- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; 1 edition (Sept. 1 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0002007916
- ISBN-13: 978-0002007917
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2 x 24.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 45.4 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #462,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Struck By Lightning Hardcover – Sep 1 2005
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What are the odds of two people at a party having the same birthday? Or that you'll draw a fourth queen for your poker hand? Or that Earthlings are alone in the universe? Or that the cute girl in accounting will go out with you on a date? If you're the kind of person who spends a lot of time pondering such dilemmas, you'll probably enjoy Jeffrey Rosenthal's entertaining book Struck by Lightning. Rosenthal, a Harvard math PhD and a professor of statistics at the University of Toronto, makes statistics come alive with colourful writing and everyday examples of how uncertainty affects our lives. He notes that people have a love-hate relationship with randomness. "We are inexplicably delighted by strange coincidences and striking similarities," he writes. But we also hate the dark side of uncertainty--the possibility of disease, plane crashes, collapsing bridges. Rosenthal's goal is to help teach readers to worry less and appreciate the randomness of life. "Uncertainty is here to stay," he writes. "We have two options: we can let uncertainty get the better of us or we can learn to understand randomness."
Rosenthal shows how readers can use probability theory for everything from improving their luck at poker or Monopoly to assessing whether they might be attacked by terrorists while traveling. It can be used to devise a better computer password or to analyze studies of a drug recommended by your doctor. And yes, readers can figure out the odds they'll be hit by lightning and how a certain Cuban farmer happened to be struck five times. There are even clues about whether life exists on other planets. In a world where events often seem to be spinning out of control, Rosenthal makes a convincing case that we should embrace randomness, and his book is a great primer for how to do it. --Alex Roslin
About the Author
JEFFREY S. ROSENTHAL is a professor in the Department ofStatistics at the University of Toronto. At 24, he received his Ph.D. inMathematics from Harvard. He has written two textbooks on probability theory andis also an amateur musician, computer-game programmer and improvisational comedyperformer. He lives in Toronto.
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