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Chance: A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market, and Just About Everything Else

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In Chance, celebrated mathematician Amir D. Aczel turns his sights on probability theory—the branch of mathematics that measures the likelihood of a random event. He explains probability in clear, layman's terms, and shows its practical applications. What is commonly called luck has mathematical roots and in Chance, you'll learn to increase your odds of success in everythi In Chance, celebrated mathematician Amir D. Aczel turns his sights on probability theory—the branch of mathematics that measures the likelihood of a random event. He explains probability in clear, layman's terms, and shows its practical applications. What is commonly called luck has mathematical roots and in Chance, you'll learn to increase your odds of success in everything from true love to the stock market. For thousands of years, the twin forces of chance and mischance have beguiled humanity like none other. Why does fortune smile on some people, and smirk on others? What is luck, and why does it so often visit the undeserving? How can we predict the random events happening around us? Even better, how can we manipulate them? In this delightful and lucid voyage through the realm of the random, Dr. Aczel once again makes higher mathematics intelligible to us.


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In Chance, celebrated mathematician Amir D. Aczel turns his sights on probability theory—the branch of mathematics that measures the likelihood of a random event. He explains probability in clear, layman's terms, and shows its practical applications. What is commonly called luck has mathematical roots and in Chance, you'll learn to increase your odds of success in everythi In Chance, celebrated mathematician Amir D. Aczel turns his sights on probability theory—the branch of mathematics that measures the likelihood of a random event. He explains probability in clear, layman's terms, and shows its practical applications. What is commonly called luck has mathematical roots and in Chance, you'll learn to increase your odds of success in everything from true love to the stock market. For thousands of years, the twin forces of chance and mischance have beguiled humanity like none other. Why does fortune smile on some people, and smirk on others? What is luck, and why does it so often visit the undeserving? How can we predict the random events happening around us? Even better, how can we manipulate them? In this delightful and lucid voyage through the realm of the random, Dr. Aczel once again makes higher mathematics intelligible to us.

30 review for Chance: A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market, and Just About Everything Else

  1. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Actually enjoyed this book. In (mostly) understandable terms various ideas on probability are illustrated in an approachable manner. I'm not the least clever about maths & I found myself re-reading a few things but mainly because it was interesting and I wanted to comprehend different aspects better. If it wasn't a library book, I'd be wishing it was my own copy.. It seems like something I would want to go back & re-read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    conor

    Simplistic. Read in 2 hours and learned little.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Yu

    Useful introduction to probability, but I counted at least 5 typos.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This book has no organization. It is just a random collection of thoughts about randomness, so I guess it does live up to its title (in a way). Boring, uninspiring and shallow.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ken Madsen

    This is a delightful little book. The author teaches basic probability theory by using fun examples like the chances of landing a certain job or the number of monkeys it would take to write Hamlet. He also delves into a little bit of the history on how these various theories were derived and many of the inaccurate assumptions people held when trying to develop these theories. Some of the topics he covers: The independence of events Subjective probability The paradox of the Chevalier de Mere Pascal's This is a delightful little book. The author teaches basic probability theory by using fun examples like the chances of landing a certain job or the number of monkeys it would take to write Hamlet. He also delves into a little bit of the history on how these various theories were derived and many of the inaccurate assumptions people held when trying to develop these theories. Some of the topics he covers: The independence of events Subjective probability The paradox of the Chevalier de Mere Pascal's Triangle Bayes Theory - a proof of God's existence The Normal Curve If you know nothing on the topic of probability, this is a great first book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brunobzrr

    A good introduction to probabilities. It's useful find out books teaching the same subject in different approaches. So that practical approach was a great strength. I made notes and of course I won't forget the funniest examples.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ensiform

    The author, a mathematician and author of The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention that Changed the World, explores real-life applications of probability in a few short and very lucid chapters, from the toss of a coin to the draw of a card to the de Finetti game to standard deviation to Bayes’s Theorem (which I cannot understand at all). It serves as both an engaging review of probability theory and an investigation of what mathematicians are still learning. Every aspect of the book is charming, The author, a mathematician and author of The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention that Changed the World, explores real-life applications of probability in a few short and very lucid chapters, from the toss of a coin to the draw of a card to the de Finetti game to standard deviation to Bayes’s Theorem (which I cannot understand at all). It serves as both an engaging review of probability theory and an investigation of what mathematicians are still learning. Every aspect of the book is charming, from gambling odds to the probabilities of sharing a birthday with a group of other people. I was especially intrigued by Aczel’s scientific explanation of how people really can have nothing but good or bad luck. Informative and readable; I only wished some of the chapters were a bit more fully explained.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    A short book containing the obvious examples that dispel our innate notion of the likelihood of events. The birthday one is always an illuminating example. But perhaps my favorite is one I had thought about quite a bit from going to so many bachelor parties at casinos (what's up with that?); coin-flipping as it relates to roulette! I remember eating sushi while heavily contemplating my likelihood of winning back my bachelor party expenditures. Ask me about the strategy sometime!

