Blythe put me onto this book. I had seen it about but, like her, did not read it as I have read quite a bit about probability over the years. But a refresher is always welcome.
It has good discussions of bias and other topics such as: The Monty Hall Problem and its storied past; Pascal's triangle and what I would call "poker odds"; Bayes' Theorem by which we live our lives; the law of large numbers (essentially a discussion of sample size); the gambler's fallacy and the "hot hand"; false positives and negatives; Bernoulli sequences and the normal curve; and chaos.
There were interesting discussions of how doctors and other professionals often get the odds (perhaps of you dying) terribly wrong. I also enjoyed the discussion of randomness and its role in success. Essentially, the argument is that top dogs in movies, song, business and politics got to where they are in large part by sheer dumb luck. That would include Bill Gates who got what he got by luck. I would go further and say that it is also true for bank heads, mutual fund managers, and politicians. Especially politicians.
One experiment made me smile. A group of people went to different hospitals complaining of hearing voices. They were promptly admitted to the psych ward. A day later, their fake symptoms disappeared. And yet all were kept in the ward for about 20 days. If they wrote in a diary, they were noted to exhibit "writing behavior". As they wrote that, I guess the irony was lost on them. After the fact, each hospital was informed of their error, denied it could have happened at their institution and then bowed to the evidence. Nyuk nyuk.
I was also happy to finally read what I have known and argued for 40 years… people who think that they are drinking "high-class" vodka are victims of marketing and their own gullibility.
A good intro to probability. Well written by someone who is well aware that the foibles he ascribes to others apply to him as well.
Lee Moller is a life-long skeptic and atheist and the author of The God Con.