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  • A Series of Fortunate Events

  • Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You
  • Written by: Sean B. Carroll
  • Narrated by: Sean B. Carroll
  • Length: 4 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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A Series of Fortunate Events

Written by: Sean B. Carroll
Narrated by: Sean B. Carroll
Free with 30-day trial

₹199 per month after 30-day trial. Cancel anytime.

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Publisher's Summary

"Fascinating and exhilarating - Sean B. Carroll at his very best." (Bill Bryson, author of The Body: A Guide for Occupants)

In this audiobook, acclaimed writer and biologist Sean B. Carroll narrates the rollicking, awe-inspiring story of the surprising power of chance in our lives and the world.

Why is the world the way it is? How did we get here? Does everything happen for a reason, or are some things left to chance? Philosophers and theologians have pondered these questions for millennia, but startling scientific discoveries over the past half century are revealing that we live in a world driven by chance. A Series of Fortunate Events tells the story of the awesome power of chance and how it is the surprising source of all the beauty and diversity in the living world.

Like every other species, we humans are here by accident. But it is shocking just how many things - any of which might never have occurred - had to happen in certain ways for any of us to exist. From an extremely improbable asteroid impact, to the wild gyrations of the Ice Age, to invisible accidents in our parents' gonads, we are all here through an astonishing series of fortunate events. And chance continues to reign every day over the razor-thin line between our life and death.

This is a relatively small work about a really big idea. It is also a spirited tale. Drawing inspiration from Monty Python, Kurt Vonnegut, and other great thinkers, and crafted by one of today's most accomplished science storytellers, A Series of Fortunate Events is an irresistibly entertaining and thought-provoking account of one of the most important but least appreciated facts of life.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Sean B. Carroll (P)2020 Princeton University Press

Critic Reviews

"A Series of Fortunate Events is an engaging blend of science and culture, written in Carroll's usual easygoing style. Highly recommended!" (Matthew Cobb, author of The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-10-20

We are for a short time.

Our world of utter chance needs religious teaching to keep us sane although some of us go crazy with fear and desperation anyway.

4 people found this helpful

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  • S. E. Koziol
  • 04-05-21

By chance a surprisingly engaging book

A very science-y book about how our lives are really governed by chance. I was honestly surprised how much I enjoyed this book.

The piece that moved me to to tears was the afterward which was a fictitious discussion on the meaning of life , he used different comedians and authors and scientists own words to answer the question and create the dialogue. It truly moved me.

I listened to the audio version - I truly enjoyed this book. One of my all time favorite science reads.

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  • Jd
  • 05-12-20

Big bang..earth...water...dna...evolution..humans

Excellent journey of how all the randomness had to occur for us humans to exist. He explains it in easy to comprehend words.

To me there are still 2 questions that need to be answered: what was before the big bang and how did dna really origniate.

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  • CBKMom
  • 30-01-22

why the anger?

I enjoyed much of the book but could do without religious battle going on in the author's head. I think there is less of a battle between science and religion than is perceived by the writer. It seems there is quite a bit of angst there directed at I'm not sure who......... God maybe? I will confess the emotions may have seemed so raw to me because I was listening, rather than reading.
I found the information enlightening and some of the facts quite fun. I certainly had no problem listening, though I had a hard time with the Afterward scene. Thanks for trying though.

Michael

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  • Sarda
  • 16-04-21

Worthy of a multiple read

So much of what the author says is not new. It doesn't have to be. Perhaps what I most enjoyed was just confirmation bias, but the author helped organize the thoughts running through my brain nearly all my life. The book was very well organised, one (bit?) leading to another in a way that dominos lined up will, when completed and set in motion, lead to a satisfying ending.

Fortunately for me, I have been doing a lot of reading lately in geology, anthropology, biology, and other sciences. While the author was clear in his explanations, it helped to have a familiarity with the concepts.

I will reread this book and I certainly highly recommend it. It brought clarity and more than a few chuckles.

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  • Todd Woollen
  • 10-07-22

Dynamite.

A lot packed into a small package here. I was rereading Carroll's book, Endless Forms Most Beautiful and decided to give this a try. Endless Forms is a great book, but this is a gem. Humor, history, great biochemistry stories and philosophy. Treat yourself! You will not regret it.

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  • CBuk61
  • 21-03-22

Empty, vacant, hopeless

“And how can man die better, Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his Gods." Mr. Carroll’s sermon on the altar of meaningless chance, misses the mark. Humanity is a more than the sum of the parts equation, or should I say above all incomprehensible odds.

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  • Rabba the Hutt
  • 02-04-21

Loved It

Thought-provoking and very easy listen that tells an interesting story. The book is kind of a short history of the world and how we humans came to exist. As you would expect from the title the story focuses on the sheer luck that had to occur for humans to exist and uses

The narration is very clear and concise and managed to keep me engaged on a long motorway journey.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 14-03-21

Just WOW!

Illuminating and well read by Sean. I select it and hope it will proliferate in the popular science genome.

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  • John
  • 07-05-22

I loved this book

The narrator was excellent. I was taken on a wonderful journey of discovery. This book is certainly a keeper.
I was amazed to realise how improbable my individual life is.
I will be sharing this book.

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  • Ballsmasher 9000
  • 09-02-21

Wrong Sean Carroll

Was looking for a different Sean Carroll. Kinda cool, but would have loved for the other Sean Carroll to write on this topic 😬

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  • Michael
  • 14-10-20

Fantastic! Fantastic! Fantastic!

Beautiful read by Sean himself. An absolute must! Thank you for writing it, Sean B Carroll.