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Probability & Statistics

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  1. 7.3 hrs • 6/1/2016 • Unabridged

    What are the chances? This is the question we ask ourselves when we encounter the strangest and most seemingly impossible coincidences, like the woman who won the lottery four times or the fact that Lincoln's dreams foreshadowed his own assassination. But, when we look at coincidences mathematically, the odds are a lot better than any of us would have thought. In Fluke, mathematician Joseph Mazur takes a second look at the seemingly improbable, sharing with us an entertaining guide to the most surprising moments in our lives. He takes us on a tour of the mathematical concepts of probability, such as the law of large numbers and the birthday paradox, and combines these concepts with lively anecdotes of flukes from around the world. How do you explain finding your college copy of Moby Dick in a used bookstore on the Seine on your first visit to Paris? How can a jury be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that DNA found at the scene of a heinous crime did not get there by some fluke? Should we be surprised if strangers named Maria and Francisco, seeking each other in a hotel lobby, accidentally meet the wrong Francisco and the wrong Maria, another pair of strangers also looking for each other? As Mazur reveals, if there is any likelihood that something could happen, no matter how small, it is bound to happen to someone at some time. In Fluke, Mazur offers us proof of the inevitability of the sublime and the unexpected. He has written a book that will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered how all of the tiny decisions that happen in our lives add up to improbable wholes. A must for math enthusiasts and storytellers alike, Fluke helps us to understand the true nature of chance.

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    Fluke

    Read by Tim Andres Pabon
    7.3 hrs • 6/1/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    9.3 hrs • 6/1/2016 • Unabridged

    Did you know that baseball players whose names begin with the letter D are more likely to die young? Or that Asian Americans are most susceptible to heart attacks on the fourth day of the month? Or that drinking a full pot of coffee every morning will add years to your life, but one cup a day increases the risk of pancreatic cancer? All of these “facts” have been argued with a straight face by credentialed researchers and backed up with reams of data and convincing statistics. As Nobel Prize–winning economist Ronald Coase once cynically observed, “If you torture data long enough, it will confess.” Lying with statistics is a time-honored con. In Standard Deviations, economics professor Gary Smith walks us through the various tricks and traps that people use to back up their own crackpot theories. Sometimes, the unscrupulous deliberately try to mislead us. Other times, the well-intentioned are blissfully unaware of the mischief they are committing. Today, data is so plentiful that researchers spend precious little time distinguishing between good, meaningful indicators and total rubbish. Not only do others use data to fool us, we fool ourselves. With the breakout success of Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise, the once humdrum subject of statistics has never been hotter. Drawing on breakthrough research in behavioral economics by luminaries like Daniel Kahneman and Dan Ariely and taking to task some of the conclusions of Freakonomics author Steven D. Levitt, Standard Deviations demystifies the science behind statistics and makes it easy to spot the fraud all around.

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    Standard Deviations

    9.3 hrs • 6/1/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 3.0 hrs • 2/10/2016 • Unabridged

    Now available in audio for the first time! Darrell Huff’s celebrated classic How to Lie with Statistics is a straight-forward and engaging guide to understanding the manipulation and misrepresentation of information that could be lurking behind every graph, chart, and infographic. Originally published in 1954, it remains as relevant and necessary as ever in our digital world where information is king—and as easy to distort and manipulate as it is to access. A precursor to modern popular science books like Steven D. Levitt’s Freakonomics and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, Huff runs the gamut of every popularly used type of statistic, probes such things as the sample study, the tabulation method, the interview technique, or the way the results are derived from the figures, and points up the countless number of dodges which are used to full rather than to inform. Critically acclaimed by media outlets like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, How to Lie with Statistics stands as the go-to book for understanding the use of statistics by teachers and leaders everywhere.

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    How to Lie with Statistics

    3.0 hrs • 2/10/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 2.4 hrs • 2/3/2015 • Unabridged

    In this must-have for anyone who wants to better understand their love life, a mathematician pulls back the curtain and reveals the hidden patterns—from dating sites to divorce, sex to marriage—behind the rituals of love. The roller coaster of romance is hard to quantify; defining how lovers might feel from a set of simple equations is impossible. But that doesn’t mean that mathematics isn’t a crucial tool for understanding love.  Love, like most things in life, is full of patterns. And mathematics is ultimately the study of patterns—from predicting the weather to the fluctuations of the stock market, the movement of planets or the growth of cities. These patterns twist and turn and warp and evolve just as the rituals of love do. In The Mathematics of Love, Dr. Hannah Fry takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the patterns that define our love lives, applying mathematical formulas to the most common yet complex questions pertaining to love: What’s the chance of finding love? What’s the probability that it will last? How do online dating algorithms work, exactly? Can game theory help us decide who to approach in a bar? At what point in your dating life should you settle down? From evaluating the best strategies for online dating to defining the nebulous concept of beauty, Dr. Fry proves—with great insight, wit, and fun—that math is a surprisingly useful tool to negotiate the complicated, often baffling, sometimes infuriating, and always interesting mysteries of love.

