Barbara Blatchley explores how people react to random events in a range of circumstances, examining the evidence that the belief in luck helps us cope with a lack of control. She tells the stories of lucky and unlucky people – who won the lottery multiple times, survived seven brushes with death, or found an apparently cursed Neanderthal mummy – as well as the accidental discoveries that fundamentally changed what we know about the brain. Blatchley considers our frequent misunderstanding of randomness, the history of luckiness in different cultures and religions, the surprising benefits of magical thinking, and many other topics. Offering a new view of how the brain handles the unexpected, What Are the Chances? shows why an arguably irrational belief can – fingers crossed – help us as we struggle with an unpredictable world.