Read: The Drunkard's Walk - How Randomness Rules our Lives

While Ayre’s Super Cruncher invited to find patterns in seemingly random data (and running controlled experiments to assess differences in treatments, e.g. maximizing sales revenue by the “right” choice of book title) Mlodinow’s The Drunkard’s Walk is more a warning of seeing patterns in seemingly non-random data.

Life is full of randomness and Mlodinow’s little book raises some awareness to the random factor in our lives. He gives a nice historical account of the concept of randomness in mathematics and other sciences as the disciplinary borders were once not as distinct as they are now. This reminded me a bit of Peter Bernstein’s Against the Gods. Though Mlodinow’s work is considerably shorter and more focused owing to the more directed topic of his book. My recollection may be wrong, yet I believe his work is also more sanguine.

In short, he did a very good job. The Drunkard’s Walk is entertaining, balanced and instructive and covers considerably more than just the economic side of randomness: the chance element in our lives, luck and misfortune, the misperception of probabilities and causality, and psychological biases. Finally, he also cautions all those who rely a little too much on their statistics…