This is a collection of over 200 stories of amazing coincidence and an exploration of the mystery and mathematics of synchronicity.
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...
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.
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.Read more ›