- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (Sept. 12 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0006394957
- ISBN-13: 978-0006394952
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 222 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #147,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Struck By Lightning Paperback – Sep 12 2006
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“[Jeffrey Rosenthal is] your favorite professor, the one who made a difficult subject easy to understand by illustrating insights with practical examples from the world around us.” (Michael Adams, author of Fire and Ice)
“Writing in funny, easily understandable language aimed at non-mathematicians, [Rosenthal] shows how understanding the odds can give us a better idea of how the world works, and help us make better decisions about our lives.” (The Globe and Mail)
“The kind of entertaining romp, grounded in quotidian anecdotes, that makes you feel a little smarter than you really are.” (Maclean’s)
“Rosenthal is a light-hearted and entertaining writer. He reveals quirky numerical facts that may surprise you.” (Toronto Star)
“Easily the most fun you can have with a statistician in the room.” (National Post)
“Like Freakonomics, Struck by Lightning attacks conventional wisdom. When applied to business, Rosenthal’s book provides an insight into careful decision-making that puts facts ahead of emotions. It’s often a smarter bet to invest in a book that gives you new knowledge over one filled with simple old rules.” (Ottawa Citizen)
“Even for the math challenged among us, Rosenthal makes numbers understandable. Rosenthal’s style is highly readable . . . . Numbers and logic and probability are not topics you’d think could be made lively or entertaining. But the probability that it can be done well by Rosenthal is pretty high.” (Winnipeg Free Press)
“Amaze your friends, confound your rivals. Buy Struck by Lightning and have some fun.” (Calgary Sun)
“Rosenthal writes about his topic with such clarity and warmth that even the fiercest math-phobe will feel welcome.” (Calgary Herald)
“Rosenthal succeeds in bringing mathematical theory to the masses, making it funny, non-apologetically geeky, and highly relevant.” (Quill & Quire)
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