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am 18. Januar 2009
Leonard Mlodinow wrote an easy to read guide to influences of chance in our everyday life and shows how to benefit and how to evade unnecessary misfortunes.

The author explains all the necessary theoretical groundwork of stochastics and statistics 101 in a simple manner without employing any formulas. The latter makes the book accessible to anyone who is not too inclined towards mathematics, but slows reading for those knowledgeable in the field. Furthermore, he introduces the propositions in their historical context, thereby giving a catchy overview of the people and places involved.

The examples he has picked are from a wide range of everyday situations, e.g., baseball, box-office performance, cancer in the vicinity of nuclear power plants, casino gambling, crime scenes, executive performance, gender guessing of twins, lotteries, medical diagnoses, Pearl Harbor, wine tastings, etc. These vivid illustrations raise the awareness of the random impacts in the reader's surroundings - influences that Mlodinow shows are generally under- or overestimated beacuse the human intuition is incapable of truly conceiving randomness.

After reading this book you will have learnt three things:
1. Theory to do all sorts of calculations of randomness
2. Historical and biographical knowledge of great mathematicians
3. How randomness rules your life and what you can do to succeed anyway

The only downside of the book trying to convey all those three messages is that you should not expect 220 pages filled with "How Randomness Rules Our Lives". (Therefore, it is a four-star book for me. However, once you know this - before the purchase - it is a five star book. That is how expectations influence or perceptions; see around p. 133 in the book.)

The last 16 pages are dedicated references to other works that allow the interested reader to dig deep into the scientific realm of the topic.

Enjoy the book!
Jan Dominik Gunkel
0Kommentar| 4 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
Have you ever flipped a coin 100 times to see the sequence of heads and tails that comes up? If you have, you know that there can be long streaks of heads and tails. Random results that end up 50-50 don't look that way in the short term.

Human perception is such that we like to find patterns where none exist. I remember the CEO of a company I worked for would draw a trend line through one data point with great authority, totally unaware of what he was doing.

More often, we judge by samples of behavior and time that are too short to be representative. Professor Mlodinow does a good job of showing how executives are often fired just before they get their best results, and how seldom the new executive does any better than the prior one.

In sports, we get all excited about streaks. Professor Mlodinow dampens that enthusiasm by pointing out that like streaks can occur randomly. We need to check to see if the streak exceeds the expected degree of variation before deciding that something significant has taken place. (But don't stop cheering on your favorite team and players.)

The book also provides lots of thumbnail sketches of the human side of those who have advanced the science and math behind our ability to measure and understand randomness. In fact, I don't recall a book on this subject with better anecdotes about the scientists and mathematicians. That's the reward in this book if you already know about randomness.

If you know nothing on the subject, this book is the gentlest possible introduction.

Enjoy!
0Kommentar| 2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
Have you ever flipped a coin 100 times to see the sequence of heads and tails that comes up? If you have, you know that there can be long streaks of heads and tails. Random results that end up 50-50 don't look that way in the short term.

Human perception is such that we like to find patterns where none exist. I remember the CEO of a company I worked for would draw a trend line through one data point with great authority, totally unaware of what he was doing.

More often, we judge by samples of behavior and time that are too short to be representative. Professor Mlodinow does a good job of showing how executives are often fired just before they get their best results, and how seldom the new executive does any better than the prior one.

In sports, we get all excited about streaks. Professor Mlodinow dampens that enthusiasm by pointing out that like streaks can occur randomly. We need to check to see if the streak exceeds the expected degree of variation before deciding that something significant has taken place. (But don't stop cheering on your favorite team and players.)

The book also provides lots of thumbnail sketches of the human side of those who have advanced the science and math behind our ability to measure and understand randomness. In fact, I don't recall a book on this subject with better anecdotes about the scientists and mathematicians. That's the reward in this book if you already know about randomness.

If you know nothing on the subject, this book is the gentlest possible introduction.

Enjoy!
0Kommentar|War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 19. November 2015
Mir hat das Busch sehr gefallen, lehrreich und unterhaltsam. Ich werde das sicher nochmal lesen, da ich die Beispiele super finde, mir aber nicht alle merken konnte.
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am 6. Mai 2013
Mlodinow is a good writer. This book is as good as his Subliminal. I have not yet read his book on Feynman.
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