`A delightful addition to the stuff-you-think-you-know-that's-wrong genre, a la Freakonomics, Outliers, and The Black Swan' Kirkus
The world is filled with curious facts: intelligent women tend to marry men who are less intelligent. Students who get the highest scores in year-three generally get lower scores in year-four. Pilot trainees who are praised achieve worse results in their next exercise, while trainees who are shouted at perform better later on.
But it would be wrong to assume that smart women are more attracted to unintelligent men or that schools are failing their students, or that shouting is the best way to get results. The unifying reason for each of these curious cases is a concept called `regression to the mean' which explains how we can be easily misled by random chance in our daily lives. Luck can wreak all kinds of havoc in sports, business, education, politics, and everywhere in between so that we attach meaning to the meaningless and make ill-advised decisions.
In What the Luck? statistician Gary Smith and author
of Standard Deviations (The Times Book of the Week) explains how an understanding of luck changes the way we see the world so we can make better choices by using statistics to our advantage.
GARY SMITH is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He received his PhD in Economics from Yale University and taught as an Assistant Professor. He won two teaching awards and has written/co-authored) eighty academic papers and twelve books including Standard Deviations, also published by Duckworth. Find out more at: garysmithn.com