  9. 4 out of 5

    AJ Dehany

    An amusing account of basic probability. I understand why it's not so suprising that if you get 23 people together there's a 50/50 chance they'll share a birthday, and it's not so amazing, though the notion that with 366 people makes a 100% chance/certainty is hard to accept. The Hamlet monkey typists are here, and gamblers, lovers and brokers. Coincidence in general is commendably dispensed with. Not sure I fully understand Bayes's theorem yet. Fun little book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Boone Graham

    Picked this up because I found it by chance at the library (it was in the space section). I found the cover design and title very attractive and, based on what I found inside, I'm glad took it home. Turned me on to some neat math concepts, chipped away some superstitions and made me giggle. I jumped ahead to the Love part after a while and nibbled my way out of it. I'll give it another go if I happen upon it again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Turi

    I've had Chance sitting on my bookshelf for awhile, and threw it in to bring along on a whim. It's pretty much basic statistics, clearly and interestingly explained, with real-like examples. While the equations get kind of hard to follow after awhile, the chapters are pretty short, and it's not to hard to keep interested. Funnily enough, one of the chapters mentions Pascal's Triangle, which Julien noticed on the wall of a MAX station in Portland, and somehow Mich didn't recognize (shame...)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nick Stengel

    Aczel is one of the best science writers I know of. His ability to present really complicated subjects clearly extends to this book, where he boils down dozens of statistical and probabilistic equations into a few paragraphs each. Usually, I just take the ease of his presentations for granted, but because I have training in this field, I really appreciated his summations.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shek

    One of those short, general survey math books that correctly assumes the plumb math stupidity of its audience. The takeaway seems to be, "Isn't probability NEAT?" but I was still fairly easily conquered once it got into multiple function equations. "P(A given B) = P(B given A) x P(A)/P(B given A) x P(A) + P(B given not A) x P(not A)? Hey, if you say so, smart guy!"

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vilém Zouhar

    I can't believe someone actually made the effort to typeset, print and distribute this. You can except 18 below-the-average chapters where the author tries to copy the most mediocre examples from basic probablity theory and the game theory. Hugely dissppointed.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy

    Quick easy read with a few problems to test out. I saw some bad reviews but personally found the book useful. I was looking for an easy overview and that's what I got. Why do things happen in 3s? Safety of nuclear power plants? Aczel had some practical answers.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    The book has a lot of neat factoids, but it was very loosly strung together and not laymen enough for many people I know. This book might just belong on the coffee table for people to thumb through as it has little games and such you can ramble with friends about.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Basically a watered down textbook on probability theory, but pretty interesting if you're into that and like gambling and games of chance, which I am. Has a lot of cool facts that you can bust out at your next lame dinner party.

  18. 5 out of 5

    steven

    Too general / simplistic

  19. 4 out of 5

    Trent Gillespie

    A great book that looks at probability and how it applies to the real world, using math to calculate outcomes and basic common sense to predict trends. As a Math lover, I found this one fun.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexsis

    This is a nice little intro to Probability applied to different areas of life. It includes "The Birthday Problem."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Converse

    Covers some aspects of probabliltyI haven't seen in other popular books. Section in back about particular forms of gambling

  22. 5 out of 5

    P.K.

    This book is really about mathematics and probability. Makes me miss my statistics class. Honestly.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Theken

    good, quick read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    David Tybor

    Meh. His misinterpretation of a 95% confidence interval really bothered me. At least it will be a nice HW question to give to my Stats students.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Serval Spots

    A basic primer for those unfamiliar with probability. I read the 2004 edition which had some annoying errors (in both equations and text) that have hopefully been corrected in subsequent editions.

  26. 5 out of 5

    William

    This book is an excellent review of probabilities and chance. Its a great read for those that want to renew their understanding of chance for real life.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Nice foundations of probability theory.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cirque

    I feel like a giant noob putting this here. Realllly basic popular-mathematics about probability, I learned alot!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    Fascinating book on applied statistical theory.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Muhammad

    I didn't like this book. The topics discussed very vaguely and it often bored me while reading through most things. From all the books I've read by Amir D. Aczel, this is my least liked book.

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