Suggested Reading: The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives

August 29, 2009

Leonard Mlodinow — The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives — Vintage, 2008, 252 pp. ISBN 978-0-307-27517-2

(Buy at Amazon.com)

(Buy at Amazon.com)

For those who are interested in (but not already familiar with) probabilities and statistics, I would most certainly recommand this book. Mlodinow presents the basic concepts of probability and statistics by concrete everyday examples—and visually, whenever possibile, rather than through classical mathematical notation. He discusses psychological factors that make us so bad at estimating probabilities and understanding statistics. The concepts he presents are deep but the style is fluid and makes The Drunkard’s Walk an easy read.

[…]the human understanding, once it has adopted an opinion, collects any instances that confirms it, and though the contrary instances may be more numerous and more weighty, it either does not notice them or else rejects them, in order that this opinion will remain unshaken.

Francis Bacon, 1620