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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 (3541 )
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4.0 (2342 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kristina Honokaa, HI, United States 05-06-12
    Kristina Honokaa, HI, United States 05-06-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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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
  •  
    MysteryL 04-14-12
    MysteryL 04-14-12 Member Since 2017
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    "Don't let the math scare you"
    Any additional comments?

    Fascinating history of our struggle to understand chance and randomness with enough examples thrown in to make it easy to understand. We get lucky a lot more often than we care to admit. The section on CEO performance was eye opening and a good example of how we need to believe we have control over things we do not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TravelGal Redmond, WA, United States 03-30-12
    TravelGal Redmond, WA, United States 03-30-12

    Coffee is a food group right next to chocolate, right?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining AND Educational"
    What made the experience of listening to The Drunkard's Walk the most enjoyable?

    That I learned about misconceptions I never knew I had.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Gain the history and inner knowledge of the random


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't expect the history lesson. It made what I thought might be a boring topic very interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 03-11-12
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 03-11-12 Member Since 2013

    I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book for Artists"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Drunkard's Walk to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print version so I don't know. I don't consider this to be a useful question. I listen to audiobooks when my hands are otherwise occupied on a mundane task. I would likely not have gotten around to reading this book if it weren't being read to me while doing laundry and ironing and working in my studio.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Drunkard's Walk?

    Also not an appropriate question for this book.
    I thought the most personally relevant information came at the end when the author was talking about famous authors, like Stephen King, whose work didn't do as well under a pen name. Earlier the author talked about the more well known (at least to me) story of JK Rowling's Harry Potter manuscripts being refused repeatedly. I also appreciated the section on listener's ratings and purchases of music by unknown artists.
    The take-away is that so much of artistic success is reliant on luck, forces beyond their talent and, essentially, randomness.
    As an artist, this is an interesting, though not necessarily a comforting perspective.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Again, weird question.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Seriously, this is not a useful way for me to review this audiobook.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked this book because it was accessible and very relevant to a regular person's life. I like

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Olathe, KS, United States 03-11-12
    Kindle Customer Olathe, KS, United States 03-11-12

    family tree buff

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Basically a math history lesson"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was interesting, but there isn't much of a practical application to one's life.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Leonard Mlodinow? Why or why not?

    No,


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    N/A


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Lakewood, CO, United States 03-05-12
    Mark Lakewood, CO, United States 03-05-12 Member Since 2013

    I spend 90+ minutes a day in my car, Audible makes it enjoyable regardless of what's happening in traffic. My taste varies from endurance fitness to economics and from to combat stories and romance novels.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A bit of a disappointment"
    What did you like best about The Drunkard's Walk? What did you like least?

    While there are some interesting things I learned, The Drunkard's Walk was a disappointment. Sure, math is a challenging topic to make interesting and the author tries, but his attempts at levity fall short, his discussion of the characters that gave us modern statistics is still dry, and I struggled just to finish the book.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Absolutely not.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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