bookworm wednesday – the drunkard’s walk
happy leap day, everyone! on this magical extra day, how ’bout a review of a book that tries to explain the illusions surrounding exceptional events: The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow (2.5 of 5 stars).
scientist mlodinow pulls back the curtain to show us how the magician in our daily lives is randomness. he claims we overestimate the significance of everything from casual interactions to major setbacks, and so we often attribute successes and failures to “obvious” causes, when they are actually more profoundly influenced by chance.
mlodinow offers examples from the classroom and the supermarket to big financial markets and the White House, and each is more intriguing than the last. the author convincingly demonstrates that ratings, grades, polls, and many other things we rely on are just not…well, reliable.
this was certainly an interesting read. truly thought-provoking ideas. i can’t decide if the evidence and concepts the author presents are encouraging, or just encourage apathy. and as a believer in the One Whose Hand is at Work in this world, i have to think that many of these “random coincidences” are just not.
the point of this calculated tour of randomness, chance, and probability is to remind us that much in our lives is about as predictable as the steps of a stumbling drunk. i’m not sure what my conclusion is, but i definitely was not bored reading this book.
do you believe that randomness plays a major role in life’s events? does this idea make you feel relieved or hopeless?