Chances Are: Adventures in Probability

Chances Are: Adventures in Probability

by Michael Kaplan, Ellen Kaplan


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A compelling journey through history, mathematics, and philosophy, charting humanity’s struggle against randomness

Our lives are played out in the arena of chance. However little we recognize it in our day-to-day existence, we are always riding the odds, seeking out certainty but settling—reluctantly—for likelihood, building our beliefs on the shadowy props of probability. Chances Are is the story of man’s millennia-long search for the tools to manage the recurrent but unpredictable—to help us prevent, or at least mitigate, the seemingly random blows of disaster, disease, and injustice. In these pages, we meet the brilliant individuals who developed the first abstract formulations of probability, as well as the intrepid visionaries who recognized their practical applications—from gamblers to military strategists to meteorologists to medical researchers, from blackjack to our own mortality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143038344
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/27/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,154,123
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Michael Kaplan studied European history at Harvard and Oxford. After a stint as producer/director at WGBH, he has been an award-winning writer and filmmaker working abroad for clients including governments, corporations, museums, and charities.

Ellen Kaplan trained as a classical archaeologist and has taught math, biology, Greek, Latin, and history.She and her husband, Robert, run the Math Circle, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to joyous participatory learning, and are the authors of The Art of the Infinite.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

[Michael and Ellen Kaplan] have hit on a great subject, and they explore it, down through the centuries and across the globe, with an enthusiasm that borders on glee. . . . A dizzying, exhilarating ride. (William Grimes, The New York Times)

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Chances Are: Adventures in Probability 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
teaperson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's tough to make probability interesting and understandable. This book doesn't quite get the balance right, although there are lots of interesting parts to it.
jefware on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Is reality deterministic or probabilistic? Do you believe that? This book will make you believe that even science is a modeling of probability.
neurodrew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The authors are unusually brother and sister, with training in history and classics, not math. They write very well, however, and seem very intelligent in their presentation. The book is organized around professional areas, medicine, law, economics, etc, describing the issues in probability and statistics for each one. Bayes theorem remains a difficult area for understanding. The calculation of risk should be by absolute frequency, not relative risk, because of the difficulty in understanding Bayes analyses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extremely interesting because it gives the originis of many mistakes we make when we calculate probabilities. Establishes difference between statistics and probability. It is an eye opener to the chances in many day-to-day situations.