First published in 2005, Jeffrey Rosenthal’s Struck by Lightning is a delightful little book that uses statistics and probabilities to enable better decision making by laymen and novice mathematicians alike. If you are looking for techniques and complex statistics you might be disappointed with the lack of technical material in the book , but everyone else is likely to find something to marvel at within these pages. The book looks at published statistical studies like those related to international crime rates and every day problems like the chances of you getting rejected when asking the cute co-worker to a date with the same probabilistic rigor, and you are guaranteed to smack your head and say “I should have thought of that!” many times over these pages.

A professor at the University of Toronto by day, Rosenthal writes with a mixture of humour and insight that probably make his classes great fun to be at . This book, like Tim Hartford’s The UnderCover Economist and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics, mixes personal anecdotes with every day life with high concepts to drive home important lessons in data-driven decision-making. Coincidentally, all three of these books were published in 2005. Now what are the odds of that! (You just might be able to make a reasonable guess at this once you’ve read this book cover to cover)

To find out more about the book, or to read more of Prof. Rosenthal’s extremely interesting research visit his university web page at

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