Jeffrey S. Rosenthal, author of the bestseller Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, was born on Friday the thirteenth, a fact that he discovered long after he had become one of the world’s pre-eminent statisticians. Had he been living ignorantly and innocently under an unlucky cloud for all those years? Or is thirteen just another number? As a scientist and a man of reason, Rosenthal has long considered the value of luck, good and bad, seeking to measure chance and hope in formulas scratched out on chalkboards.
In Knock on Wood, with great humour and irreverence, Rosenthal divines the world of luck, fate and chance, putting his considerable scientific acumen to the test in deducing whether luck is real or the mere stuff of superstition.
“Even for the math challenged among us, Rosenthal makes numbers understandable. Rosenthal’s style is highly readable . . . . Numbers and logic and probability are not topics you’d think could be made lively or entertaining. But the probability that it can be done well by Rosenthal is pretty high.”
“Rosenthal is a light-hearted and entertaining writer. He reveals quirky numerical facts that may surprise you.”
“A thoroughly engaging book. Each page provides a charming anecdote illustrating an insight that will make you smile in recognition of a surprising truth. Get this book for yourself but also for family and friends both those who believe only logic, science, and cause and effect have all the answers.”
“‘Good luck!’ Something we say almost every day with best of intentions but little thought. What are we really honouring when we say good luck? Knock on Wood is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why things happen.”
“[Jeffrey Rosenthal is] your favorite professor, the one who made a difficult subject easy to understand by illustrating insights with practical examples from the world around us.”