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Drunkards Walk How Randomness Rules Our Lives
by
Leonard Mlodinow
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ISBN13:
9780307275172
ISBN10:
0307275175
Condition:
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Ronald Scheurer
, July 26, 2011
(view all comments by Ronald Scheurer)
BOOK REVIEW By Ronald Scheurer The Drunkard’s Walk �" How Randomness Rules Our Lives Leonard Mlodinow 2008 Statistics is often thought of as a rather dry subject, but actually it can get pretty wet. To many the mathematical part of it may seem like a rainless trip through a group of staid formulas. Ah, but the probabilistic part of it adds that final leap of personal faith one has to make on whether to take or not to take some particular action. Mlodinow explains that statistics are data; that effect usually follows cause, and with enough data, the probability of accurate predictions of future events is a safe game. So you leave the umbrella home and get soaked in the afternoon. Then the sun comes out. Decision making involves choice among alternatives based on information that may be wrong, right, or purposely deceptive. Mlodinow explains the role that chance plays in choice. Are there usable principles that can minimize making poor decisions when apparent fortuitous situations beg for a leap of faith? Well, maybe; but understanding how randomness affects our daily affairs in ways over which we have no control is called fate. Enter probability. Toss a coin once. Heads. Again. Heads. Four more times. Heads. Probability for the next toss is 50/50 heads or tails. In a chain of 10,000 tosses, the chances of six heads in a sequence is possible. Who knows? It could land on the edge! Randomness is not short term; it’s long term. And there is no way to tell when that winning streak will occur, nor how long it will last. Early statistics centered on demographics and economics. Today it is applied to just about everything having over 15 specialties. Being born is a statistic. Being dead is a statistic. But aside from cut and dry data, how information is presented can bias the results of statistical analysis. Mlodinow does an excellent job explaining data collection and its use with examples drawn from history to the present. The infamous bell curve and where some particular bit of data lies on it can be puzzling. Looking only at the top of the wave, if it is steep, implies one thing, but suppose the wave is spread out over a very wide range and points on the peak of the curve are not much higher than those on the center bottom of the wave? How are lives affected when totally unrelated people are making decisions that unknown to each one causes them to converge at a single point in time and place? The train accident or massive highway collision involving multiple automobiles and trucks during a snow storm. Each person’s chance decision (a string of random decisions  numbers) placed them at that point. Randomness rules.
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knewman511
, November 06, 2013
(view all comments by knewman511)
The Drunkard's Walk takes you through some startling revelations about how you view your very own life. How does probability and randomness rule? And can you really understand randomness? Although some of the stories as well as the studies are written in nomenclature that most readers, who have maybe never been in the research world or aren't familiar with anatomical terms, another read through and you can understand what's being said. It's interesting to take your beliefs of what you think randomness is or isn't and see how it unfolds before your eyes. You could be right all along or terribly wrong. That's what makes this such an interesting read; it pertains to life in every way. This book is a great read. Not one of the easiest to read, but it's educational. Most of all, this book really makes you think.
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writermala
, July 14, 2014
(view all comments by writermala)
This book which chronicles the development of and progress of Probability and Statistics is wellwritten and makes a very complicated subject easy. Mlodinow uses examples and tests from everyday life to illustrate complex subjects and succeeds in getting through to us. An eminently readable book.
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Product Details
ISBN:
9780307275172
Binding:
Trade Paperback
Publication date:
05/05/2009
Publisher:
PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE
Series info:
Vintage
Pages:
252
Height:
8.25
Width:
5.25
Thickness:
.50
Series:
Vintage
Grade Range:
General/trade
Number of Units:
1
Copyright Year:
2009
UPC Code:
2800307275174
Author:
Leonard Mlodinow
Author:
Leonard Mlodinow
Subject:
Random variables
Subject:
MathematicsPopular Chaos and Fractals
Subject:
Probabilities
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Related Subjects
History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Sociology
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
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Reference » Science Reference » General
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Science and Mathematics » History of Science
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Technology
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Advanced
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Popular Chaos and Fractals
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Probability and Statistics
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Probability and Statistics » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Probability and Statistics » Statistics
Textbooks
Science and Mathematics » Science
Science and Mathematics » Science » General
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