17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable read, not exceptionally profound
, August 2, 2008
Some unorganized reactions.
The Drunkard's Walk owes much to a classic in this field, Innumeracy by John Paulos. This book borrows much from that work in its discussion of misleading use of probabilities, with at least one story lifted directly from it, and most others coming more indirectly from Innumeracy. To those who have read that book it still offers some in terms of unintuitive probabilities, including a discussion of the infamous Monty Hall problem.
It touches areas that Innumeracy didn't though discussing psychology, statistics, and offering a history of probability/statistics. The historical ranting are rather tedious and most likely already known to the readers of this type of material or unwelcome. The dabbles into psychological aspect of why we have trouble perceiving randomness, among other such issues discussed, provide the most interesting and original aspects of the book.
The book falls very short of its stated goal of revealing how randomness runs our lives. In fact, only his discussions of statistics and anecdotes seem to bring us closer to his goal. The other points are enjoyable to read, but deal little with the supposed purpose of the book.
A good read, mostly for those unfamiliar with the Mathematics, but I find the psychological aspect of the book will make an acceptable read for those who have prior understanding of probability and statistics.