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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

Critic Reviews

"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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Interesting stuff

Any additional comments?

The author offers some good insight into why and how

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  • Jon
  • North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 12-16-11

Already knew some stats. Not good at triple speed

Any additional comments?

I listen to podcasts and audiobooks at triple speed all the time, but I had a tough time listening to this book. This is especially true when the author cites numbers, and there's lots of them. I'll take it as a good sign that I had some trouble because I must have been engaging my brain while the author speaks, so I miss some things he say. <br/><br/>If you listen at triple speed, be prepared to either listen to it again, or just sit relatively still. It was hard to multitask. <br/><br/>A good book overall though.

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  • Nathan
  • Upland, CA, United States
  • 12-07-11

Nothing random about how enjoyable this is.

If you could sum up The Drunkard's Walk in three words, what would they be?

Insightful, amusing, evocative.

What did you like best about this story?

The simple and yet unforgiving manner in which the author debunks all our popular assumptions and misconceptions about chance and randomness.

What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

His reading is honest and straight-forward, making the dry humor as understated as the author surely intended.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This is not a book to move you, in my opinion, but to get your head wrapped around the depth of incongruity between intuition and logic.

Any additional comments?

Read (or listen) to this book with an open mind, and be honest with yourself! You will be surprised at how many of these pitfalls you suffer from.

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  • Jeff
  • Orange, Australia
  • 11-30-11

Unable to Open

This not a fair review because for some unknown reason I have been unable to open this book on my kindle.

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  • Ross
  • San Remo, Australia
  • 11-20-11

Very interesting, highly recommend

If you're at all interested in probability, statistics, and how they relate to everyday life, this book is a must-read. There's a lot of information that will make you look at day-to-day decisions, outcomes, and happenstance in an entirely different way.

Leonard Mlodinow is a brilliant man, and here he's delivered an important and complex subject in a very interesting, easy to understand, and compelling way. I found the explanations of theory to be very well thought-out, and the real-world examples to be at once familiar and thought-provoking.

I also think Sean Pratt's delivery was really well done; it took me a little while to get comfortable with (no particular reason), but once I was I found myself drawn into the narration and story completely.

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  • Jewel
  • Gilford, NH United States
  • 11-15-11

A great lesson in this book

Like many books I choose from audible.com, I know this is a book I would never have gotten though by reading it. But, it's a terrific listen. This is a thought-provoking book that will stay with you for a long time because it presents so many well-reasoned lessons on how we live our daily lives. The best thing about the book is its ultimate lesson - keep trying, the odds are with you. That's very encouraging. I highly recommend this audio book.

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  • levi
  • clovis, CA, United States
  • 10-21-11

Makes the world seem not so random

I learned so much interesting information from this book. Many of the accepted methods of proving and explaining how statistics and math play out are debunked using plain, easy to understand terms. I also appreciated the humor. Great read, and if you get audio books to both learn something and be entertained, as I do, this will be a great addition to your library.

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  • Randi
  • Corona del Mar, CA, United States
  • 10-18-11

This is a very negative way of thinking...

To think that Randomness rules us is an awful way of thinking. I do not get up every morning because I am just waiting for what ever hits me. This is not for me...I couldn't get through the first audio and I really wish I could get my $ back. So sorry for the author to think this way. I guess it is just random though he became an author and just random that he thinks this way, well I believe I have a little more control over my destination...in fact I KNOW I have control of my destination, and this hope is the way I choose to live.

My suggestion is it is a waste of your $ and time, and may even be detrimental to some who suffer with negative thinking all ready. Get something positive and tell yourself to go after those things in life that bring you joy.

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Drunk Ears

I purchased this book based on the synopsis, which seemed somewhat appealing.

I have to say listening to this book is hard work, I think you have to be drunk to really understand it.

Way to many numbers and random theories of probability to envisage audibly. I'm sure the book contains many illustrations to clearly demonstrate the wall of numbers which pound the listeners ears. The narration is rather monotone which adds to the overall effect of leaving one with a hangover after listening for any length of time.

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Tedious, hectoring, repetitive

This is the very first audiobook that I actually stopped listening to. The author makes one or two basic points about statistics, and then goes on in an incredibly irritating, self-important way to name-drop about Hollywood studio business decisions. He went on so long with the Hollywood trivia that I lost track of what the point of the book was even supposed to be. Finally, he switched over to an endless diatribe on batting averages in baseball, and getting mired down in that was just too much. I switched it off and turned my ipod to music. Also, the narrator's voice is harsh and badgering. I love books that deal with science and with how the mind works, but this isn't one of those books. It's a worthless self-important waste of time. Don't bother.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful