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26 November 2008

The Drunkards Walk

Time for a book report.

The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow is a nice complement to Nicholas Taleb's The Black Swan. Where Taleb focuses on the blind spot in most statistics, Mlodinow talks about the randomness that fills those blind spots.

If you are looking for inspiration in identifying risks and assessing their likelihood, this book is an excellent way to get in the right frame of mind for the task. There is a lot of good information on understanding probabilities. I know that for me, understanding the probability and how to calculate it has always been a difficult chore and most books are completely inaccessible to me. This book takes the math and makes it wonderfully readable and, more importantly, easily understandable. His examples using gambling are also fun.

I think this book is a benefit to a project manager when doing risk management, risk assessment and the probability of the occurrence of the risk. For me, it has always been most difficult to objectively assess likelihood of a given risk. This book helped me to better understand how to make that assessment.