- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Profile Books; Main edition (30 May 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846686202
- ISBN-13: 978-1846686207
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 354,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Norm Chronicles: Stories and numbers about danger Paperback – 30 May 2013
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A very funny book ... this is one of those maths books that claims to be self-help, and on the evidence presented here, we are in dire need of it (Telegraph)
Praise for Joe, the Only Boy in the World:
'From this careful, serious book emerges a man with a quick wit and far-seeing eye for what makes life so peculiar ... Joe stands out as a work of rare enlightenment(Seven)
A witty, insightful, educational and wholly original book - and a wonderful achievement. Read it! (Tim Harford, author of "The Undercover Economist" and presenter of "More or Less" on BBC Radio 4 2013-05-08)
Fascinating (John Harding Daily Mail 2013-06-14)
A fast-paced, whizz-bang style (Iain Finlayson The Times 2013-06-08)
Helping people make sense of the barrage of confusing (and often misrepresented) statistics that riddle every day is a noble goal. Making the process enjoyable is a real achievement. (The Economist 2013-06-22)
The statistics are presented with admirable lucidity, using an ingenious method devised by the authors, and may serve to reassure more neurotic readers ... Witty and illuminating, The Norm Chronicles is essential reading for anyone wanting to know whether they should try skydiving, or accept that third glass of wine (Orlando Bird Financial Times 2013-07-13)
Illuminating ... eye-catching ... a real achievement (The Economist 2013-06-22)
A far from average book: the real story behind the statistics on risk, chance and choice.See all Product description
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Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter delineate many comparisons of hazards that put life and risk profiles into realistic terms. Winning the jackpot on the national lottery is 14 million to one. The odds are similar from dying minutes after buying the ticket. This no way denigrates the lifestyle improvements that can be made that are known and evidence based. It is a lesson of how percentages, statistics and scares can be manipulated without analysing the real figures. In the end, 'you pays yer money and takes yer chance'. Entertainingly written and full of factual and humorous notations, it is somehow comforting to know what the 'true' odds are. The authors extend their findings across many fields. Recommended and thoroughly enjoyable. It may sound daunting but is surprisingly an easy read thanks to the publishing team. (Kindle not paperback presentation).
Spiegelgalter and Blastland expose many fallacies, particularly in the field of the medicine where the statistical evidence for statins and the many tabloid health stories are called into suspect. Indeed I was rather amazed that a CT scan was the equivalent of being 2.5km from the centre of a atomic bomb. Furthermore the delusional dangers of flying are compared with the statistical evidence of cycling down to the local shops or riding on your motorbike.
This book has a host of information and references that is sure to stir your interest in the subject and indeed will make you question the facts and figures thrown at in headlines days in and day out. Its also nice to read a book written by someone from the UK where many of the stats and subject matter are more relevant to UK readers. Great book.
My perception is that many people overestimate the risks of many things and underestimate the risks of things which they regard as safe. Health screening is a typical example of the latter and there are some interesting charts and diagrams in this book which appear to show that health screening may expose you to greater risks than not being screened.
If you want to know whether there is a risk of being hit by an asteroid, having something, or someone fall on you out of an aeroplane, dying in a plane crash, receiving a fatal dose of radiation, being killed or injured in a road accident, developing cancer or being adversely affected by the mobile phone mast at the end of the road then this is the book for you. But you might end up surprised and disturbed by many of the figures.
The book shows how human beings can incorrectly assess risk because of the fear factor. We find it difficult to separate our emotions from the real facts and figures. Headline news of four stabbings in a small area on the same day provoke alarm and fear and the perception that violent crime is increasing when in fact it is falling and the four cases are a statistical anomaly.
The book is written in an amusing and light hearted way but it does have a serious message to convey - that we need to look at the real figures behind the headline scare stories before we pack our bags and move into a nuclear bunker. The book has notes on each chapter and an index.
This book does the same with life choices and the associated risk, when are you most at risk of dying? how likely you are likely to fall out of the sky when you do. There is a lot of text, very good interesting examples and touches on the reasons we make our decisions. We may fear being hit by an astoriod, an irrational fear some may say because the probability is so low but if it actually does happen it is fairly terminal so maybe. Shame if you are the 1 in 1400 Million (made up number).
A good book well written, I got the kindle version I am tempted to buy the hard copy so I can flick though it.
ps you don't need a degree in maths to read it
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