Fermat's Last Theorem ) includes"/>

CHANCE: A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market and Just About Everything Else

Amir D. Aczel, Author . Thunder's Mouth $21 (272p) ISBN 978-1-56858-316-7

The baffling, for some, subject of chance and luck is demystified in this sketchy but engaging treatise. Mathematician Aczel (Fermat's Last Theorem ) includes some equations, but mostly sticks to grade-school arithmetic and a few easy story problems in explicating the mathematics of probability. He untangles a number of urgent conundrums, including why buses always seem to run late, why any group of 31 people will include two with the same birthday and why random walks can model the stock market. The book abounds in counterintuitive life lessons. You shouldn't gamble, he says, but if you do then you are better off, probability-wise, if you blow your whole wad on a single spin of the roulette wheel than if you parcel it out in smaller bets. And the lovelorn can take comfort in knowing that, if you just keep dating, the odds are surprisingly good that your soul mate will turn up. Indeed, "[y]ou will maximize your probability of finding the best spouse if you date thirty-seven percent of the available candidates in your life, and then choose to stay with the next candidate who is better than all previous ones." Aczel's treatments of some topics, like game theory, are so perfunctory as to barely register, but his light touch generally makes probability come alive. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/13/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.