Rock Breaks Scissors

Rock Breaks Scissors

A Practical Guide to Outguessing and Outwitting Everybody

Book - 2014
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Describes how to use people's predictability to help get ahead in such commonplace situations as playing the lottery and buying a house, and reveals how to successfully anticipate the actions of others with improved accuracy.
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2014
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780316228060
0316228060
Branch Call Number: 153.83 Pou
Characteristics: viii, 302 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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j
jimg2000
May 16, 2015

Fran Lebowitz had the right idea: “I figure you have the same chance of winning the lottery whether you play or not.”

‘You can’t prove a negative,’ pandemonium broke loose.

In December 1999 the market achieved its highest-ever ten-year PE, 44.20 ... Less than three years later, the S&P 500 had shed almost half its value.

A well-informed (and disciplined) investor can make adjustments for interest rates and other factors that we haven’t considered. In recent years interest rates on fixed-income investments have been extraordinarily low by historic standards. That makes bonds less attractive as an alternative and presumably makes higher PE valuations less risky. You might therefore move the 15 and 24 thresholds up a bit. But for those who don’t trust their instincts, the 15 and 24 limits would have worked well in recent decades without any adjustments.

j
jimg2000
May 16, 2015

The tail-wagging study I mentioned reported that mammals tend to move their bodies to the right when they see something they want. A friendly dog will tilt its head to the right. Humans put their head to the right when hugging and look to the right first when entering an unfamiliar room. This fact influences the design of store displays and the layout of supermarkets.

In 2009 a hacker learned the Twitter password in a dictionary attack and posted it on the Digital Gangster site, leading to hijackings of the Twitter feeds of Barack Obama, Britney Spears, Facebook, and Fox News.

One of the more suspicious things about Madoff was how transparent he was. He claimed to use a split-strike conversion strategy.

The gambler’s fallacy is the belief that chance outcomes that haven’t occurred in the recent past are more likely to occur in the near future. It’s called a fallacy for a reason. (“I’m overdue for a win!” thinks every loser.)

j
jimg2000
May 16, 2015

He is a hero to the skeptic movement, almost on a par with Harry Houdini or James Randi. But Goodfellow did more than debunk. In demonstrating that the radio show’s mindreading was fake, he discovered an authentic form of mind reading...

For instance, when the choices were heads and tails, most people chose heads as their first guess. This was not a trivial effect. Nearly four-fifths picked heads.

The March 30, 2005, Powerball drawing had 110 second-prize winners. It turned out that they had all played numbers on a widely distributed fortune cookie fortune. In case you haven’t noticed, there are six “lucky numbers” on many of those fortunes. The much-duplicated fortune read “All the preparation you’ve done will finally be paying off” and had the numbers 22, 28, 32, 33, 39, 40. Only the last number was wrong. Had it been the winning 42, those bettors would all have been tied for first place.

j
jimg2000
May 16, 2015

Quoted wise thoughts:
It is clear that one thing which human beings find it almost impossible to do is to behave unpredictably in the simple matters of life. —J.J. Coupling [The] power of accurate observation… is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. —George Bernard Shaw A good magician never reveals what he does for a living. —Dan Guterman

Inside, the building [MIT Museum] is a curiosity cabinet of inexplicable inventions and relics of collegiate practical jokes. An outsize can of Jolt Cola hangs from the ceiling beams, like a stuffed crocodile in the wunderkammers of old.

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j
jimg2000
May 16, 2015

Not another Tony Robbins like advice books but one based on solid statistics and historic facts, author suggests methodologies to out smart the general public at tennis, poker, rock-paper-scissors, taking tests as SAT, lottos, college exams, office pools, parlor tricks, detecting cooked financial records as Bernie Madoff's, investing in Wall Street and more. As summed up in the long preface: All of this book’s applications are founded on one simple idea. When people make arbitrary, random, or strategic choices, they fall into unconscious patterns that you can predict.

l
lg9393
Apr 28, 2015

This is a great book about how humans aren't very random and how to predict that. It also talks about how to simulate randomness.

ksoles Aug 10, 2014

Pop psychology books like Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" (2008) fascinate readers with evidence that reality regularly contradicts common sense. Business and science writer William Poundstone's newest edition to the genre, "Rock Breaks Scissors," delivers somewhat useful advice for taking advantage of this axiom and provides a delightful and engaging read in the process.

At its heart, Poundstone's book demonstrates how to predict others' seemingly unpredictable choices. The author asserts that, "when people make arbitrary, random, or strategic choices, they fall into unconscious patterns that you can predict.” In the famous Rock Paper Scissors game, for example, most men throw rock first (the aggressive choice) whereas most women throw scissors. You can prime your opponent to throw rock at the start of a game by initiating play; most cornered competitors will throw rock. And reverse psychology can work wonders: announce what you’re going to throw and then surprise your competitor by.

In the area of multiple-choice tests, Poundstone asserts that success arises from thinking like a tester. True/false questions are more often true (56% of the time) as it takes more effort to invent a false statement. The second answer (b) in 4-option questions wins as most favoured (28% of the time) but in 5-option questions, (e) prevails 23% of the time. Though answers containing the words never, always, all or none are rarely correct, “none of the above” or “all of the above” are correct a shocking 52% of the time. Finally, you can narrow down options by picking the longest answers because true answers demand the most “qualifying language.”

Poundstone can't help improve your odds of winning the lottery but he does offer tips on getting the biggest payout possible. The key lies in picking unpopular numbers i.e. avoiding anything with 7 as well as the number 13. Unpopular numbers include those ending with 0, 8 or 9 and anything over 31 since many people use significant dates when selecting numbers. The more unpopular numbers you use, the less of a chance that you’ll have to share your pot if you win.

Though some sections of "Rock Breaks Scissors" seem more applicable to real life than others, the book ultimately fits nicely into the everything-you-thought-you-knew-is-wrong category.

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l
lg9393
Apr 28, 2015

lg9393 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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