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    The Mathematics of Love

    2.4 hrs • 2/3/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 7.4 hrs • 12/1/2014 • Unabridged

    A fascinating guided tour of the complex, fast-moving, and influential world of algorithms—what they are, why they’re such powerful predictors of human behavior, and where they’re headed next Algorithms exert an extraordinary level of influence on our everyday lives, from dating websites and financial trading floors, through to online retailing and internet searches. Google’s search algorithm is now a more closely guarded commercial secret than the recipe for Coca-Cola. Algorithms follow a series of instructions to solve a problem and will include a strategy to produce the best outcome possible from the options and permutations available. Used by scientists for many years and applied in a very specialized way, they are now increasingly employed to process the vast amounts of data being generated, in investment banks, in the movie industry where they are used to predict success or failure at the box office, and by social scientists and policy makers. What if everything in life could be reduced to a simple formula? What if numbers were able to tell us which partners we were best matched with—not just in terms of attractiveness, but for a long-term committed marriage? Or if they could say which films would be the biggest hits at the box office, and what changes could be made to those films to make them even more successful? Or even who is likely to commit certain crimes, and when? This may sound like the world of science fiction, but in fact it is just the tip of the iceberg in a world that is increasingly ruled by complex algorithms and neural networks. In The Formula, Luke Dormehl takes readers inside the world of numbers, asking how we came to believe in the all-conquering power of algorithms; introducing the mathematicians, artificial intelligence experts, and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are shaping this brave new world; and ultimately asking how we survive in an era where numbers can sometimes seem to create as many problems as they solve.

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    The Formula

    7.4 hrs • 12/1/14 • Unabridged
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  6. 8.5 hrs • 2/11/2014 • Unabridged

    In The Improbability Principle, the renowned statistician David J. Hand argues that extraordinarily rare events are anything but. In fact, they’re commonplace. Not only that, we should all expect to experience a miracle roughly once every month. But Hand is no believer in superstitions, prophecies, or the paranormal. His definition of “miracle” is thoroughly rational. No mystical or supernatural explanation is necessary to understand why someone is lucky enough to win the lottery twice, or is destined to be hit by lightning three times and still survive. All we need, Hand argues, is a firm grounding in a powerful set of laws: the laws of inevitability, of truly large numbers, of selection, of the probability lever, and of near enough. Together, these constitute Hand’s groundbreaking Improbability Principle. And together, they explain why we should not be so surprised to bump into a friend in a foreign country, or to come across the same unfamiliar word four times in one day. Hand wrestles with seemingly less explicable questions as well: what the Bible and Shakespeare have in common, why financial crashes are par for the course, and why lightning does strike the same place (and the same person) twice. Along the way, he teaches us how to use the Improbability Principle in our own lives—including how to cash in at a casino and how to recognize when a medicine is truly effective. An irresistible adventure into the laws behind “chance” moments and a trusty guide for understanding the world and universe we live in, The Improbability Principle will transform how you think about serendipity and luck, whether it’s in the world of business and finance or you’re merely sitting in your backyard, tossing a ball into the air and wondering where it will land.

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    The Improbability Principle

    8.5 hrs • 2/11/14 • Unabridged
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  7. 8.0 hrs • 11/1/2013 • Unabridged

    Fresh and insightful, The Half-Life of Facts offers a new approach to understanding the ever-changing information that bombards us. Facts change all the time. Smoking has gone from healthy to deadly. The recommended age for a mammogram continues to increase. And the healthiness of carbs and fat seems to be in constant flux. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe, that Pluto was a planet, and that the brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. What we know about the world is constantly changing. Samuel Arbesman is an expert in scientometrics, literally the science of science—how we know what we know. He shows us how knowledge in most fields evolves systematically and predictably and how this evolution can have a powerful impact on our lives. The Half-Life of Facts features fascinating examples from fields as diverse as technology and literature. Approachable yet abstract, Arbesman shows us how we can find new ways to measure the world while also accepting the limits of how much we can know with certainty.

