Thoughts on: “The Drunkard’s Walk” by Leonard Mlodinow

There were two chance events that stood out to me that night I waled out of the murky cellar bar in central Stockholm where I had discussed this book with four other non-fiction junkies.


The 1st coincidence was that during the cause of reading the book, one of the group members had unknowingly ended up at a family dinner with the author. Only when seeing the book in the household, and mentioning she was reading the book, the fact became obvious.


The 2nd coincidence was that during

a discussion about the properties of true randomness—it’s tendency towards repetition- another attendee showed a tattoo he had made all over his left arm, displaying long slithering snake of quantum generated random 1:s and 0:s.


What are the odds of that? 🤷‍♂️


📝 Regression toward the mean:

In any series of random events an extraordinary event is most likely to be followed, due purely to chance, by a more ordinary one.


📝 Randomness clusters: here is a random series of 1:s and 0:s. Notice the repetition. Let’s say you are a reasearcher and get random numbers to work with and you end up with a sequence with overwhelming repetition. This is not unlikely. When do you start to doubt the randomness of the sequence?

0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1


📝 “If you want to succeed; double your failure rate.” – Watson


📝 Apple had to make their iPods shuffle function less random because people experienced getting the same song twice as ”un-random”.



Since chance seems to play a bigger role in life than we like to admit, the number of chances you take and the number of opportunities you seize matters.



The basic concepts of randomness is laid out in this books and how they are often overlooked. We are also served a great history of how the science of probability evolved.


I recommend this book if you enjoy the work of Nassim Taleb and/or find joy in logic and math problems. Suitable for an aspiring know-it-all!




⁉️ How do you maximize exposure to “luck” & chance?⁉️


Photo: bombsaway_

For more great books and reviews: check out the Reading Lists.

Published by BookLab by Bjorn

Book reviewer and human lab rat on a mission to put life changing books in the hands of 1 million people. By providing reviews of the best books money can buy on the topics of psychology, philosophy, human nature and human potential, I hope to inspire you to take on the calling to lifelong learning.

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