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  • Gareth Bragg

Book Summary: The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

Drunkards Walk Book Summary

⭐ Rating: 7/10 - Recommended For: Decision Makers

✏️ Summary Written by Gareth Bragg

3 Big Ideas from The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow 💡

The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow teaches you that:

  1. Past success isn't the best indicator of future success. Many successes are influenced more by random elements (including chance encounters) than any talent or skill - this makes them unrepeatable.

  2. Avoid oversimplifying success. Be cautious of the simple stories that you tell about a situation.

  3. Increasing your attempts at success will increase your chances of success. In hindsight, the one thing that works will often seem obvious.

2 Best Quotes from The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow 💬

"We miss the effects of randomness in life because when we assess the world, we tend to see what we expect to see."
“That’s why successful people in every field are almost universally members of a certain set—the set of people who don’t give up.”

Top Takeaway

From reading The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow I've come to see that randomness plays a far larger role in our lives than I’d have liked to believe. We’re surrounded by complexity and chance encounters, and the idea of being “in control” feels like a seductive illusion.

Any past event can seem "bound to have happened" if I ignore all the many ways it could have failed. By accepting the chance - or likelihood - of failure, I can embrace getting the most out of my own journey and opportunities while letting go of the many things that just don't work out.

Rather than intimidating, I find that liberating. The belief I “must make this work" or plot out every step before making a move could hold me back. Accepting success can’t be ensured lets me focus on trying things out and learning from the inevitable failures that occur.

Since reading this book I’ve started to keep watch on how much certainty I look for. When making plans or commitments I’ll regularly ask, “what more can I do to really impact my chance of success?”. Most every time the answer has been “nothing”, and I’ve suddenly unblocked myself to make a move.

I’ll still work to set myself up for success. Getting to know people, building my support network, developing skills, finding opportunities I’m passionate about. These can all improve my chances of success and happiness, but I’ll only be sure of success when I’m looking back on them.


Book Summary Written by: Gareth Bragg

Gareth Bragg Bio

I'm a coach who cares about mental health, creativity, and trying to bring just a little more happiness into the world.

📚 I love to read because it introduces me to new ideas, concepts, and adventures, at my own pace.

📗 The book I've most recommended recently is Range by David Epstein


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