    Available Formats: CD

    The Half-Life of Facts

    8.0 hrs • 11/1/13 • Unabridged
    CD
  8. 0 reviews 0 5 3.7 3 out of 5 stars 3.7/5
    15.7 hrs • 9/27/2012 • Unabridged

    Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger—all by the time he was thirty. The New York Times now publishes the blog FiveThirtyEight, where Silver is one of the nation’s most influential political forecasters. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the “prediction paradox”: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future. In keeping with his own aim to seek truth from data, Silver visits the most successful forecasters in a range of areas, from hurricanes to baseball, from the poker table to the stock market, from Capitol Hill to the NBA. He explains and evaluates how these forecasters think and what bonds they share. What lies behind their success? Are they good—or just lucky? What patterns have they unraveled? And are their forecasts really right? He explores unanticipated commonalities and exposes unexpected juxtapositions. And sometimes, it is not so much how good a prediction is in an absolute sense that matters but how good it is relative to the competition. In other cases, prediction is still a very rudimentary—and dangerous—science. Silver observes that the most accurate forecasters tend to have a superior command of probability, and they tend to be both humble and hardworking. They distinguish the predictable from the unpredictable, and they notice a thousand little details that lead them closer to the truth. Because of their appreciation of probability, they can distinguish the signal from the noise. With everything from the health of the global economy to our ability to fight terrorism dependent on the quality of our predictions, Nate Silver’s insights are essential.

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    The Signal and the Noise

    15.7 hrs • 9/27/12 • Unabridged
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  9. 1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
    7.9 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    Which is more dangerous: a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? How much do parents really matter? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to parenting and sports—and reaches conclusions that turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They set out to explore the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, and much more. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.

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    Freakonomics Revised

    7.9 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
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  10. 8.3 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    The provocative follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Predictably Irrational –Why can large bonuses make CEOs less productive? –How can confusing directions actually help us? –Why is revenge so important to us? –Why is there such a big difference between what we think will make us happy and what really makes us happy? In his groundbreaking book Predictably Irrational, social scientist Dan Ariely revealed the multiple biases that lead us into making unwise decisions. Now, in The Upside of Irrationality, he exposes the surprising negative and positive effects irrationality can have on our lives. Focusing on our behaviors at work and in relationships, he offers new insights and eye-opening truths about what really motivates us on the job, how one unwise action can become a long-term habit, how we learn to love the ones we’re with, and more. Drawing on the same experimental methods that made Predictably Irrational one of the most talked-about bestsellers of the past few years, Ariely uses data from his own original and entertaining experiments to draw arresting conclusions about how—and why—we behave the way we do. From our office attitudes, to our romantic relationships, to our search for purpose in life, Ariely explains how to break through our negative patterns of thought and behavior to make better decisions. The Upside of Irrationality will change the way we see ourselves at work and at home—and cast our irrational behaviors in a more nuanced light.

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    The Upside of Irrationality

    8.3 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  11. 11.8 hrs • 3/30/2012 • Unabridged

    From critically acclaimed author Sharon Bertsch McGrayne comes a compelling, accessible account of the development of Bayes’ rule. Bayes’ rule appears to be a straightforward, one-line theorem: by updating our initial beliefs with objective new information, we get a new and improved belief. To its adherents, it is an elegant statement about learning from experience. To its opponents, it is subjectivity run amok. In the first-ever account of Bayes’ rule for general readers and listeners, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne explores this controversial theorem and the human obsessions surrounding it. She traces its discovery by an amateur mathematician in the 1740s through its development into roughly its modern form by French scientist Pierre Simon Laplace. She reveals why respected statisticians rendered it professionally taboo for 150 years—at the same time that practitioners relied on it to solve crises involving great uncertainty and scanty information, even breaking Germany’s Enigma code during World War II, and explains how the advent of off-the-shelf computer technology in the 1980s proved to be a game changer. Today Bayes’ rule is used everywhere from DNA decoding to Homeland Security. Drawing on primary source material and interviews with statisticians and other scientists, The Theory That Would Not Die is the riveting account of how a seemingly simple theorem ignited one of the greatest controversies of all time.

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    The Theory That Would Not Die

    11.8 hrs • 3/30/12 • Unabridged
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