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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

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Performance
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  •  
    S Swan Hill, Australia 11-20-12
    S Swan Hill, Australia 11-20-12
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    "Essential reading for almost everyone"

    interesting, relevant, fun. hope more people would read this. might need a little bit of scientific thinking to understand some areas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Morten New York 09-03-12
    Morten New York 09-03-12
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    "Randomness explained!"
    What did you love best about The Drunkard's Walk?

    Thorough and fun examples, prowoking and eye-opening.


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

    "The black swan", only well written, and without the arrogance of Taleb.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Andrew BEACONSFIELD, Australia 08-13-12
    Andrew BEACONSFIELD, Australia 08-13-12

    Audio books - who cares how long you're sitting in peak hour traffic?

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    "Though provoking, well written and well read."

    This is one of the most interesting books I've "read" in the last year. Interesting enough that I recently listened to it again. The arguments are well presented and the examples are fascinating. Definitely worth it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Taxvictim Raleigh, NC 07-25-12
    Taxvictim Raleigh, NC 07-25-12 Member Since 2010
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    "If you like the Malcolm Gladwell books..."
    What did you love best about The Drunkard's Walk?

    The first half of this book is very informative and very entertaining at the same time. It is a history of the science of probability with many interesting anecdotes and background stories. If you like listening to the Malcolm Gladwell books, then you should enjoy this book. The second half of the book goes into a lot more detail about normal distributions and standard deviations, which is more difficult to comprehend while driving, but is still informative.

    The statistical analysis of investment fund managers compared to the general performance of the stock market showed that the fund managers' performance follows a normal distribution, suggesting that all of their fund returns are base more on chance than on talent.


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

    This book was similar to the author's book "Subliminal", and he uses some of the same source material. I highly recommend that book, too.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mann 07-19-12
    Mann 07-19-12

    Hi. My name is Mann & I am an Enterprise Communications expert by profession. I have always loved reading books and primarily enjoy books on Finance, Science & Technology and History. I do hear an occasional Fictional book though I prefer to read them instead.

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    "Highly proababe you will love this book"
    What did you love best about The Drunkard's Walk?

    You will love this book if you love stats and probability. A very very interesting tale of how these subjects govern our lives to a great extent. Highly recommended


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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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
  •  
    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
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    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
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    Sheila AUBREY, TX, United States 05-27-12
    Sheila AUBREY, TX, United States 05-27-12 Member Since 2017
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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

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