What made the experience of listening to The Drunkard's Walk the most enjoyable?

    Statistics explained in terms anyone can understand.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The book is written in easy to understand language. Many concepts would be difficult to understand in textbook style or 50 minute lecture. The author uses historical references (and explains the historical beliefs) and modern examples to explain the concepts.
    The voice is light and makes understanding some very abstract concepts easier.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This is not a laugh or cry type of book. I laughed a lot because of the examples, I learned a lot from the book. I think I might cry when I think about how many people do not understand the concepts of randomness and statistical reference.


    Any additional comments?

    Fun and informative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison LINCOLN, NE, United States 05-02-12
    Allison LINCOLN, NE, United States 05-02-12 Member Since 2013

    I have a passion for all things science, music, and outdoors. I am also a "crazy dog lady."

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    "Eye opener"
    Where does The Drunkard's Walk rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This topic is a little far from my interests so it isn't quite in the same realm as other titles I have listened to thus far.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked the perspective that I gained from this read, even though it was a little bit hard for me to get through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan San Diego, CA, United States 04-28-12
    Alan San Diego, CA, United States 04-28-12 Member Since 2007
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    "This book makes probability fun!"

    I took remedial math in community college and per-calculus for business three times before passing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This book makes probability and statistics fun. I want to learn more now, but then I also fall outside the normal range (plus or minus .5 percent). Excellent narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Betty A. Wright Sugar City, ID United States 04-26-12
    Betty A. Wright Sugar City, ID United States 04-26-12 Member Since 2008

    pony rider

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    "A fun walk down the path of chance"

    A fun read, full of interesting details, fascinating stories, and memorable explanations. I learned a lot, shared much with my students, and will listen again and again because it is that interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raymond Canton, GA, United States 04-25-12
    Raymond Canton, GA, United States 04-25-12
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    "Enjoy Math for Once!"
    Would you listen to The Drunkard's Walk again? Why?

    Yes. This was enjoyable and informative. How could it get better?


    Who was your favorite character and why?


    Any additional comments?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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