Making good decisions under conditions of uncertainty requires a sound appreciation of the way random chance works. It requires, in short, an understanding of probability. In thisĀ Very Short Introduction, John Haigh introduces the ideas of probability–and the different philosophical approaches to probability–and gives a brief account of the history of development of probability theory, from Galileo and Pascal to Bayes, Laplace, Poisson, and Markov. He describes the basic probability distributions and discusses a wide range of applications in science, economics, and a variety of other contexts such as games and betting. He concludes with an intriguing discussion of coincidences and some curious paradoxes.

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