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Fifty Challenging Problems in Probability with Solutions (Dover Books on Mathematics) Paperback – May 1, 1987
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
Charles Frederick Mosteller ( 1916–2006) was one of the eminent statisticians of the 20th century. He was the founding chairman of Harvard's Statistics department. Dr. Mosteller wrote more than 50 books and more than 350 papers, with over 200 coauthors.
Frederick Mosteller: Harvard Man
Frederick Mosteller (1916–2006) founded Harvard University's Department of Statistics and served as its first chairman from 1957 until 1969 and again for several years in the 1970s. He was the author or co-author of more than 350 scholarly papers and more than 50 books, including one of the most popular books in his field, first published in 1965 and reprinted by Dover in 1987, Fifty Challenging Problems in Probability with Solutions.
Mosteller's work was wide-ranging: He used statistical analysis of written works to prove that James Madison was the author of several of the Federalist papers whose authorship was in dispute. With then–Harvard professor and later Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, he studied what would be the most effective way of helping students from impoverished families do better in school — their answer: to improve income levels rather than to simply spend on schools. Later, his analysis of the importance to learning of smaller class sizes buttressed the Clinton Administration's initiative to hire 100,000 teachers. And, as far back as the 1940s, Mosteller composed an early statistical analysis of baseball: After his team, the Boston Red Sox, lost the 1946 World Series, he demonstrated that luck plays an enhanced role in a short series, even for a strong team.
In the Author's Own Words:
"Though we often hear that data can speak for themselves, their voices can be soft and sly." — Frederick Mosteller
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Some of the problems are classic, such as the problem of how many people would it take for the probability that at least two of them have the same birthday is greater than a half (I'll give this answer away: 23. But do you know why?) One of the dice problems actually recalls the history of the development of probability as a separate mathematical field -- problem #19, involving dice bets that Samuel Pepys asked Isaac Newton to figure out. Some of the problems are simply openers for entire vistas in probability - avoid problems #51 and #52 if you wish to not become enmeshed in concerns of random walks (remember that one of Einstein's earliest papers was on Brownian motion - a molecular random walk.) I used problem #25, which deal with "random chords on a circle", to explore this classic probability paradox - I've ended up with three different figures, all of which seem plausible! It gets deep to what one means by "random chord".
This book, though so thin, is inexhaustible in spawning disturbing questions about probability; even more useful is that there are questions for people at =any= level of knowledge of probability.Read more ›
Though I've worked through the problems a couple of times, I bought a replacement copy when my original was "permanently borrowed" from my desk at work.
This book takes off where I ended up. The first problem is a variation on the "reach into a bag" probability problem. (Q: You reach into a drawer with red socks and black socks, and the probability of drawing 2 red socks is P=0.5. What is the minimum number of both colored socks?)
You won't find the typical probability problems that can be quickly solved with basic combinatorial analysis or the Bernoulli Coefficient. You'll find variations and completely new worlds of probability. The explanations are thorough but succinct, and will arm you with a new skill set for solving such problems.
There's no other book like it on Amazon, and for $7...
Comparable to Huff's "How to Lie with Statistics" in its originality and straight-forwardness.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is ok for a coffee break exercise. If that's why you want to buy it then you may stop reading. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Maksym Zavershynskyi
Great read, the author provides concise, beautiful layout for the problems and a lot of hand holding for all the knots and bolts needed to build intuition.Published 3 months ago by Siwei Wang
Really fun. Not the most challenging in the world, but really useful for prepping for quant interviews and for refreshing basic probability skills.Published 10 months ago by S E
It is what it is... A book with interesting problems in statistics. And that's really all it is. The author does a really good job on presenting a comprehensive way of... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Benjamin Evans
The problems are interesting and tricky. Some even violate the common sense. The book is really brainstorming and doesn't need a lot of mathematics ( I think one can learn a lot... Read morePublished 16 months ago by MingHao
The book is a famous book which can be used for quant interview preparation. Aslo recommended for those who enjoy solving math problems.Published on January 14, 2014 by Hamed
The challenges are so stilted and are hard to relate to. Urns and socks? Ugh. I think a modern re-imaging of these problems would be more fun to read and think about.Published on November 20, 2013 by Peter Mancini