A practical guide to outguessing everything from multiple-choice tests to the office football pool to the stock market.
People are predictable even when they try not to be. William Poundstone demonstrates how to turn this fact to personal advantage in scores of everyday situations, from playing the lottery to buying a home. ROCK BREAKS SCISSORS is mind-reading for real life.
Will the next tennis serve go right or left? Will the market go up or down? Most people are poor at that kind of predicting. We are hard-wired to make bum bets on "trends" and "winning streaks" that are illusions. Yet ultimately we're all in the business of anticipating the actions of others. Poundstone reveals how to overcome the errors and improve the accuracy of your own outguessing. ROCK BREAKS SCISSORS is a hands-on guide to turning life's odds in your favor.
In this intriguing and immensely useful volume, Poundstone (Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?) examines how to outguess and outwit others in order to more accurately guess the outcomes of a variety of situations. In the first half of the tome, Poundstone examines those kinds of scenarios that are seemingly ruled by randomness winning the lottery, guessing computer passwords, outwitting Ponzi schemes , and even besting other players in the childhood playground game from which this tome takes its name. But, he cautions, what seems to be random may be anything but. Quoting the mid-20th-century philosopher Hans Reichenbach, Poundstone notes that " persons not acquainted with mathematics... are astonished at the clustering that occurs' in a true random sequence." In the book's second half, the author explores the idea of the "hot hand" theory, which posits that winning streaks are predictable. In that context, he explores such things as how to get the better of office football pools and how to outguess the stock market while offering educated strategies for coming out the victor in these situations. For anyone wanting to turn most of life's odds in their favor, this is a solid, enjoyable read.