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Ep. 036: The Drunkard’s Walk with Dr. Leonard Mlodinow

by | Sep 24, 2018

I was being interviewed last week for a podcast and one of the questions was, “What are the three biggest mistakes new cryptocurrency investors make?” And my answer was: wrong timing, wrong thing and wrong amount.

Meaning, they buy tops and sell bottoms, they are investing in ICOs and alt-coins that are almost certain to lose them money, and they invest way too much of their investable assets in cryptocurrency.

In trying to explain my answer, I remembered an interview I had done for my radio show, back in late 2009, with Dr. Leonard Mlodinow, the author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. I dug it out and re-listened to it for one specific example he had used. Then I decided it was so good, I would share it with you as well.

Just to give you some background:

Leonard Mlodinow is a theoretical physicist and author recognized for groundbreaking discoveries in physics, and a passion for making science accessible and interesting to the general public. He was on the faculty of Caltech, and is the author of five best-sellers. Among them, The Grand Design, co-authored with Stephen Hawking, took the reader on a tour of the latest ideas in physics and cosmology, and reached #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. His book Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior, described how a person’s thoughts, decisions, and feelings are profoundly influenced by the behind-the-scenes operation of the unconscious mind, and won the PEN/E.O. Wilson award for literary science writing. And his book The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives showed how the hidden forces of randomness have a huge and generally unrecognized effect on all aspects of life, as well as the course of companies and societies. It was chosen as a New York Times notable book, and short-listed for the Royal Society book award.

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“Studies showed that people believe, even when they know something is random, they can still control or predict it.”

— Leonard Mlodinow

Physicist and Best Selling Author

In this week’s conversation, we talk about:

✓ Why rats are better at probability than humans are

✓ How do we know markets are random

✓ How does a drunk walk

✓ How many times do we have to play the World Series to know statistically which team is better

✓ If the market is random, how do fund managers and day-trading course, still exist?


The Drunkard’s Walk - Leonard Mlodinow


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