Pick of the Month

WITF's Pick of the Month bring's you the very best books and more. Every month we’ll recommend a great book for you to check out--from biographies and novels to poetry, children’s books and more. We’ll promote selections monthly on WITF TV and on WITF FM 89.5. Read along with us as we discover literary finds that engage, enlighten and entertain. Bookmark this page to keep up to date with the latest info about monthly picks—including details on how you can meet the authors. Pick up a copy and start reading today!

November pick of the month: "What the Luck?" by Gary Smith

Written by Aaron's Books | Nov 1, 2016 2:00 AM
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Not every extraordinary event is the result of skill, talent, or perseverance; calamity occurs at random times and in random places.  Author and economics professor Gary Smith explores the role of luck in both our daily lives and broader society in "What the Luck?: The Surprising Role of Chance in Our Everyday Lives".


The concept of "regression to the mean" is frequently misunderstood, and Smith's clear, understandable, and witty writing style helps him guide the reader through confusion about the role of chance and how random variations influence so many choices and perceptions of truth. Through his relatable examples, we can see through fallacies, change the way we see our lives, and learn to rely less on random chance.


"Regression to the mean" seeks to explain, with statistics, the role of luck in our day-to-day lives. Failure to appreciate and understand luck and chance can impact decisions in sports, education, medicine, business, politics, and more. It can lead us to see illness when we are not sick and to see cures when treatments are worthless. Teaching methods in our schools, and training methods in our corporations and military, are developed and implemented based on a lack of understanding of statistics and the regression to the mean. Perfectly natural random variation can lead us to attach meaning to the meaningless.


Smith's previous bestseller was "Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with Statistics". Gary Smith is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and taught there as an Assistant Professor for seven years. He has won two teaching awards and has written (or co-authored) eighty academic papers and twelve books.

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