The Drunkard’s Walk, by Leonard Mlodinow (14 February — 15 February)

A non-fiction book? What?? It’s so true.

This one is a book about probability and how it affects our everyday lives and not just the lives of imaginary textbook people. It does a pretty good job, too. The Monty Hall problem shows up, as does a question about offspring: If you know a woman has two children and one of them is a girl, what is the likelihood that both of her children are girls? The answer is not intuitive but it is understandable. However, when the question changes to say that you know that one of the woman’s children is a girl named Florida, suddenly the probability of a two-girl family changes. Buh? It’s explained, but I still don’t get it. At all. My brain hurts even thinking about it.

There’s also some historical info about how the field of statistics came about and real-life applications of probability (including the O.J. Simpson trial and a crazy DNA-sample-approved mistaken imprisonment).

Mlodinow has a good writing style (which earned a 93 percent in his son’s English class, hmmm) and the topic was interesting to me, but if you don’t want to think too hard about math, I’d steer clear.

Rating: 8/10
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