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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 4 March 2015
The Norm chronicles attempts to make a discussion of the statistics of risk interesting by embedding it in 'stories''.
The discussion of statistics IS interesting, but the 'stories' are dire! For the stories to work, they'd have to be either amusing or to-the-point: and they are neither.
Based on this statistical sample of one, Statisticians should stick to Statistics.
Having said that, the factual parts are well written and enlightening, so I'd suggest that you read it anyway and just skim past the first parts of the chapters.
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on 14 September 2013
This book could have been hugely much better had not the author been convinced that his readers had very short attention spans and needed to be jollied along with little stories about the characters - Norm who is average, Prudence who is prudent and a drip and some other bloke - I tended to skim read the story bits - who is reckless. Blastland fancies himself as a novelist but the dialogue when included is atrocious. He clearly decided that girls were sissies at about the age of seven and hasn't changed his views. However, the concept of the micro-life and the micro-death is really interesting and allows you to look at the comparative risk of say not taking exercise with riding a motor bike or drinking too much. Certainly worth reading if you can put up with the characters.
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on 2 November 2013
This book was much less interesting than I had expected. I would get to the end of a chapter and think: What was that about, I wonder? It's not that the English is difficult to follow, more that it doesn't lead anywhere very interesting. The book doesn't seem to amount to much more than "Risk and probability are much more complicated that you might imagine" - endlessly repeated. I hope I'm not being unfair, I gave up half-way through and took it to a charity shop.
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on 3 July 2013
Not only is this a pleasure to read the first time around, I will return again and again for examples and anecdotes of how differently we humans think (or don't think) about our lifestyle choices and their associated risks. Strongly recommended for people who want to better understand the barrage of probabilities/odds/predictions we read and hear in everyday life.
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on 14 October 2013
In a world full of 'elf and Safety and paranoia about keeping our kids safe, this is a refreshing look at the real odds and probability of bad things happening to us. Its written in an entertaining and accessible way too, so have to recommend it.
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on 10 March 2014
This is a special and unusual book, written by a risk management expert and livened up by a journalist who has invented 3 characters, - Prudence, Norm and Kevin, at different points along the risk spectrum. Surveying many aspects of life and bringing us the truth about the risks in each, the book also cleverly compares these using a common currency of a "micro-mort". For anyone who values rationality and objectivity in the confusion of media claims built on badly designed "research", this is enlightening reading and highly recommended
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on 15 November 2014
This book discusses and presents a number of statistics relating to human life, and often shows how we mis-guess the true stats. Some of the information presented has considerable novelty. However, the authors' desire to popularise this by linking the information to three "typical" people: Norm (the normal one); Prudence (the careful one; geddit?) and Kelvin (the reckless one) becomes irritating quite quickly. I would have preferred the discussion of the statistics of life without this annoying attempt at personalising the information.
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on 21 October 2015
A fascinating read that has helped me to think more critically about the facts presented in the media. It's mathematical, but not so much so that non-mathematicians will be unable to enjoy it. The characterisations are excellent. One of my most recommended books of the past couple of years.
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on 30 August 2013
So far as this book is concerned , yes, it is worth the risk. This is a brilliant introduction to the probabilities of different risks and is essential reading for today when the media constantly misinterpret the facts on different kinds of risks.
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on 2 November 2013
This book is not meant as self-help, but it has calmed me down a great deal. I've been able to rationalise my worries, particularly about my son.

Personally I could have done without the cast of stereotyped characters - Norm, Prudence and Kelvin. But how could I not give the book five stars when it's had a positive effect on my life?
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