FATAL NUMBERS: Why Count on Chance
(Subway Line, No. 3)

(Translated by Karen Leeder, with a foreword by Gerd Gigerenzer,
and cover art by David Fried)

Read review in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Available as an eBook at Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, Apple, Blio, Diesel and other fine eBook retailers.

ISBN 978-0-935830-01-6 (Softcover)
ISBN 978-1-935830-10-8 (eBook)

Acclaimed poet and essayist Hans Magnus Enzensberger takes a fresh, sobering look at our faith in statistics, our desire to predict the future, and our dependence on fortuitousness. Tracing the interface between chance and probability in medical diagnostics, risk models, economics, and the fluctuations of financial markets, Fatal Numbers goes straight to the heart of what it means  to live, plan, and make decisions in a globalized, digitized, hyperlinked, science-driven, and uncertain world ...


“… clearly designed to whet the appetite … Fatal Numbers pushes the reader to consider the impact of statistical reasoning in an ever-more-complicated world … tied to finance, risk management, and medical decisions [and] masterfully relate[s] the need for both understanding statistical trends and recognizing the unreliability of long-range predictions …”


“… a fine exploration of numbers and their nature, very highly recommended reading.”
The Midwest Book Review

“… one of Germany's leading public intellectuals … Enzensberger is the most important postwar writer you have never read.”
London Review of Books

“One of Germany's most revered poets and literary polymaths ...”
The Observer

“To say that Enzensberger has reinvented the essay would hardly be an exaggeration; he has customised the form with a gusto verging on virtuosity.”
The Independent

“Enzensberger cleverly helps us understand the fine line between fact and fiction when it comes to the movements in financial markets by revealing that economic fundamentals are of limited value: in the end, prices and market direction are determined by financial speculation.”
Sanford L. Herzfeld, Director and Senior Vice President, David William Securities

Translated by Karen Leeder, with a Foreword by Gerd Gigerenzer,
and with illustrations by David Fried

ISBN 978-0-935830-01-6 (Softcover)
ISBN 978-1-935830-10-8 (eBook)
Publication Date: February 2011


Hans Magnus Enzensberger has dominated the German and European intellectual scene for over four decades. Among his many books of poetry, prose, and cultural-political commentary, which have been translated into more than forty languages, are: verteidigung der wölfe (1957), landessprache (1960), Museum der modernen Poesie (1960), Einzelheiten: Essays (1962), Der kurze Sommer der Anarchie: Buenaventura Durrutis Leben und Tod (1972), Die Furie des Verschwindens (1980), Ach, Europa! Wahrnehmungen aus sieben Ländern (1987), Zukunftsmusik (1991), Die Große Wanderung (1992), Heraus mit der Sprache. Ein bisschen Deutsch für Deutsche, Österreicher, Schweizer und andere Aus- und Inländer (2005). Enzensberger has been the recipient of multiple national and international awards and prizes, among others, the Georg Büchner Prize (1963), the International Poetry Award (1980), the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize (1993), the Heinrich Böll Prize (1998), the Heinrich Heine Prize (1998), the Prince of Asturias Communications and Humanities Award (2002), the Premio d’Annunzio (2006), and the Griffin Lifetime Recognition Award (2009).