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Extended Audio Sample The Drunkards Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives Audiobook, by Leonard Mlodinow Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,892 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Leonard Mlodinow Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9781596592537
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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, as well as 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 fresh from a night at a bar.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In The Drunkard’s Walk Leonard Mlodinow provides readers with a wonderfully readable guide to how the mathematical laws of randomness affect our lives. With insight he shows how the hallmarks of chance are apparent in the course of events all around us. The understanding of randomness has brought about profound changes in the way we view our surroundings, and our universe. I am pleased that Leonard has skillfully explained this important branch of mathematics.”

    Stephen Hawking

  • “Challenges our institutions about probability and explores how, by randomness, we can better grasp our world.”

    Seed

  • “Magnificent…challenges everything we think we know about how the works. The probability is high that you will be entertained and enlightened by this intelligent charmer.”

    Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

  • “Mlodinow writes in a breezy style, interspersing probabilistic mind-benders with portraits of theorists…The result is a readable crash course in randomness.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[Mlodinow is] the perfect guy to reveal the ways unrelated elements can relate and connect.”

    Miami Hearald

  • One of the 2008 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Douglas | 2/7/2014

    " Fun read, especially the first 2/3. Nice review of basic probability with insightful looks at how it applies to real life. The last third introduced statistics, but it seemed like Mlodinow wasn't willing to try to explain the mathematics to a layman, so it wasn't the great read the first part of the book was. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jane | 2/7/2014

    " A cool book for Math lovers, which I am not. This was my unsuccessful attempt to open my mind and embrace other disciplines. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 niloy | 2/7/2014

    " Awesome. Splendid. Easy to read, but not a trivial book. The last chapter is really nice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 don grant | 2/1/2014

    " excellent read. this was well written and very entertaining on a subject that could have been boring! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 1/30/2014

    " This book was really interesting gave a little more depth to statistics and probability. Anyone who does anything related to measurement or judgment or prediction (so basically everybody) should read this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 A | 1/29/2014

    " interested, but a bit heavy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ken | 1/12/2014

    " Worth a second read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Fuschia | 12/28/2013

    " 5/10, too much science. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex Kenjeev | 12/16/2013

    " Excellent. The title doesn't do the book justice. The book covers the whole history of our theories of predictability and unpredictability, all in well-written, interesting layman's language. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 11/28/2013

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Devin | 10/24/2013

    " A very good introduction to the ideas of probability theory and randomness. It's much more geared towards non-math/probability majors. A great book for those who haven't done a lot of study in formal probability theory (or for those who took one or two classes). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michelle | 10/10/2013

    " Fun, informative, well-organized read with an engaging, irreverent tone. I'm looking at the world a bit differently now, and that's the mark of a great book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Solea | 9/26/2013

    " Incredible new perspective of how our world revolves around random events as much as deliberate acts... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 6/20/2013

    " I didn't like it as much as Malcom Gladwell but it was pretty good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leonardo Zepeda | 5/15/2012

    " Good reading even for Matematicians, phisicist or economists. Not so good as Euclid's window, Mlodinow's book on uncertainty describes the fascinating history and development of theories and uses of probability , and the details of its main contributors life's. Highly recomended "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daniel | 4/30/2012

    " Great anecdotes and crisp writing, but the book, at times, stumbles along. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 CJ | 3/17/2012

    " Fantastic first half on statistics, but drags and gets a bit boring after the nth mathematician's biography is discussed. Overall, a good educational and entertaining read. Oh yeah, be prepared to re-read a few of the math sections (if you're a little slow like myself). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff Kent | 2/18/2012

    " This is a great book..... It really makes you think.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 10/21/2011

    " Very interesting. The subject matter may sound dry, but it is quite readable. A lot of history, probability and statistics without the math, and some anecdotes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jillian | 9/27/2011

    " I hate math, yet somehow enjoyed this. Even if all I learned was Pascal's Wager, that would be enough. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matt | 9/21/2011

    " I'm already all too aware of the role randomness plays in life. This is one to many books about a subject that I already think too much about. I got this through audible and am not quite done listening yet so maybe it will redeem itself but at the moment it seems doubtful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas | 5/21/2011

    " Thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm naturally random myself so it was refreshing to see things from a slightly different but far more knowledgeable view than mine. It has changed my views, and it could definitely help yours too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 5/16/2011

    " Interesting like Freakonomics with some extra explanations in probability.

    The guy who reads the audiobook is clearly monolingual and fails to properly pronounce many common words. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamiewas | 5/5/2011

    " A funny review of the history and true meaning of statistics "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leonardo | 4/28/2011

    " Resumindo, tudo depende de sorte, mas quanto mais você estuda, quanto mais você trabalha, mais sorte você terá. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Avinash | 4/6/2011

    " Enjoyable reading. Bit like a conversation, half way through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew | 4/5/2011

    " Entertaining. Kinda light, for a non-fiction book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven | 3/26/2011

    " A few draggy parts in the middle, but maybe that's just because I like the psychology parts better than the math-heavy parts. Interesting book. In many ways, randomness has been on my side. I am more fortunate than most in the world, if not most in my own country.

    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kenneth | 3/15/2011

    " Very well written and insightful about both the history and logic behind probability and randomness in our lives. Very entertaining and highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Saul | 3/15/2011

    " Everyone must read it to understand how the odds works on our lives! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin | 3/7/2011

    " I am going to read everything I can by Mlodinow, like I have done with Dawkins. When you find someone who writes this clearly, it is a pleasure to learn everything you can. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Theresa | 3/6/2011

    " Initial review (although I'm only halfway through the book) is that it is wordy and dry but worth it for the overall content. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 2/23/2011

    " i recently read both this and _what's luck got to do with it?_ by mazur. _don't_ bother with the mazur book; they both cover pretty much the same territory, but mlodinow's is better written. "

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About the Author
Author Leonard Mlodinow

Leonard Mlodinow is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. He also coauthored two books with physicist Stephen Hawking, A Briefer History of Time and The Grand Design. In addition to his books, Mlodinow has written articles for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Forbes magazine, among others. He has also written for television series such as McGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of California–Berkeley and currently teaches at California Institute of Technology.

About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.