The Drunkard’s Walk

I’ve finished reading a book called The Drunkard’s Walk. My dad squinted when he saw the title. But it’s not actually about drinking or drunk people. According to the book, the term Drunkard’s Walk described how the molecules bump each other. The articles included are very interesting in that we are enlightened with the points raised through theories from prominent Mathematicians. I’m not very fond of Mathematics or should I say it’s not very fond of me, as proven a lot of times. But this book is written in such a way that you’ll be amazed at the power of Math and Physics, the concept of probabilities and how randomness practically surrounds our life. What I learned is to open ourselves to possibilities, and not to rely too much on what happened to others or what we witnessed, because chances are it’s a different story.

“Most of our life experiences are like that: we observe a relatively small sample of outcomes, from which we infer information and make judgments about the qualities that produced those outcomes. (110)

“It is easy to believe that ideas that worked were good ideas, that plans that succeeded were well designed, and that ideas and plans that did not were ill-conceived. And it is easy to make heroes out of the most successful and to glance with disdain at the least. But ability does not guarantee achievement, nor is achievement proportional to ability. And so it is important to always keep in mind the other term in the equation—the role of chance.”

I remember reading in Malcolm Gladwell’s books that said something about opportunity, that there are people who get more opportunity than other; who are trained in the early years like playing a musical instrument or harnessing their math skills, or be enrolled in different activities that other individuals might not have the same experience.

“Finally, we should learn to spend as much time looking for evidence that we are wrong as we spend searching for reasons we are correct.” (191)

I liked how the author ended the book. Most of the time, even when we might not realize it, we’re trying to find arguments that would prove what we believe as the correct one, blinding other odds and possibilities. We may also keep in mind to open our minds to the chance that we might be wrong.

This was a fun read, in that I learned a lot about key people in developing the study of physics, measurements, statistics and probabilities. I didn’t think that math could be this entertaining.

It’s quite random that I picked out this book and decided to read this book. It was indeed insightful.

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