How to Expect the Unexpected – By Kit Yates

Fascinating and fun. From the everyday to global challenges, Kit Yates explores how changing your mind – so often thought to be a weakness – is the best life skill we can all acquire. A brilliant book.”

– Professor Alice Roberts (Author of Ancestors and Buried)

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About the book

Ever since the dawn of human civilisation, we have been trying to make predictions about what’s in store for us. We do this on a personal level, so that we can get on with our lives efficiently (should I hang my
laundry out to dry, or will it rain?). But we also have to predict on a much larger scale, often for the good of our broader society (how can we spot economic downturns or prevent terrorist attacks?).

For just as long, we have been getting it wrong. From religious oracles to weather forecasters, and from politicians to economists, we are subjected to poor predictions all the time. Our job is to separate the good from the bad. Unfortunately, the foibles of our own biology – the biases that ultimately make us human – can let us down when it comes to making rational inferences about the world around us. And that can have disastrous consequences.

How to Expect the Unexpected will teach you how and why predictions go wrong, help you to spot phony forecasts and give you a better chance of getting your own predictions correct.

What other authors are saying

‘Fascinating and fun – from the everyday to global challenges, Kit Yates shows us how to peer into the crystal ball of mathematics and predict the future.

Kit is a real, mathematical clairvoyant – and he can teach you to be one, too!

If you read this book, I can comfortably predict you will be better at avoiding deception, foretelling the future – and changing your mind.’

Alice Roberts (Author of Ancestors)

‘Spend some time with this book and you’re likely to make better judgements and decisions, to see through the charlatans and snake-oil salespeople – and perhaps even to fool yourself a little less.’

Philip Ball (Author of Critical Mass)

‘An exciting  new voice in the world of science communication’

Marcus Du Sautoy (Professor for the public understanding of science at the University of Oxford and Author of The Creativity Code)

‘Yates’ writing is a beacon of clarity sorely needed in a complicated and confusing world.’

Jim Al Khalili (Author of The Joy of Science )

‘A vivid, wide-ranging and delightful guide to the light and the dark side of prediction.

Tim Harford (Presenter and Author of How to Make the World Add Up)

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Seeing the world through a mathematical lens