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The Improbability Principle: Why…

The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events…

by David J. Hand

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (3)
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The Improbability Principle by David Hand This is a an understandable explanation of basic probability principles like the Law of Large numbers, and the effects of small changes in assumptions upon probabilities. He reviews several odd and miraculous occurences and explains how although they are improbable, they are not impossible. Establishing and explaining these principles, he then tackles the improbabilities involved in life, the universe, and evolution. He explains how evolution works, with many small steps achieving a big change. He also tackles the Anthropic principle, which states this universe's laws are necessary for life and humanity to exist.

Overall, this is a good, accessible explanation of the topic of statistics and probabilities and how they interact with daily life. ( )
  jjvors | May 17, 2015 |
The titular principle, that extremely improbable events are commonplace, logically follows from math-based laws of what Hand dubs "inevitability", "truly large numbers", "selection", "the probability lever", and "near enough"; nothing supernatural is involved*. Many of the same points are made more concisely in Jordan Ellenberg's much broader book _How Not to Be Wrong_. Hand's book is hobbled and lengthened by being extremely formula- and equation-phobic; even the P(...) notation goes unmentioned. I guess it's aimed at rank beginners, though.
(* A good thing, since nothing supernatural exists, and any argumentation that uses it is "not so much an explanation as an evasion of the question" (p 203).)
  fpagan | Oct 28, 2014 |
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Malvaldi, MarcoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374175349, Hardcover)

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 near enough.
     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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:48 -0400)

"An eye-opening and engrossing look at rare moments, why they occur, and how they shape our world"--

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