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What Are the Chances?

Voodoo Deaths, Office Gossip, and Other Adventures in Probability

Bart K. Holland

Publication Date
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Using examples drawn from daily life and history, the author explains what probability is and how it works.

Our lives are governed by chance. But what, exactly, is chance? In this book, accomplished statistician and storyteller Bart K. Holland takes us on a tour of the world of probability. Weaving together tales from real life—from the spread of the bubonic plague in medieval Europe or the number of Prussian cavalrymen kicked to death by their horses, through IQ test results and deaths by voodoo curse, to why you have to wait in line for rides at Disneyworld—Holland captures the reader's...

Using examples drawn from daily life and history, the author explains what probability is and how it works.

Our lives are governed by chance. But what, exactly, is chance? In this book, accomplished statistician and storyteller Bart K. Holland takes us on a tour of the world of probability. Weaving together tales from real life—from the spread of the bubonic plague in medieval Europe or the number of Prussian cavalrymen kicked to death by their horses, through IQ test results and deaths by voodoo curse, to why you have to wait in line for rides at Disneyworld—Holland captures the reader's imagination with surprising examples of probability in action, everyday events that can profoundly affect our lives but are controlled by just one number.

As Holland explains, even chance events are governed by the laws of probability and follow regular patterns called statistical laws. He shows how such laws are successfully applied, with great benefit, in fields as diverse as the insurance industry, the legal system, medical research, aerospace engineering, and climatology. Whether you have only a distant recollection of high school algebra or use differential equations every day, this book offers examples of the impact of chance that will amuse and astonish.

Reviews

Reviews

All 140 pages of What Are the Chances? are enjoyable and convey much wisdom in an area where gut feelings and rash actions frequently prevail.

An extremely fun read... Insightful and full of interesting applications.

Holland captures the reader's imagination with surprising examples of probability in action, everyday events that can profoundly affect our lives. It will amuse and astonish the reader.

Holland Captures the reader's imagination with surprising examples of probability in action, everyday events that can profoundly affect our lives but are controlled by just one number.

What Are the Chances? is an enjoyable read. And painlessly instructive as well... [a] charming book.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
160
ISBN
9780801869419
Illustration Description
7 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. Roulette Wheels and the Plague
Chapter 2. Surely Something's Wrong With You
Chapter 3. The Life Table: You Can Bet On It!
Chapter 4. The Rarest Events
Chapter 5. The

Preface
Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. Roulette Wheels and the Plague
Chapter 2. Surely Something's Wrong With You
Chapter 3. The Life Table: You Can Bet On It!
Chapter 4. The Rarest Events
Chapter 5. The Waiting Game
Chapter 6. Stockbrokers and Climate Change
Index

Author Bio