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On sale

1st February 2024

Price: £20

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399804516

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Utterly engrossing . . . Ambitious, accessible and importantJames O’Brien

‘Consistently gripping – dazzling in its sweep and thrillingly brain-twisting in its arguments’ Tom Holland

A provocative new vision of how our world really works – and why chance determines everything.

In Fluke, myth-shattering social scientist Brian Klaas deep-dives into the phenomenon of randomness, unpicking our neat and tidy storybook version of events to reveal a reality far wilder and more fascinating than we have dared to consider. The bewildering truth is that but for a few incidental changes, our lives – and our societies – would be radically different.

Offering an entirely new perspective, Fluke explores how our world really works, driven by strange interactions and random events. How much difference does our decision to hit the snooze button make? Did one couple’s vacation really change the course of the twentieth century? What are the smallest accidents that have tilted the course of history itself?

The mind-bending lessons of this phenomenon challenge our beliefs about the very workings of the world. From the evolution of human biology and natural disasters to the impact of global events on supply chain disruptions, every detail matters because of the web of connectivity that envelops us. So what if, by exploding our illusion of control, we can make better decisions and live happy, fulfilling lives?


Tom Holland, author of RUBICON and PERSIAN FIRE
Consistently gripping - dazzling in its sweep and thrillingly brain-twisting in its argument
Mervyn King, co-author of RADICAL UNCERTAINTY and former Governor of the Bank of England
Drawing on many disciplines, this fascinating book explores the combination of chaos and order that governs our lives and probes the deep question of whether we truly have free will
Scott Patterson, New York Times bestselling author of CHAOS KINGS and THE QUANTS
A brilliant meditation on the eternal clash between chaos and order, and determinism and freedom. Klaas grapples with some of the most difficult, mind-bending questions of our time - or any time - [and] makes these heady topics a blast to read
Donald D. Hoffman, author of THE CASE AGAINST REALITY
Klaas expertly weaves riveting stories about real people, posing deep questions with uncertain answers. Self-exploration is a journey into the unknown, and Klaas is a genial guide
Sabine Hossenfelder, physicist and New York Times bestselling author of EXISTENTIAL PHYSICS
Klaas explores how seemingly inconsequential actions have life-changing consequences. This utterly captivating book will make you rethink everything you have ever done
Jonah Berger, New York Times bestselling author of CONTAGIOUS
At this book's fascinating core is the idea that all of our actions count because of the web of connectivity that envelops us. Brian Klaas is masterful in surfacing stories of history upended on a whim
Jonathan Gottschall, author of THE STORYTELLING ANIMAL
Fluke is the intellectual equivalent of a slap across the face...Klaas's beautifully written application of chaos theory to human experience won't just shift your paradigm, it'll detonate it
In truth we are subject to a ceaseless barrage of unpredictable, but life-changing, events. Marshalling a series of provocative examples, Brian Klaas paints a convincing picture of the central role of randomness, and why there can nevertheless be a bit of order amid the chaos
New Statesman
Its core premise is that the world is a lot more uncertain than we like to believe it is - and if we want to have healthy, happy lives, we should probably stop pretending we can eliminate randomness . . . It's uplifting to acknowledge the interconnected, contingent nature of our world . . . There's something empowering about feeling every moment of your life could change the world
New Scientist
Provocative and compelling, bringing the complex relationship between order and chaos vividly alive . . . there is every chance you will love it
Financial Times
Captivating . . . Klaas entertainingly reminds us that modern human society is a complex adaptive system . . . Fascinating