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The Norm Chronicles

Stories and numbers about danger

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Meet Norm. He's 31, 5'9", just over 13 stone, and works a 39 hour week. He likes a drink, doesn't do enough exercise and occasionally treats himself to a bar of chocolate (milk). He's a pretty average kind of guy. In fact, he is the average guy in this clever and unusual take on statistical risk, chance, and how these two factors affect our everyday choices. Watch as Norm (who, like all average specimens, feels himself to be uniquely special), and his friends careful Prudence and reckless Kelvin, turns to statistics to help him in life's endless series of choices - should I fly or take the train? Have a baby? Another drink? Or another sausage? Do a charity skydive or get a lift on a motorbike?

Because chance and risk aren't just about numbers - it's about what we believe, who we trust and how we feel about the world around us. From a world expert in risk and the bestselling author of The Tiger That Isn't (and creator of BBC Radio 4's More or Less), this is a commonsense (and wildly entertaining) guide to personal risk and decoding the statistics that represent it.

From Publishers Weekly

23 June 2014 – Journalist Blastland (The Tiger That Isn't) and University of Cambridge risk expert Spiegelhalter examine the probabilities involved in surviving a day. Predictably this includes a plethora of statistics, but the stats are leavened by stories featuring Norm, the archetypical average guy, as well as cautious Prudence and the risk-taking Kevlin brothers. Drawing on media and government documents, the authors concoct a few measurements to help assess risk: the MicroMort, "a one-in-a-million chance of something horribly and fatally dramatic happening," and the MicroLife, one millionth of an adult life or approximately half an hour. Amidst the numbers and stories on topics as diverse as infant mortality, travel, extreme sports, and crime, the authors examine just how all of this affects non-theoretical humans. In the crime chapter they warn that "the plural of anecdote' is not data'... and the corollary of vivid' or lurid' is not likely.'" From the beginning of the book, the authors acknowledge that "numbers may matter less to us than feelings," while they conclude by asserting that "probability intuitively difficult and confusing." The whole is seasoned with a dash of humor to create a work that should satisfy anyone curious about just how and when this mortal coil might be shuffled off.
The Norm Chronicles
View in iTunes
  • £6.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Science & Nature
  • Published: 30 May 2013
  • Publisher: Profile
  • Print Length: 453 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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