Struck By Lightning | Granta

Struck By Lightning

Jeffrey S. Rosenthal

Human beings have long been both fascinated and appalled by randomness. On the one hand, we love the thrill of a surprise party or the freedom of not knowing what tomorrow will bring. We are inexplicably delighted by strange coincidences and striking similarities. But we also hate uncertainty’s dark side. From cancer to bird flu, diseases may strike with no apparent pattern. Terrorists attack, airplanes crash, bridges collapse, and we never know if we’ll be that one-in-a-million statistic. In this entertaining look at the world of probabilities, Jeffrey Rosenthal, maths professor and improvisational comedian, explains the mechanics of randomness in fields as diverse as poker hands, email spam, crime statistics, opinion polls and lottery jackpots. Read Struck by Lightning and, chances are, you will never look at the world the same way again.

  • Published: 03/03/2008
  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781862079960
  • 130x30mm, 288 pages

Written in funny, easily understandable language, Rosenthal shows how understanding the odds can ... help us make better decisions about our lives

The Globe and Mail

A breezy mix of direct yet simple mathematical tools for decision-making along with explanations for things the non-mathematically minded have always wanted to know, but were unsure to ask ... Rosenthal writes about his topic with such clarity and warmth that even the fiercest mathphobe will feel welcome

Calgary Herald

Highly readable ... Numbers and logic and probability are not topics you'd think could be made lively or entertaining. But the probability that it can be done well by Rosenthal is pretty high

Winnipeg Free Press

The Author

Jeffrey S. Rosenthal is a professor in the Department of Statistics, University of Toronto. He is also an improvisational comedian, amateur musician and computer-game programmer. Struck by Lightning has been a best-seller in Canada.

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