The Improbability Principle

The Improbability Principle

Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day

Book - 2014
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In The Improbability Principle , the renowned statistician David J. Hand argues that extraordinarily rare events are anything but. In fact, they're commonplace. Not only that, we should all expect to experience a miracle roughly once every month.
But Hand is no believer in superstitions, prophecies, or the paranormal. His definition of "miracle" is thoroughly rational. No mystical or supernatural explanation is necessary to understand why someone is lucky enough to win the lottery twice, or is destined to be hit by lightning three times and still survive. All we need, Hand argues, is a firm grounding in a powerful set of laws: the laws of inevitability, of truly large numbers, of selection, of the probability lever, and of nearenough.
Together, these constitute Hand's groundbreaking Improbability Principle. And together, they explain why we should not be so surprised to bump into a friend in a foreign country, or to come across the same unfamiliar word four times in one day. Hand wrestles with seemingly less explicable questions as well: what the Bible and Shakespeare have in common, why financial crashes are par for the course, and why lightning does strike the same place (and the same person) twice. Along the way,he teaches us how to use the Improbability Principle in our own lives--including how to cash in at a casino and how to recognize when a medicine is truly effective.
An irresistible adventure into the laws behind "chance" moments and a trusty guide for understanding the world and universe we live in, The Improbability Principle will transform how you think about serendipity and luck, whether it's in the world of business and finance or you're merely sitting in your backyard, tossing a ball into the air and wondering where it will land.

Publisher: New York : Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2014.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780374175344
Characteristics: xii, 269 p. : ill. ; 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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