Synopses & Reviews
A layman's journey into the realm of probability: from poker to politics, weather to war, Monte Carlo to mortality.
We search for certainty, but find only likelihood. All things are possible, only one thing actually happens; everything else is in the realm of probability. The twin disciplines of probability and statistics underpin every modern science and sketch the shape of all purposeful group activity: politics, economics, medicine, law, sports, giving humans a handle on the essential uncertainty of their existence. Yet while we are all aware of the hard facts, most of us still refuse to take account of probability, preferring to drive, not fly; buying into market blips; smoking cigarettes; denying we will ever age.
There are some people, though (gamblers, risk buyers, forensic experts, doctors, strategists) who find probabilitys mass of incomplete uncertainties delightful and revelatory. Chances Are is their story. Combining philosophical and historical background with portraits of the men and women who command the forces of probability, this engaging, wide-ranging, and clearly written volume will be welcomed not only by the proven audiences for popular books like E=MC2 and The Golden Ratio but by anyone interested in the workings of fate.
Combining philosophical and historical background, "Chances Are . . ." is a layman's journey into the realm of probability--from poker to politics, weather to war, Monte Carlo to mortality. Illustrations.
A compelling journey through history, mathematics, and philosophy, charting humanityand#146;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 settlingand#151;reluctantlyand#151;for likelihood, building our beliefs on the shadowy props of probability. Chances Are is the story of manand#146;s millennia-long search for the tools to manage the recurrent but unpredictableand#151;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 applicationsand#151;from gamblers to military strategists to meteorologists to medical researchers, from blackjack to our own mortality.
About the Author
A native of Wayland, Massachusetts, Michael Kaplan wrote plays and musicals throughout high school and at Princeton University, where he attended college. Upon graduation he moved to New York where a number of his plays received productions and staged readings, primarily at The Ensemble Studio Theatre, where he is a member. For the past twenty-two years, he has lived in Los Angeles, working as a television writer and producer on a total of twelve different prime time shows for ABC, NBC, FOX, and UPN. His career as a comedy writer has included stints as a writer and Supervising Producer on two of television's most respected comedies, Roseanne and Frasier. For his work on the latter, he received an Emmy award, as a member of the producing staff, for best comedy series. He co-created and Executive Produced I'm In the Band for Disney XD. His new show, Dog With a Blog will be premiering on Disney Channel in the fall of 2012. He is the author of Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake and Betty Bunny Wants Everything. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.