The Law of Averages

  • Richard L. Scheaffer
  • Ann Watkins
  • Mrudulla Gnanadesikan
  • Jeffrey A. Witmer
Part of the Textbooks in mathematical sciences book series (TIMS)


Have you ever heard someone appeal to the “law of averages”?
  • As many times as she’s been guilty before, she has to be innocent this time-it’s the law of averages. You should know that. You want to go to law school. (Tom on The Torn Arnold Show, March 9, 1994)

  • President Reagan explained why there is corruption in the Pentagon’s purchasing process: “The law of averages says that not all 6 million [people involved] are going to turn out to be heroes.” (Pittsburgh Press, June 18, 1988)

  • Disobey the law of averages. Let others take the traditional course. We prefer creativity over conformity. Invention over imitation. Inspired ideas over tired ideas. In short, Audi offers an alternative route. (From a print advertisement for Audi)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Scheaffer
    • 1
  • Ann Watkins
    • 2
  • Mrudulla Gnanadesikan
    • 3
  • Jeffrey A. Witmer
    • 4
  1. 1.University of FloridaUSA
  2. 2.California State UniversityNorthridgeUSA
  3. 3.Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityUSA
  4. 4.Oberlin CollegeUSA

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