David Hand

The Improbability Principle
  • The Improbability Principle

  • Why is it that incredibly unlikely phenomena actually happen quite regularly and why should we, in fact, expect such things to happen? Here, in this highly original book - aimed squarely at anyone with an interest in coincidences, probability or gambling - eminent statistician David Hand answers this question by weaving together various strands of probability into a unified explanation, which he calls the improbability principle.

    This is a book that will appeal not only to those who love stories about startling coincidences and extraordinarily rare events, but also to those who are interested in how a single bold idea links areas as diverse as gambling, the weather, airline disasters and creative writing as well as the origin of life and even the universe. The Improbability Principle will change your perspective on how the world works – and tell you what the Bible code and Shakespeare have in common, how to win the lottery, why Apple's song shuffling was made less random to seem more random. Oh and why lightning does in fact strike twice...

DAVID HAND is an emeritus professor of mathematics and senior research investigator at Imperial College, London, a former president of the Royal Statistical Society and chief scientific advisor to Winton Capital, Europe’s most successful algorithmic trading hedge fund. He is the author of seven books including two popular titles (The Information Generation: How Data Rule Our World (Oneworld, 2006) and Statistics: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2008)). He is also the coauthor or editor/coeditor of several other academic titles, has published some 300 scientific papers and written popular articles for publications ranging from Mathematics Today to the Guardian.