The Drunkard’s Walk

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New York Times Notable Book
Short-listed, Royal Society Book Prize
New York Times Bestseller

“Mlodinow writes in a breezy style, interspersing probabilistic mind-benders with portraits of theorists.... The result is a readable crash course in randomness.”—The New York Times Book Review

“A wonderfully readable guide to how the mathematical laws of randomness affect our lives.”—Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time

"[Mlodinow] thinks in equations but explains in anecdote, simile, and occasional bursts of neon. . . . The results are mind-bending."—Fortune

"Even if you begin The Drunkard's Walk as a skeptic, by the time you reach the final pages, you will gain an understanding-if not acceptance-of the intuitively improbable ways that probability biases the outcomes of life's uncertainties."—Barron's

“Delightfully entertaining.”—Scientific American

“Mlodinow is the perfect guy to reveal the ways unrelated elements can relate and connect.”—The Miami Herald

“A primer on the science of probability.”—The Washington Post Book World

“A magnificent exploration of the role that chance plays in our lives. The probability is high that you will be entertained and enlightened by this intelligent charmer.” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

New York Times Bestseller, Editor's Choice, and Notable Book of 2008

New York Times review of Drunkard's Walk


NY Review of Books

Scientific American

In this irreverent and illuminating book, 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. Author Leonard Mlodinow - The Drunkards WalkWith the born storyteller’s command of narrative and imaginative approach, Leonard Mlodinow vividly demonstrates how everything from wine ratings and corporate success to school grades and political polls are less reliable than we believe.

This book will challenge everything you think you know about how the world works, as Mlodinow argues passionately about the randomness of the world, and our habit of finding spurious explanations for essentially random events—in the process often making dangerously fallacious judgments. Written in simple and vivid prose, the explanations in The Drunkard’s Walk pop up as brisk anecdote and lively example rather than as uncompromising strings of numbers, and the lively personal detail is sternly contained by the needs of the narrative.

We all know that the odds are against you when you decide to buy a lottery ticket, but few of us realize that your death is a more likely outcome than your winning the jackpot—twice as many people are killed in a car accident on their way to buying the ticket, than win the lottery. Such are the insights in this original and unexpected journey. Though our lives may be shaped by chance, they are enriched by the awareness that this fascinating book will give you. By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge the world around us, Mlodinow gives us the tools we need to make more informed decisions. From the classroom to the courtroom and from financial markets to supermarkets, Mlodinow’s illuminating look at how randomness, chance, and probability affect our daily lives will intrigue, awe, and inspire.