Extended Audio Sample

Download The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day, by David J. Hand Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David J. Hand Narrator: Christopher Rice Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
Regular Price: $20.99 Download
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $15.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Download learn more )

In The Improbability Principle, the renowned statistician David J. Hand argues that extraordinarily rare events are anything but. In fact, they’re commonplace. Not only that, we should all expect to experience a miracle roughly once every month. But Hand is no believer in superstitions, prophecies, or the paranormal.

His definition of “miracle” is thoroughly rational. No mystical or supernatural explanation is necessary to understand why someone is lucky enough to win the lottery twice, or is destined to be hit by lightning three times and still survive. All we need, Hand argues, is a firm grounding in a powerful set of laws: the laws of inevitability, of truly large numbers, of selection, of the probability lever, and of near enough.

Together, these constitute Hand’s groundbreaking Improbability Principle. And together, they explain why we should not be so surprised to bump into a friend in a foreign country, or to come across the same unfamiliar word four times in one day. Hand wrestles with seemingly less explicable questions as well: what the Bible and Shakespeare have in common, why financial crashes are par for the course, and why lightning does strike the same place (and the same person) twice. Along the way, he teaches us how to use the Improbability Principle in our own lives—including how to cash in at a casino and how to recognize when a medicine is truly effective.

An irresistible adventure into the laws behind “chance” moments and a trusty guide for understanding the world and universe we live in, The Improbability Principle will transform how you think about serendipity and luck, whether it’s in the world of business and finance or you’re merely sitting in your backyard, tossing a ball into the air and wondering where it will land.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Very engaging…The statistician Samuel S. Wilks (paraphrasing H. G. Wells) said that ‘statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.’ With that laudable goal in mind, The Improbability Principle should be, in all probability, required reading for us all.”

    Washington Post

  • “Lively and lucid…An intensely useful (as well as a remarkably entertaining) book…It can transform the way you read the newspaper, that’s for sure.”


  • “[Hand] leads readers through this familiar land of probability and statistics with wit and charm, all the while explaining in layman’s terms the laws that govern it…We predict there’s a very good chance you’ll enjoy this book.”


  • The Improbability Principle is an elegant, astoundingly clear, and enjoyable combination of subtle statistical thinking and real-world events. David J. Hand really does explain why ‘surprising’ things will happen and why statistics matters.”

    Andrew Dilnot, coauthor of The Numbers Game: The Commonsense Guide to Understanding Numbers in the News, in Politics, and in Life

  • “In my experience, it is very rare to find a book that is both erudite and entertaining. Yet The Improbability Principle is such a book. Surely this cannot be due to chance alone!”

    Hal R. Varian, chief economist at Google and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley

  • “Considering that The Improbability Principle comes from the keyboard of David J. Hand, it was perhaps inevitable that it would be a certain winner!”

    John Pullinger, president of the Royal Statistical Society

  • “Written by one of the world’s preeminent statisticians, The Improbability Principle provides you with a sense of what chance and improbability really mean, and engenders an understanding that uncertainty rests at the core of nature. I highly recommend this book.”

    Joseph M. Hilbe , president of the International Astrostatistics Association and ambassador for the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author

David J. Hand is an emeritus professor of mathematics and a senior research investigator at Imperial College London. He is the former president of the Royal Statistical Society and the chief scientific adviser to Winton Capital Management, one of Europe’s most successful algorithmic-trading hedge funds. He is the author of several books, including The Information Generation: How Data Rules Our World and Statistics: A Very Short Introduction, and has published more than three hundred scientific papers. He lives in London, England.

About the Narrator

Christopher Rice published his bestselling debut novel, A Density of Souls, when he was twenty-two. By thirty, Rice had published four New York Times bestsellers, received a Lambda Literary Award, and been declared one of People magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive.” The son of legendary author Anne Rice, he has published short fiction in the anthologies Thriller and Los Angeles Noir. His writing has been featured in the Advocate, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and on Salon.com. With his friend and cohost Eric Shaw Quinn, Rice recently launched his own internet radio broadcast, The Dinner Party Show. He also recently served on the board of directors of the West Hollywood Library Fund, which helped to secure funds for a new state-of-the-art library in the heart of the city he now calls home.