This roundly entertaining spin through the law of chance and the ""law of life"" (events are seldom random) is packed with impromptu nonsense verse, psychological profiles of gamblers, a short history of witchcraft, stories about primitive peoples' approaches to magic and ritualized events, detailed rules for telling fortunes with cards, and, apropos of luck vs. destiny, retellings of the Oedipus myth. In the midst of all the fun and juicy historical asides, Dickinson's philosophical musings, which ought to be the book's real meat and defining framework, come as a letdown; his fuzzy attempt to use the Uncertainty Principle from particle physics as an argument against predetermination is the sort of fudging that types him as a liberal arts man out of his depth, and a two-page list, detailing ""your"" chances of becoming President or marrying a millionaire or whatever is sheer whimsy. But if Dickinson merely dabbles with the mathematical, psychological, and anthropological underpinnings of his subject, he at least encourages his readers to ask more sophisticated questions about coincidence, statistics and odds-making. . . and gives us an elegant exercise in gamesmanship along the way. Put your money on it.