The Improbability Principle

The Improbability Principle

Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day

Book - 2014
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"An eye-opening and engrossing look at rare moments, why they occur, and how they shape our world In The Improbability Principle, the renowned statistician David J. Hand unveils his groundbreaking argument that extraordinarily rare events are in fact commonplace. Weaving together fascinating new ways to think about chance, Hand highlights his "law of near enough," the "look elsewhere effect," and more, doing for probability what Newton's laws of motion did for mechanics. Through humorous and engaging tales of two-time lottery winners, gambling gone wrong, and bizarre coincidences that we can't quite fathom, Hand argues that extremely unlikely events must happen, and no mystical or supernatural explanation is necessary to understand why. Hand's investigation, grounded in statistics and brought to life with fascinating anecdotes, finally explains "unexplainable" events such as unexpectedly bumping into a friend in a foreign country and coming across an unfamiliar word twice in one day. Along the way, we learn what the Bible and Shakespeare have in common, just how to win the lottery, why financial crashes are par for the course, and why lightning does strike the same place (and the same person) more than once. As Hand makes clear, we can rest assured that we'll experience a "miracle" roughly once per month. An irresistible adventure into the laws behind chance moments, The Improbability Principle transforms how we think about business decisions, everyday encounters, serendipity, and luck"-- Provided by publisher.
"An eye-opening and engrossing look at rare moments, why they occur, and how they shape our world"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374175344
Characteristics: xii, 269 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Jun 06, 2015

Infinitely Improbable Coincidences: The recently released Senate summary on the CIA torture report [still classified under Obama's Open Government Initiative] tells us that the CIA's Alfreda Bikowsky Silverstein, married to David Silverstein, controlled the entire 9/11 script from beginning to end - - and her husband just happens to be the nephew of Shel Silverstein of Silverstein Properties which owned the WTC towers on 9/11/01! The Carlyle Group, whose name pops up with regard to the missing Malaysian fligh MH370, was founded by Frank Carlucci [in the CIA when President Kennedy was assassinated] and David Rubenstein, the nephew of Jacob Rubenstein, who would later change his name when he became mobbed up - - to Jack Ruby, the murderer of alleged presidential assassin, Lee Oswald! [Jacob Rubenstein once worked for Rep. Richard Nixon as a private investigator for the House Committee on Un-American Activities.] The mystery woman at the RFK assassination, identified as an olive-skinned brunette speaking with an accent, was later brought forward by LA Police as Valerie Schulte, a young, fair-complected blonde student whose aunt and uncle worked at the same classified section at Lockheed as Eugene Thane Ceasar, part-time security gard at the RFK murder. Schulte's father worked at Technicolor Corp. on a classified contract with Lockheed, which at that time had a gov't contract with the CIA's MK ULTRA program. The security chief at Lockheed was VP Nixon's former Secret Service bodyguard, who would later leave Lockheed for Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign staff, after Sen. Bobby Kennedy's murder. Ruth and Michael Paine offered Lee Oswald his living space in Dallas and helped obtain a job for him at the Texas School Book Depostory: Michael was related to the Cabot and Forbes and Dudley families, and a cousin to Henry Cabot Lodge, about to be fired by President Kennedy. His wife, Ruth Paine, had a sister and brother-in-law, both career CIA. Now all of these infinitely improbable events are too well-planned to be coincidences, so in that regard I disagree with the author, although seemingly innocuous coincidences do take place, infinitely improbable ones do not!

Ivan W. Taylor
Nov 06, 2014

This is a very readable book about how likely seeming coincidences can happen because of simple statistical laws. I especially liked that fact that it shattered many common myths and urban legends.

nobonesclean Jun 16, 2014

NOT so good. ft


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