The Hot Hand
For decades, statisticians, social scientists, psychologists, and economists (among them Nobel Prize winners) have spent massive amounts of precious time thinking about whether streaks actually exist. After all, a substantial number of decisions that we make in our everyday lives are quietly rooted in this one question: If something happened before, will it happen again? Is there such a thing as being in the zone? Can someone have a “hot hand”? Or is it simply a case of seeing patterns in randomness? Or, if streaks are possible, where can they be found?In The Hot Hand, Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Cohen offers an unfailingly entertaining and provocative investigation into these questions. He begins with how a $35,000 fine and a wild night in New York revived a debate about the existence of streaks that was several generations in the making. We learn how the ability to recognize and then bet against streaks turned a business school dropout named David Booth into a billionaire, and how the subconscious nature of streak-related bias can make the difference between life and death for asylum seekers. We see how previously unrecognized streaks hidden amidst archival data helped solve one of the most haunting mysteries of the twentieth century, the disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg. Cohen also exposes how streak-related incentives can be manipulated, from the five-syllable word that helped break arcade profit records to an arc of black paint that allowed Stephen Curry to transform from future junior high coach into the greatest three-point shooter in NBA history. Crucially, Cohen also explores why false recognition of nonexistent streaks can have cataclysmic results, particularly if you are a sugar beet farmer or the sort of gambler who likes to switch to black on the ninth spin of the roulette wheel.

The Hot Hand Details

TitleThe Hot Hand
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 10th, 2020
PublisherCustom House
ISBN-139780062820747
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Sports

The Hot Hand Review

  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe it's my fault for overestimating how interested I was in finding out if the hot hand is real. I don't understand why so much time and money was spent trying to determine if the hot hand existed or not. I don't understand why the book's timeline had to be so scattered, or why some of the stories were included. The writing was fine, besides that, and maybe to someone who is into the hot hand more than me, would enjoy it more.
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  • Lee Woodruff
    January 1, 1970
    Is there truth or science behind a running streak of good luck, talent, winning or creativity? I love the genre that tackles issues or questions combining human psychology, data, trends and storytelling. Cohens WSJ reporter background means he takes a compelling detectives journey using disparate case studies. The books chapters range from a Russian prison to Steph Curry on the Warriors basketball court, Wall Street and the Amazon jungle, to name just a few. The outcome? Streaks, formerly Is there truth or science behind a “running streak” of good luck, talent, winning or creativity? I love the genre that tackles issues or questions combining human psychology, data, trends and storytelling. Cohen’s WSJ reporter background means he takes a compelling detective’s journey using disparate case studies. The book’s chapters range from a Russian prison to Steph Curry on the Warrior’s basketball court, Wall Street and the Amazon jungle, to name just a few. The outcome? Streaks, formerly debunked by scholars and mathematicians both can and can’t be cultivated. Fans of Michael Lewis and Malcolm Gladwell will devour this one
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  • Nav S
    January 1, 1970
    I was excited to read this book because I'm a huge basketball fan and also because I've experienced "the hot hand" phenomenon couple of times myself while playing basketball, even though I'm not a pro by any means.The book started off great, but it kind of went off the rails the further it went along. The author presented some interesting ideas and examples, but I feel that there were many times where the author was "reaching" with his examples to prove his point, especially his example I was excited to read this book because I'm a huge basketball fan and also because I've experienced "the hot hand" phenomenon couple of times myself while playing basketball, even though I'm not a pro by any means.The book started off great, but it kind of went off the rails the further it went along. The author presented some interesting ideas and examples, but I feel that there were many times where the author was "reaching" with his examples to prove his point, especially his example regarding Shakespeare and the plague.That being said, my biggest problem with the book is the complete mishandling of explaining the hot hand when it comes to basketball. Stephen Curry might be the greatest shooter of all time, but he's not the poster child of "The Hot Hand" phenomenon. That distinction belongs to his teammate and arguably the second best shooter of all time, Klay Thompson. If someone asked you to prove The Hot Hand and you were only allowed to present one piece of evidence, you'd use this video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nyBp...On January 23, 2015, Klay Thompson scored 37 points in a SINGLE QUARTER against the Sacramento Kings by himself. He took shots after shots which he had no business of making, but all of them went down. He was simply unstoppable during that quarter or as Ben Cohen describes it in the book: "He was on FIRE." You have to see it to believe it.Or what about the game against Indiana Pacers where Klay Thompson scored 60 points while dribbling the ball only 11 times and holding the ball for a sum total of only 90 seconds?Overall, I kind of liked this book, but I hope that we'd get something better than this in the future to explain the hot hand phenomenon.
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  • Roosevelt
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating anecdotes interweave into a great read. I was initially intrigued in this book because I thought this streak-concept hasnt been well explored in literature. I appreciated the expansive amount of research the author put together in order to present his case. Gathering such a wide range amount of categories such as stories from sport, literature, cinema, world history, and even war histories, takes an immense level dedication to this subject and I had to applaud that fact.Although Fascinating anecdotes interweave into a great read. I was initially intrigued in this book because I thought this streak-concept hasn’t been well explored in literature. I appreciated the expansive amount of research the author put together in order to present his case. Gathering such a wide range amount of categories such as stories from sport, literature, cinema, world history, and even war histories, takes an immense level dedication to this subject and I had to applaud that fact.Although there were a few instances it felt as if the puzzles he was attempting to piece together was excessively forced along with a redundant amount of dispensable repeats. My curiosity to the subject started to run dry by the middle of the book, concocted with an increasingly amount of disorientating at the lack of well intented transitions in between cases.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting journalistic take on hot streaks.this was a goodreads giveaway
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