“…much of the order we perceive in nature belies an invisible underlying disorder and hence can be understood only through the rules of randomness.”
“Human perception, Faraday recognized, is not a direct consequence of reality but rather an act of imagination.”
“…in all aspects of our lives we encounter streaks and other peculiar patterns of success and failure. Sometimes success predominates, sometimes failure. Either way it is important in our own lives to take the long view and understand that streaks and other patterns that don’t appear random can indeed happen by pure chance. It is also important, when assessing others, to recognize that among a large group of people it would be very odd if one of them didn’t experience a long streak of successes or failures.” [Mlodinow's italics]
“The cord that tethers ability to success is both loose and elastic. It is easy to see fine qualities in successful books or to see unpublished manuscripts, inexpensive vodkas, or people struggling in any field as somehow lacking. It is easy to believe that ideas that worked were good ideas, 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.”
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Quotes from Leonard Mlodinow's The Drunkard's Walk
One of the best books I’ve read this year is Leonard Mlodinow’s The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Affects Our Lives. The title might sound a little like a self-help manual, but the book certainly isn’t. Instead, it’s one of the most eye-opening and philosophical texts I’ve read, the sort that changes the way you think and look at things. Mlodinow presents many great ideas, and I don’t have the time to review them, but here are some quotes that I feel encapsulate Mlodinow’s main points.