Friday, July 12, 2024

One of the authors of “The Book of Odds” is holding a signing Tuesday in Harvard Square.

What are the odds you get to hang out with Amram Shapiro, one-third author of “The Book of Odds: From Lightning Strikes to Love at First Sight, the Odds of Everyday Life,” on the very day HarperCollins distributes it for sale?

Really good, actually. Shapiro, founder and president of – the 5-year-old website that is the basis for the dead tree edition – is at the Harvard Coop at 7 p.m. Tuesday discussing the odds of everyday life and signing copies of what the shop calls his “deeply engrossing and infinitely entertaining dictionary of chance.”

The book and website premiered with about a half-million factoids teased from government agencies, surveys and like about how common things were, aiming to put them in graphic context for either increased understanding of the world or just sheer whimsey. Shapiro told The Wall Street Journal (in a piece that wasn’t all laudatory) that he wanted to create “a 19th-century style reference work” to help people conquer the fear of uncertainty.

His business was also created to be a data service, gaming outlet, risk management tool – and book franchise.

If you haven’t been to the website, which has offices in Boston because Shapiro is a Class of 1978 Harvard Business School graduate and lives there, you can savor ahead of time a few of what it calls “odds couples,” which the site describes as “pairs of odds which just happen to be the same and kind of ‘fit’ with each other”:


Odds a woman enjoys sex only somewhat are 1 in 4

Odds an employed adult is somewhat satisfied with his or her boss are 1 in 4

Pretty darn common:

Odds a child 8-16 has ever viewed pornography online are 1 in 1.1

Odds a person is right-handed are 1 in 1.1

The shallow end:

Odds an unmarried adult looks mostly in physical appearance in potential dates are 1 in 4.6

Odds an adult 65 or older cannot swim are 1 in 4.6

The signing is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Harvard Coop, 1400 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square.