Catalogue


Probabilities : the little numbers that rule our lives /
Peter Olofsson.
imprint
Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley, 2007.
description
ix, 267 p.
ISBN
0470040017 (cloth)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley, 2007.
isbn
0470040017 (cloth)
catalogue key
6033684
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Peter Olofsson is currently a Visiting Associate Professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-06-01:
Olofsson (Tulane Univ.) offers a very useful and valuable book for all interested in learning about uncertainty. Written in a pleasant and entertaining style, it explores probabilities that govern our daily lives. It is intended to provide readers with a clear understanding of the mathematics of chance and uncertainty. In this complex modern world, we constantly face decision making under uncertainty, hence it becomes imperative to have some knowledge of probability. A salient, attractive feature of this book is that every topic is introduced by Olofsson, relying on interesting real-life situations, using minimal mathematics, and thus widening its appeal to a very large audience. The material is in nine chapters; the first includes some knowledge about probabilities, their calculations, and interpretations. Remaining chapters discuss how probabilities affect our daily lives, using court trials, medical trials, casinos, opinion polls, Mendel's inheritance theory, and German tanks; readers are also exposed to random variables and their expected values, random walks, Chebyshev's inequality, and standard deviations. By using numerous fascinating, illustrative examples, the author introduces fundamental concepts of probability in a simple, easy-to-understand style. Useful index; no references. A great book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels and all college libraries. D. V. Chopra Wichita State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
.,."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)
"...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)
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2007
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
What are the chances? Find out in this entertaining exploration of probabilities in our everyday lives "If there is anything you want to know, or remind yourself, about probabilities, then look no further than this comprehensive, yet wittily written and enjoyable, compendium of how to apply probability calculations in real-world situations." -Keith Devlin, Stanford University, National Public Radio's "Math Guy" and author of The Math Gene and The Math Instinct "A delightful guide to the sometimes counterintuitive discipline of probability. Olofsson points out major ideas here, explains classic puzzles there, and everywhere makes free use of witty vignettes to instruct and amuse." -John Allen Paulos, Temple University, author of Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper "Beautifully written, with fascinating examples and tidbits of information. Olofsson gently and persuasively shows us how to think clearly about the uncertainty that governs our lives." -John Haigh, University of Sussex, author of Taking Chances: Winning with Probability From probable improbabilities to regular irregularities, Probabilities: The Little Numbers That Rule Our Lives investigates the often-surprising effects of risk and chance in our everyday lives. With examples ranging from WWII espionage to the O. J. Simpson trial, from bridge to blackjack, from Julius Caesar to Jerry Seinfeld, the reader is taught how to think straight in a world of randomness and uncertainty. Throughout the book, readers learn: Why it is not that surprising for someone to win the lottery twice How a faulty probability calculation forced an innocent woman to spend three years in prison How to place bets if you absolutely insist on gambling How a newspaper turned an opinion poll into one of the greatest election blunders in history Educational, eloquent, and entertaining, Probabilities: The Little Numbers That Rule Our Lives is the ideal companion for anyone who wants to obtain a better understanding of the mathematics of chance.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
