Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Probability in everyday life - suggested reading - "Chances are"

It is not often that I recommend a book to others before I've at least completed reading half of the book. Today is an exception. I just stumbled on (although it was likely an event with a known probability) the book "Chances are: Adventures in probability" and can already tell, after reading the first chapter, that this is going to be a good book.

From the book jacket - "Chanes a compelling journey through history, mathematics, and philosophy, charting one of humanity's most ambitious and poignant endeavors: the struggle against randomness."

The book captured my imagination in the first paragraph in the first chapter, which follows below:
  • "We search for certainty and call what we find destiny. Everything is possible, yet only one thing happens--we live and die between these two poles, under the rule of probability. We prefer, though, to call it Chance: an old familiar embodied in gods and demons, harnessed in charms and rituals. We remind one another of forutne's fickleness, each secretly believing himself excempt. I am master of my fate; you are dicing with danger; he is living in a fool's paradise"

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