People have been gambling, in one form or another, for as long as history itself. Why? Money, entertainment, escape and a desire to win are all traditional explanations. Arguably, however, these are secondary considerations to a higher order purpose: a craving for control. Gambling offers a means of gaining authority over the unknown, granting us a sense of control over uncertainty. Almost always that sense is illusionary – gambling, including betting and investing, is essentially random – yet for many it is nonetheless profoundly rewarding. This book attempts to explore the reasons why. Along the way, it examines: The science of probability and uncertainty; Why gambling is often condemned; The difference between expectation and utility; The irrationality of human beings; Evolutionary perspectives on gambling; Luck and skill; Market efficiency and the wisdom of crowds; Why winners take all; Cheating; Why the process matters more than the outcome.