Join Sean B. Carroll and Seth McFarlane as they explore the role of dumb luck and chance in determining life, death, and destiny.
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 book 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.
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Sean B. Carroll is an award-winning scientist, writer, educator, and film producer. He is Vice President for Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Balo-Simon Chair of Biology at the University of Maryland, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Sean has received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences, been a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction, and earned one Emmy and two Emmy nominations for documentary films. His most recent book is A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You published this October by Princeton University Press.
Seth MacFarlane is a prolific writer and director behind some of the most popular content on television and film, while also expanding his career in the worlds of music and philanthropy. At 24, MacFarlane became the youngest showrunner in television history when his animated series Family Guy aired on FOX. He created, currently executive produces, and stars in Hulu’s live-action space adventure series, The Orville. He also executive produced both 21st century installments of the Cosmos series, Cosmos: Possible Worlds. He is on the advisory board of The Science & Entertainment Exchange.