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The Book of Odds: From Lightning Strikes to Love at First Sight, the Odds of Everyday Life [Paperback]

Amram Shapiro , Louise Firth Campbell , Rosalind Wright

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Book Description

31 July 2014

From the popular Book of Odds website, this stylish and accessible reference book offers a fascinating peek at the probabilities that govern every aspect of human life

Did you know that your odds of dying from drowning are higher than the odds of meeting your mate on a blind date? That the odds a child has seen Internet porn are the same as the odds a person is right-handed? That nearly one in three adults believes in UFOs and nearly one in six has reported seeing one?

Drawing from a rigorously researched trove of more than 400,000 statements of probability, based on the most accurate and current data available, The Book of Odds is a graphic reference source for stats on the everyday, the odd, and the outrageous—from sex and marriage, health and disease, beliefs and fears, to wealth, addiction, entertainment, and civic life. What emerges from this colorful and captivating volume is a rich portrait of who we are and how we live today.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (31 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062060856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062060853
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 18.8 x 1.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,129,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description


The Book of Odds is filled with good news (you have a relatively good chance of experiencing love at first sight), mixed news (you are less likely to be killed by a co-worker than by a sibling), and bad news (don’t even ask). (Barnes & Noble, Editor's Recommendation)

The Book of Odds…shows the surprising probabilities governing everyday life, including how your sex life stacks up. (

An enticing read from cover to cover, the odds are great that you will enjoy this book. (Library Journal)

About the Author

Amram Shapiro is the founder and president of the Book of Odds. He is coauthor of Product Development, Success Through Product and Cycle-Time Excellence and has contributed to numerous journals including Research Technology Management and CFO magazine.

Louise Firth Campbell is the chief operating officer of the Book of Odds. She has more than twenty-five years' experience advising companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations on strategic business, technology, and marketing issues, as well as on public policy.

Rosalind Wright is the founding editor of the Book of Odds. She has published two novels: Rocking, which received an award from PEN International, and Veracruz, which received the top fiction prize from the Texas Institute of Letters.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What are the chances you'll like this book? 22 Jan 2014
By Michael Carrier - Published on
"The odds a man has lied about the number of sex partners he's had in order to protect his ego: 1 in 17." "When it comes to sex, most people think experience is a good thing--but they also think there can be too much of a good thing." But this book is not all about sex. Some of the other chapter headings include "Accidents and Death," "High School and College," and "Mind, Psyche, and Addiction." The graphics in this book are crisp and helpful. "The Book of Odds" is not intended for use as a required textbook at any collegiate level, but it is very well conceived and presented. It would probably be checked out of a college library more than any other non-required publication. If you're a fan of Guinness World Records, you will like this book. Oh, to answer my initial question: What are the chances you'll like this book? My totally unscientific answer is 1 in 1. --Michael Carrier
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Clever Book 22 Jan 2014
By Superfluous Man - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I happened to have the chance to attend the book's launch event at the Harvard Coop in January, where the authors spoke at length on their motivations and methodology. Quite a fascinating read and a handsome conversation starter for one's living room. It may just provoke a revaluation of your probabilistic values: I go about in (slightly elevated) fear of a lightning strike now, but am unperturbed at the thought of being bitten by a venomous snake!
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding: Intelligent, provoking, yet intelligible 21 Jan 2014
By John R. Moore, Jr. - Published on
I would recommend this book to anyone with some curiosity, particularly whose without a STEM background, e.g., liberal arts majors and high school students of all stripes. I used to teach statistics, probability theory, and other stuff like that at Purdue and Stanford. I wish this book had been available then, and I have recommended it to professors in several fields. [And particularly to HS teachers.] The book is brand new, and already I have been thanked for suggesting it.

For those WITH curiosity and afraid this might be too academic, download a sample read an excerpt and judge for yourself. You will find, as my wife has, that it is VERY approachable. In particular, it's not for Big Bang Theory characters. The Mensa crowd probably will criticize the book, while wishing secretly they had written it themselves.

Finally, I bought a Kindle version for my 12-year old grandson. Just did that, so I look forward to his review. [I would have done the same if he were a granddaughter. My 9-year granddaughter in the same family WILL read it if her brother likes it, so stay tuned for her take on the book.]
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Informative 20 Jan 2014
By David Minnix - Published on
This book is a lot of fun and will change your perspective about the world. Leave this book on your kitchen counter and pick it up while you have your morning coffee or leave it out during a party, it's guaranteed to get you thinking. The book is fast paced and every page has fascinating facts. I can't wait for the next installment!

**Warning** If you are a professional mathematician, statistician, nitpicker of society, etc you may find yourself missing the forest for the trees. This book is about asking interesting questions, not applied mathematics. You may have forgotten how to have fun, but the rest of us haven't.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enumerating Our Lives 13 Jan 2014
By William Struse - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Pythagoras, the mystic philosopher and mathematician, is quoted as saying, "All is number". Six centuries later Philo, that first century eccentric historian, opined that numbers are a reflection of a divine creative genius. No matter who you agree with, at least in terms of how we define ourselves in the modern age, Pythagoras' statement is closer to being true than at any point in the past twenty five hundred years.

I must say, I think Pythagoras would be thrilled because today we have a new way to see our lives through numbers, it's called the Book of Odds. The Book of Odds offers unique insights into human nature and our interaction with the world around us.

Did you know that 1 in 1.3 people (age 18-29) would "endure all things" for the person they loved or that 1 in 1.4 people believe in a personal God? Have you ever wondered about the odds of being struck by lighting or having a daughter who is left handed? What are the odds your next child will be boy or your husband thinks about his weight? You'll find the answer to these questions and many more in the fascinating Book of Odds.

Sometimes humorous, often sobering, always enlightening, the Book of Odds enumerates the age in which we live. If numbers are a means by which we choose to order and define ourselves in the modern age, then the Book of Odds is an epic which tells our story.
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