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Knock on Wood: Luck, Chance, and the Meaning of Everything

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Rohit M.
Knock on Wood: Luck, Chance, and the Meaning of Everything


One of CFIC’s very own has just released a stellar new book titled “Knock on Wood: Luck, Chance, and the Meaning of Everything”. For centuries, people around the world have prayed for good luck and warded against bad. Every language features a good luck greeting. Sailors have long looked for an albatross on the horizon as a symbol of good fortune. Jade, clovers, rabbits’ feet, wishbones: these items have lined the pockets of those seeking good fortune. For some, it’s bad luck to walk under a ladder, to enter and leave a home through different doors or to say “Macbeth” in a theatre. But is there such a thing as luck, or does luck often just explain common sense? Don’t walk under a ladder because, well, that’s just dangerous. You won the lottery not because of any supernatural force but because a random number generator selected the same numbers that you picked out at the corner store. You run into a neighbour from your street on the other side of the world: Random chance or pure fate? (Or does it depend on how much you like your neighbour?) In Knock on Wood, Rosenthal, with great humour and irreverence, defines the world of luck, fate and chance, putting his considerable scientific acumen to the test in deducing whether luck is real or the mere stuff of superstition. Jeffrey S. Rosenthal is a professor of statistics at the University of Toronto. He received his BSc in mathematics, physics and computer science from the University of Toronto at the age of 20; his PhD in mathematics from Harvard University at the age of 24; and tenure at the age of 29. He has received teaching awards at both Harvard and U of T. Rosenthal’s first book, Struck by Lightning: The Curious World of Probabilities, was a national bestseller in Canada and was published in fourteen countries and in ten languages. Jeffrey will be talking about his new book at a CFIC Toronto Event on December 4th at 6pm at 485 Queen Street West Toronto, ON Tickets can be purchased in advance on Eventbrite and also will be sold at the door. FREE for CFIC Members $5 for Non-members $30 for CFIC membership admission

485 Queen Street West · Toronto, ON