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Fluke

On sale

25th January 2024

Price: £24.99

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Selected: Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781399804554

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Why small, chance events can divert our lives and change how we think our world works.

If you could rewind your life to the very beginning and then press play, would everything turn out the same?

Or could making an accidental phone call or missing an exit off the highway change not just your life, but history itself?

And would you remain blind to the radically different possible world you unknowingly left behind?

In Fluke, myth-shattering social scientist Brian Klaas dives deeply into the phenomenon of random chance and the chaos it can sow, taking aim at most people’s neat and tidy storybook version of reality. The book’s argument is that we willfully ignore a bewildering truth: but for a few small changes, our lives – and our societies – could be radically different.

Offering an entirely new lens, Fluke explores how our world really works, driven by strange interactions and apparently random events. How did one couple’s vacation cause 100,000 people to die? Does our decision to hit the snooze button in the morning radically alter the trajectory of our lives? And has the evolution of humans been inevitable, or are we simply the product of a series of freak accidents?

Drawing on social science, chaos theory, history, evolutionary biology, and philosophy, Klaas provides a brilliantly fresh look at why things happen – all while providing mind-bending lessons on how we can live smarter, be happier, and lead more fulfilling lives.

Praise for Brian Klaas:

‘Illuminating’ Adam Grant
‘Passionate, insightful, and occasionally jaw-dropping’ Peter Frankopan
‘A brilliant exploration’ Dan Snow
‘You’ll never look at the world the same way again’ Ian Dunt

(P) 2024 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Reviews

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
Sean Carroll, author of THE BIGGEST IDEAS IN THE UNIVERSE
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

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