The Improbability Principle

  • by David J. Hand
  • Narrated by Paul Hodgson
  • 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In The Improbability Principle, the renowned statistician David J. Hand argues that extraordinarily rare events are anything but. In fact, they're commonplace. Not only that, we should all expect to experience a miracle roughly once every month.
But Hand is no believer in superstitions, prophecies, or the paranormal. His definition of "miracle" is thoroughly rational. No mystical or supernatural explanation is necessary to understand why someone is lucky enough to win the lottery twice, or is destined to be hit by lightning three times and still survive. All we need, Hand argues, is a firm grounding in a powerful set of laws: The laws of inevitability, of truly large numbers, of selection, of the probability lever, and of near enough.
Together, these constitute Hand's groundbreaking Improbability Principle. And together, they explain why we should not be so surprised to bump into a friend in a foreign country, or to come across the same unfamiliar word four times in one day. Hand wrestles with seemingly less explicable questions as well: What the Bible and Shakespeare have in common, why financial crashes are par for the course, and why lightning does strike the same place (and the same person) twice. Along the way, he teaches us how to use the Improbability Principle in our own lives-including how to cash in at a casino and how to recognize when a medicine is truly effective.
An irresistible adventure into the laws behind "chance" moments and a trusty guide for understanding the world and universe we live in, The Improbability Principle will transform how you think about serendipity and luck, whether it's in the world of business and finance or you're merely sitting in your backyard, tossing a ball into the air and wondering where it will land.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

It's improbable that this was published.

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I listen to a lot of pop sci books, but this is by far the worst. As far as I can tell, there appears to be no meaningful content at all in this book.


What could David J. Hand have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Add some meaningful content, there was no take-away at all form this book.


What didn’t you like about Paul Hodgson’s performance?

It was probably the content that had an impact on the low score. If you don't have great content to read, it's hard to make it sound interesting.


You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Honestly, no. The book was so bad I'm thinking about cancelling my Audible subscription for a while and moving to reading Kindle books. The fact I even had that thought should be telling of how bad this book is.


Any additional comments?

Hours of my life wasted.

Read full review

- Graham

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-02-2014
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio