What the Luck? : The Surprising Role of Chance in Our Everyday Lives

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Plenty of studies have shown that humans are fantastically terrible at understanding statistics and probability, often intuiting the opposite of what is actually true. So, could luck itself also be a fluke of statistical misunderstanding?

That idea is at the heart of Gary Smith’s What the Luck?, an in-depth look at how much of what we believe is attributable to luck in business, education, sports, and games is actually the work of confirmation bias, regression to the mean, and other relatively simple statistical concepts. For instance, the Madden Curse — the idea that appearing on the cover of the popular video game series will cause you to have a bad season — has nothing to do with luck and everything do with the fact that you end up on the cover after a great performance, and, statistically, a less impressive season will most likely follow an outstanding one.

Smith’s goal is to show us how to interpret information (statistical and otherwise) in a useful, meaningful way and how to avoid being conned (or conning ourselves) by misunderstanding the data in front of us. What the Luck? is a valuable arrow of sobering knowledge to keep in your quiver at all times.

This page was created by an SFBR staff member.


Reviewed By:

Author Gary Smith
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher The Overlook Press
Publish Date 2016-Oct-04
ISBN 9781468313758
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2016
Category Science & Nature
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