I am always amused when book reviewers criticise a book on the grounds that it is not the book they would have written themselves. Matthew Edwards has invented a new variant of this, describing my book, The Improbability Principle, as belonging to the genre of 'smarter thinking' books, and then criticising it on the grounds that it does not really do this (The Actuary, December 2014). In fact, I regard the book as belonging to the 'popular science' genre - which is why Scientific American chose to reprint several pages of the book and why New Scientist chose it as one of their 10 '2014 crop for lovers of good books and fine ideas'.
Edwards remarks that my explanations 'are, understandably, aimed at those with little mathematical knowledge. Most readers of The Actuary will find this assumed starting point irritatingly low'. Why should readers be irritated by this assumed starting point if they regard the book as not aimed at them? You might as well say that most readers of The Actuary would find the Paddington Bear books irritatingly simplistic.
Still, putting Edwards' two perspectives of smarter thinking and irritatingly low together, readers of The Actuary might be interested in a New Scientist review of the book, which described it as "a superlative introduction to critical thinking, accessible to everybody, regardless of mathematical ability".
Incidentally, Edwards' description of the law of inevitability is incomplete - it only applies if all of the lottery tickets have been sold.
Professor David Hand