How to Explain Almost Everything: The Power of Probability in Everyday Life by Dr. Robert A. Hitlin
The purpose of this book is to change how you view the world. The effects of probability have always been there but you may not have been fully aware of them. As an organizing concept it explains almost everything that you do, the decisions that you need to make, and what happens to you. We all use probability throughout the day without being fully conscious of how and why we are doing it. Harnessing that understanding on a conscious level can increase your success and your happiness, and can improve your life.
The book is intended for people who realize that probability theory is an important subject, but who shy away from formulas and mathematical symbols. It is an explanation of the concepts behind probability theory in plain English. Einstein famously once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
It is possible to understand the basics of probability theory with nothing more than simple logic, our own experience, and the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide. The book explains the thinking behind those decisions and provides tools to improve how those choices are made.
This book ties together aspects of life that at first glance may not seem to be related at all. Gambling, surveys in elections, DNA evidence in court trials, life insurance, the Higgs boson, satellites falling on you, the stock market, point spreads in sports, punting (or not) in football, evolution, college admissions, marriage, law enforcement, bullets shot into the air, and many, many more things. Once you realize how probability affects everything, you may wonder why it never occurred to you before.
Modern mathematicians, scientists and philosophers have developed tools to understand and harness the apparent randomness in our lives in a way that manages risk, and gives us a degree of control over our lives that was unknown in pre-modern civilizations. After you become comfortable with these ideas and use them for a short while they will begin to seem quite obvious. Your decisions will begin to seem so obvious to you that you will wonder that you ever thought any other way, or that other people still do. You’ll begin to see everything in these terms, and your decisions will be easier, quicker and more successful. No one gets them all right, but there is a way to get more of them right than you used to.