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Beyond Coincidence Hardcover – 4 Mar 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; Reprint edition (4 Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840465344
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840465341
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"A superbly-crafted compilation of the most celebrated examples of the genre...marvellous" -- Worchester Evening News

"Addictive" -- The List

"An entertaining and intelligent study" -- Mail on Sunday

"An intriguing investigation of the cosmos's most improbable events...a first-rate book" -- Observer

"Beyond Concidence has already caused many an overlong stay in the toilet" -- David Baddiel

"Extraordinary stories" -- Daily Mail

"Pretty amazing" -- Simon Hoggart, The Guardian

From the Author

The coincidence project began as a series for Radio 4 and snowballed. The reason was that as soon as we started examining coincidences we became inundated with them. It wasn't just coincidence stories, though we soon had plenty of those; it was coincidences themselves, whose extraordinary correlations began crashing together about our own heads. Books opened at pages describing coincidence stories, people we rang were in the middle of conversations about coincidence, key words of things we discussed in the car would appear on passing billboards...

Coincidences cluster around preoccupations and no doubt we were obsessed, but when one day, while stopping people in the street to ask their birth dates as part of a probability experiment, we bumped into a man who had dedicated his whole life to synchronicity, it began to feel as though we could make them happen at will. Instead of writing books we should be buying lottery tickets!

Remembering that you're 20 times more likely to be hit by lightning than to win the lottery, we got on with the book. It's a small world, but as comedian Arnold Brown says, "I wouldn't want to paint it."

Long odds make coincidences all the more intriguing. It's the way events and objects hone in dramatically and sometimes mischievously on the very thing you are thinking about that beguiles first of all, yet as we were soon to discover, this is also a subject with enormous cultural, scientific and mathematical fascination. Not to mention coincidence jokes...


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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ben on 19 Mar. 2005
Format: Paperback
The second half of the book is full of anecdotes that describe accounts of strange coincidences. There is no way to know whether the events are true but they are quite good to talk about in the pub.

The first half is full of half-baked philosophy, not very deep and a bit like a scrap book of ideas but if you are new to them you may find it interesting. Or not, if you think C G Yung is a bit of a looney.
Quite an easy read, perhaps for youngsters as well. And because of the author's connections with Radio 4 (the best radio station in the universe) it is good pedigree stuff.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By mfl VINE VOICE on 7 May 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mixing tales of the truly extraordinary with the truly banal, beyond coincidence is a fun book that occasionally tries to take itself too seriously.
It introduces mathematical equations, relays between atomic particles and the mystery of connected universes and parallel worlds. Plimmer and King use a light brush with some deeply complex academic and scientific issues in an attempt to solve a plethora of lucky, chanceful meetings and events that colourfully pepper the book.
The section on probability is illuminating; the supposed odds for certain events occurring are both astronomical – in the millions and billions to one such as wining the lottery; and highly likely – 100 to one such as being killed in a road accident. How many of us like to think we’ll win the lottery one day compared to considering the risk in using the car?
The book goes on to explain how the complex and interconnected world we live in will inevitably throw up freakish and seemingly unlikely coincidences at some point in everyone’s life. Whether this draws us to worship at the temple of fate and destiny or one takes a more sober view, when coincidence strikes it never fails to amaze, excite and turn into a tale to tell down the pub.
So a rewarding read for part one of the book. Where Beyond Coincidence often fails to amaze and excite itself is in part two. This is merely a long, long, sloppy list of coincidence stories most of which are trite and everyday – she went to a party she didn’t want to go to and met the man of her dreams who also didn’t want to be there and happened to live in the rented flat she was going to rent beforehand – so what!
Disappointingly this turns what was a semi-scientific dip into coffee table material.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JoParky56 on 25 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure why some reveiw's of this book are so poor ... what did you expect ?? It does what it clearly say's on the tin ... with over 200 stories of strange, funny, lucky & tragic coincidences there's enough to keep anyone amused for a couple of hours ... i especially liked the farmer called McDonald story ... so easy to please !! A nice in-betweener with at least a handful of stories that you'll want to pass on.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Doug on 5 April 2004
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed about the first half of this book. It introduced a few accounts of coincidences but only to illustrate a mathematical or scientific reason. This was truly fascinating and has really given me a new perspective on issues of 'fate', 'destiny', 'luck', and exactly what coincidence really is, as well as the varying attitudes of people to such events.
However the second half became a compilation of 'interesting' coincidences, grouped by a vague subject. There are many books and websites that do this already, and in fact this book credits those mentioned to such sources. It almost felt as though the book was being padded out.
Overall I was left extremely disappointed. Not that the accounts of coincidence aren't fascinating or curious, merely that such a promising beginning became so banal. I wouldn't want to put someone off buying this book, but do be aware that it isn't maths and science throughout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Bedford on 21 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting, easy to read and entertaining. Some of the examples are unbelievable, I would recommend it and a must read for everyone.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "upthedale" on 9 Mar. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Few books leave me with a smile on my face everytime I pick them up to read just a few pages. This manages it. It really does make the reader wonder if there is something controlling events around us. Over 100 pages of coincidence 'stories' including chance meetings, strange deaths etc. One example is a 10 year old girl releases a balloon only for it to land 140 miles away in the garden of a girl with the same name and date of birth! Truth can be stranger then fiction....
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