- Language: English
- 95 Pages
- Published: October 2011
- Region: Great Britain, United Kingdom
Probabilities: The Little Numbers That Rule Our Lives
- Published: November 2006
- Region: Global
- 280 pages
- John Wiley and Sons Ltd
This book is intended as a popular, but abbreviated treatise on probability theory. Basic concepts and techniques are introduced and illustrated mainly by drawing from a wealth of entertaining, paradoxical, and mind-boggling probability problems (such as the birthday problem or the Monty Hall problem). The writing style is purposefully enjoyable and mostly non-technical. The pace is leisurely. No knowledge of calculus of previous knowledge of probability theory or statistics is required. The emphasis is on entertainment and pedagogy rather than applicability or usefulness. Examples reflect everyday occurrences, not pre-fabricated or altered data. While honest in approach, the author takes great pain to ease the level of mathematics throughout the work. Probability theory is learned by and through example.
1. Computing Probabilities: Right Ways and Wrong Ways.
The Probabilist's Toys and Language.
The Probabilist's Rule Book.
Independence, Airplanes, and Russian Peasants.
Conditional Probability, Swedish TV, and British Courts.
Total Probability, Used Cars, and Tennis Matches.
Co~nbinatorics, Pastrami, and Poetry.
The von Trapps and the Binomial Distribution.
2. Surprising Probabilities: When Intuition Struggles.
Boys, Girls, Aces, and Colored Cards.
Goats and Gloats.
Strategies, Shopping, and Spaghetti Westerns.
The British Snob and I.
3. Tiny Probabilities: Why Are They So Hard to Escape?
Saddam and I.
Taking Tiny Risks.
A Million-to-One Shot, Doc, Million to One!
Monsieur Poisson and the Mysterious Number 37.
Clumps in Space.
4. Backward Probabilities: The Reverend Bayes to Our Rescue.
Driving Miss Daisy.
Bayes, Balls, and Boys (and Girls).
Bayes and My Green Card.
Objection Your Honor.
5. Beyond Probabilities: What to Expect.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait.
Expect the Unexpected.
Size Matters (and Length, and Age).
6. Inevitable Probabilities: Two Fascinating Mathematical Results.
Alea Iacta Est, Over and Over.
Even-Steven? The Law Misunderstood.
Coin Tosses and Freeway Congestion.
Let's Get Serious.
Bells and Bread.
How a Toronto Quincunx Changed My Life.
7. Gambling Probabilities: Why Donald Trump Is Richer than You.
Roulette: A Classy Way to Waste Your Money.
Craps: Not so Dicey After All.
Blackjack: Money for Mnemonics.
Math for Losers.
Win Money and Lose Friends.
8. Guessing Probabilities: Enter the Statisticians.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Beautiful Lies?
4 out of 10 Like the President 19 Times out of 20.
Polls Gone Wild.
The Lawsuit and the Lurker.
Football Players and Geyser Eruptions.
Snooping in the Abbot's Garden.
9. Faking Probabilities: Computer Simulation.
Mahogany Dice and Modular Arithmetic.
Random and Not-So-Random Digits.
Number One Is Number One.
Is Random Really Random?
"…the book will have much appeal to mathematics majors, who may enjoy reading it before, during, or after an undergraduate probability course." (Mathematical Reviews, 2008d)
"…interesting vignettes, excellent problems, and good ideas for presenting concepts…succeeds in its goal to help the reader think more clearly about probabilities." (Mathematics Teacher, October 2007)
"…a very useful and valuable book…" (CHOICE, June 2007)
"...an engaging writing style and clever examples that make for a fine addition to the popular literature on probability." (MAA Reviews, December 15, 2006)