What are the chances? Find out in this entertaining exploration of probabilities in our everyday lives "If there is anything you want to know, or remind yourself, about probabilities, then look no further than this comprehensive, yet wittily written and enjoyable, compendium of how to apply probability calculations in real-world situations." --Keith Devlin, Stanford University, National Public Radio's "Math Guy" and author of The Math Gene and The Math Instinct "A delightful guide to the sometimes counterintuitive discipline of probability. Olofsson points out major ideas here, explains classic puzzles there, and everywhere makes free use of witty vignettes to instruct and amuse." --John Allen Paulos, Temple University, author of Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper "Beautifully written, with fascinating examples and tidbits of information. Olofsson gently and persuasively shows us how to think clearly about the uncertainty that governs our lives." --John Haigh, University of Sussex, author of Taking Chances: Winning with Probability From probable improbabilities to regular irregularities, Probabilities: The Little Numbers That Rule Our Lives investigates the often-surprising effects of risk and chance in our everyday lives. With examples ranging from WWII espionage to the O. J. Simpson trial, from bridge to blackjack, from Julius Caesar to Jerry Seinfeld, the reader is taught how to think straight in a world of randomness and uncertainty. Throughout the book, readers learn: * Why it is not that surprising for someone to win the lottery twice * How a faulty probability calculation forced an innocent woman to spend three years in prison * How to place bets if you absolutely insist on gambling * How a newspaper turned an opinion poll into one of the greatest election blunders in history Educational, eloquent, and entertaining, Probabilities: The Little Numbers That Rule Our Lives is the ideal companion for anyone who wants to obtain a better understanding of the mathematics of chance.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. v
Computing Probabilities: Right Ways and Wrong Waysp. 1
The Probabilistp. 1
The Probabilist's Toys and Languagep. 4
The Probabilist's Rule Bookp. 9
Independence, Airplanes, and Russian Peasantsp. 14
Conditional Probability, Swedish TV, and British Courtsp. 20
Liar, Liarp. 24
Total Probability, Used Cars, and Tennis Matchesp. 28
Combinatorics, Pastrami, and Poetryp. 33
The von Trapps and the Binomial Distributionp. 37
Final Wordp. 43
Surprising Probabilities: When Intuition Strugglesp. 45
Boys, Girls, Aces, and Colored Cardsp. 45
Goats and Gloatsp. 50
Happy Birthdayp. 52
Typical Atypicalitiesp. 57
Strategies, Shopping, and Spaghetti Westernsp. 61
The British Snob and Ip. 65
Final Wordp. 70
Tiny Probabilities: Why Are They So Hard to Escape?p. 71
Probable Improbabilitiesp. 71
Saddam and Ip. 75
Taking Tiny Risksp. 80
A Million-to-One Shot, Doc, Million to One!p. 82
Monsieur Poisson and the Mysterious Number 37p. 84
Clumps in Spacep. 89
Final Wordp. 91
Backward Probabilities: The Reverend Bayes to Our Rescuep. 93
Driving Miss Daisyp. 93
Bayes, Balls, and Boys (and Girls)p. 96
Bayes and My Green Cardp. 98
Objection Your Honorp. 103
Final Wordp. 112
Beyond Probabilities: What to Expectp. 115
Great Expectationsp. 115
Good Things Come to Those Who Waitp. 123
Expect the Unexpectedp. 129
Size Matters (and Length, and Age)p. 132
Deviant Behaviorp. 138
Final Wordp. 143
Inevitable Probabilities: Two Fascinating Mathematical Resultsp. 145
Alea Iacta Est, Over and Overp. 145
Even-Steven? The Law Misunderstoodp. 149
Coin Tosses and Freeway Congestionp. 155
Let's Get Seriousp. 162
Bells and Breadp. 166
How a Toronto Quincunx Changed My Lifep. 171
Final Wordp. 173
Gambling Probabilities: Why Donald Trump Is Richer than Youp. 175
French Lettersp. 175
Roulette: A Classy Way to Waste Your Moneyp. 179
Craps: Not so Dicey After Allp. 184
Blackjack: Money for Mnemonicsp. 187
Math for Losersp. 193
Win Money and Lose Friendsp. 200
Final Wordp. 210
Guessing Probabilities: Enter the Statisticiansp. 211
Lies, Damned Lies, and Beautiful Lies?p. 211
4 out of 10 Like the President 19 Times out of 20p. 215
Polls Gone Wildp. 220
The Lawsuit and the Lurkerp. 225
Football Players and Geyser Eruptionsp. 230
Snooping in the Abbot's Gardenp. 237
Final Wordp. 242
Faking Probabilities: Computer Simulationp. 245
Mahogany Dice and Modular Arithmeticp. 245
Random and Not-So-Random Digitsp. 252
Number One Is Number Onep. 253
Is Random Really Random?p. 256
Final Wordp. 261
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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